Hawera is South Taranaki's largest town, servicing a large rural area.  Hawera means “the burnt place” or “breath of fire” and takes its name from the old Maori village of Te Hawera, which was located approximately 3 km south east of the present town. 

Hawera suffered extensive blazes in 1884, 1888 and 1912. In 1914, a large water tower was built in the centre of town to increase water pressure; and this is now one of Taranaki's best known landmarks.

Approximately 12000 people enjoy the excellent residential and lifestyle options in Hawera. Hawera’s art gallery, parks, movie and performance theatres are all within easy walking distance and its sports, events and function centre, the TSB Hub, is only one kilometre from the town centre.

The Council is currently looking at redeveloping the Hawera Town Centre and a Town Centre Strategy has been developed to help build a vibrant and economically sustainable town centre that will attract  new residents, business and visitors. This strategy gives a foundation for exciting change in Hawera's Town Centre over the next few years.

The region in general relies on its natural and physical resources for its social and economic wellbeing.  Oil and gas reserves and sheep, beef and dairy farming all contribute to the local economy, Whareroa Fonterra, just two kilometres south of the township, produces the largest volume of dairy ingredients from a single factory, anywhere in the world.

Hawera is 71 kilometres south of New Plymouth on State Highway 3 and 20 minutes drive from Mount Taranaki. It is located on State Highway 45, known as Surf Highway 45 for its numerous surf beaches. State Highway 45 passes through Manaia, Opunake and Oakura en route to New Plymouth. Kaponga is a 20 minute drive to the north-west.

Things to see and do while visiting Hawera

Hawera Water Tower 

The Hawera Water Tower dominates the urban landscape and provides a central landmark and navigation point for visitors to the town.  It is designated as a category one structure by the Historic Places Trust, and celebrated its 100th year in 2014. Situated behind the South Taranaki i-SITE Visitor Centre, you can climb the 215 steps of the best known heritage building in Hawera for a bird’s eye view of the region and coast.  Entry fee is payable at the i-SITE.

The TSB Hub

Visit our multi-million dollar sports, recreation, events and function facility based around Hick's Park just one kilometre from the town centre. You can enjoy a multitude of sports from rugby and netball in the winter to cricket and atheltics in the summer, while taking in a panoramic view of the mountain.

Hawera Aquatic Centre

Fun for all the family! The Aquatic Centre is open all year round and has a 25m indoor heated pool and a 50m outdoor heated pool (summer months only), plus indoor learner's pool, toddlers' splash park, thermal pool and hydro-slide.

Cinema 2

Latest digital technology, big screen, delivering great picture and sound in two comfortable theatres. Situated on Princes Street, in the heart of Hawera's CBD.

Tawhiti Museum

Tawhiti Museum is a truly unique enterprise. The creation of artist Nigel Ogle, its attention to detail is simply stunning. Widely acclaimed as the best private museum in the country, the museum uses life size exhibits and scale models to present our heritage in a series of  engaging displays.  Super realistic and spellbinding for all ages, you could easily spend a day looking through the museum, taking a ride on the bush railway or on a boat through the Traders and Whalers attraction, then follow up with delicious light meal at the "Wind in the Willows" styled Badgers Cafe. Open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10am - 4pm. Summer season (Boxing Day to end of January) open every day, Winter Season (June, July & August) open Sundays only.

K.D's Elvis Presley Museum

One man’s passion becomes South Taranaki’s asset - the Museum is jam packed with memorabilia, rare recordings, interviews and souvenirs.  If you are a fan of the 'King', the Memorial Room has all your favourites and more. Located at 51 Argyle Street, Hawera. Open by appointment and admission is by donation.


Two great courses in Hawera – one just a few minutes from the centre of town on Fairfield Road (turn at the Fire Station on South Road, Hawera) or just five minutes north out of town, the picturesque course at Te Ngutu on Katene Road in Normanby.  Visit our separate webpage for a list of all the golf clubs in our district.

Heritage Buildings 

A walk through the centre of Hawera enables you to appreciate the story of the town through its buildings and historical features. 

Lysaght Watt Gallery

A community gallery growing in popularity and stature.  Exhibitions change monthly and showcase contemporary fine arts by emerging and established artists.  Gallery hours 10-4 pm weekdays and 10-1 pm on Saturday.  Closed on Sundays.  Free admission.


Hawera's two main parks, King Edward Park and Naumai Park are well used and host many events during the year, including Arts in the Park and outdoor concerts.

The Hawera Park-To-Park walkway takes in beautiful King Edward Park with its manicured lawns, rose gardens, playgrounds and lake. The walk then leads you through the Hawera CBD to the secluded Naumai Park; a tranquil haven reknown for its native flora specimens. From end to end; the walk takes about half an hour, so come through and enjoy!

Nowells Lake

Just South of Hawera, situated on Rifle Range Rd, there are two beautiful freshwater lakes surrounded by the coastal sand dune belt. The two lakes cover seven hectares. The short, yet pleasant walk (approximately 20 minutes) leads you through farmland that has been planted in native trees by local schools, to Nowell’s Lake.  There is also another walk leading you towards the coast.  Thousands of swan plants have been planted throughout the walkway so Monarch butterflies are everywhere. The walks are well signposted and have seats for those needing to rest dotted along the way.

Ohawe Beach - Waihi Beach Coastal Walk

The walk can begin from either Ohawe Beach or Waihi Beach.  Ohawe Beach is accessed by turning left into Ohawe Road from Surf Highway 45, 5 kilometres west of Hawera.  Alternatively you can turn west into Denby Road at Hawera.  The descent to Waihi Beach is via a steep gravel track from the car park at the end of Denby Road.

Goodsen Dell

Situated on the corner of High Street and Cameron Street, Goodson Dell is a tranquil, woodland setting offering a picturesque walk among native and exotic trees and plants.