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Hastings City Centre Strategy – the next 10 years

City Centre Strategy 2023

The Hastings’ City Centre Strategy has helped us develop vibrancy in our city, attracting people into the city to shop, do business, meet friends, dine out, and be entertained.

Prepared with input from residents, business operators and organisations, the strategy covers 20 years – 2013 to 2033. From the strategy projects were developed and carried out, with a new action plan for the next 10 years now being prepared.

What has been achieved

Municipal Building night

There has been transformational change in our city centre over the past decade, including the rebuilding of the Opera House and Municipal Building and their transformation into Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Event Centre, new parks, artwork, events, outdoor eating spaces, and the cementing in of our awesome City Assist team. Private developments have flourished, including new buildings for NZ Police and the new Quest Hotel, and the refurbishment of existing buildings, including the Tribune.

All of this has been driven by our Hastings City Centre Strategy.

Almost 80 per cent of the projects set out in the first 10 years of the strategy have been actioned or are scheduled to start, with the rest still in the plan including the central city mall and Civic Square upgrades. We’re not stopping - we know there is more to do and want to understand what improvements you would like to see over the next 10 years.

Where to from here?

Wesley Community Centre

The projects not yet achieved remain in the programme – including upgrading the Heretaunga St Mall and Civic Square, based on previous consultation. More street upgrades are also on the way, King St and Market St, and two more laneways are planned, in the Heretaunga West 200 block, and next to ‘H Central’, the private development of what was Breakers.

Adding to the city centre vibrancy mix will be a number of major projects (public and private) including the re-imagined Wesley Methodist Church Community Centre (opposite Toitoi), the Waiaroha learning centre (Hastings St), and the Hawke’s Bay Museum Research and Archive Centre (Queen St East).

What we are looking for now are ideas for the action plan over the next 10 years - what you want to seem more of; what you want to see less of; the projects you think will add vibrancy to our city to attract business owners, residents, shoppers and visitors.


Hastings City Centre - Ideas and opportunities


Stephen Yarwood

Stephen Yarwood, urban futurist, city centre expert and former Lord Mayor of Adelaide, has a wealth of experience and is passionate about city planning. He recently gave a talk in Hastings about future city and citizen trends with discussion around how this may influence Hastings’ future. While here Stephen spent time walking around Hastings City Centre and talking with different groups to explore the needs and aspirations of different stakeholders to assist inspire best practice urbanism and high quality outcomes.

He has also, with Greg Vann, a planner with ’40-plus years of city making’ under his belt, prepared a podcast on Hastings and its next 10 years. The pair is impressed with Hastings’ vibe, resulting from the last 10 years of activation, and share their ideas on where we could go from here.

Listen to the podcast on Spotify here


Under the strategy, the city centre is defined as the area bounded by Hastings St, Southampton St, Nelson St and St Aubyn St. That is also the area over which the Hastings City Business Association has a mandate to operate. On behalf of its members, the association is an important contributor and enabler of the strategy.

CIty Centre Map

Different areas have different needs and Council is open to discussing partnerships with the  private sector that will assist to drive development and vibrancy in areas across Hastings. Some communities have worked with Council to prepare community plans which, as appropriate, can include the smaller community shopping areas.

Council is widely involved in the operation of the city centre (and all other areas), from street sweeping to infrastructure provision (things like roads and three waters services). It also has a big role to play in amenity – dressing the streets with trees and gardens, providing green spaces and pavement eating areas, and making the District Plan rules governing what types of buildings can go where. It also has a role to play in developing relationships that can enhance the city – with organisations like business associations, government departments, development companies and national retailers. Through these relationships, Council can ensure the aspirations of our people are considered as development takes place. But to do all that, Council needs a strategy that takes into account all of those roles.

Not quite – the strategy and action plan set out the desired projects for the city, however each of those projects needs to be approved for funding through Council’s Long Term Plan. While having the action plan endorsed by Council means that the elements of it are supported, decisions on funding each project depend on lots of other things. If funding is tight (for example after a natural disaster like Cyclone Gabrielle), projects in the first couple of the years in the plan may be pushed out for consideration at a later date.

The elements in an action plan go through a rigorous process. First up is the gathering of ideas from Council’s specialist staff, advisors and iwi partners, stakeholders (which, depending on the plan, might include businesses, national and local associations, schools, government and non-government organisations), residents and, if appropriate, visitors. Those ideas are assessed on things like viability, impact (positive and negative) on people, the environment and the economy, potential for funding, and value for money. The action plan is then finalised and approved by Council.

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