From Mahia in the north to Porangahau in the south, Hawke's Bay's 360 kilometres of coastline and beaches hugs the vast Pacific Ocean.
Blessed with fertile soils and a warm temperate climate, Hawke's Bay's prosperity is founded on its land-based economy. With its thousands of acres of farms, orchards, and vineyards, along with the local industries that have grown up in support, there is a good reason why the region is held in such a high regard as New Zealand's agricultural powerhouse, and why life here beats to a seasonal drum.
The forces of nature that gifted Hawke's Bay its most notable landmarks, including Lake Waikaremoana, Te Mata Peak and Cape Kidnappers, have also wreaked havoc on the local population to reshape and define the region we know today. Most infamous is the Hawke's Bay Earthquake of 1931, an event that changed the cityscapes of Napier and Hastings and the lives of their inhabitants forever.
In Maori mythology, the formation of Hawke's Bay's geography is found in the story of Maui, the most of the Maori gods, who hauled up the North Island while out fishing one day with his brothers.
Annoyed by the favouritism shown to Maui by the other gods, the brothers tried to sabotage his fishing efforts by refusing him a fishhook or some bait. But the resourceful Maui produced his own hook, made from the jawbone of his grandmother. He punched himself in the nose, coated his hook with the blood that flowed, and cast it into the depths where it was soon taken by something very large.
After heaving the North Island to the surface, Maui's hook was instantly transformed into the cape that forms the southernmost tip of Hawke Bay - otherwise known as Cape Kidnappers.
Viewed from above, you can still see its hooked shape, which is why Hawke's Bay is sometimes referred to as 'Te Matau a Maui' - The Fishhook of Maui.