Sugar Loaf

Church Road, Taradale, Napier, Hawkes Bay

The 127m hill known as Sugar Loaf or Pukekura dominates the Skyline of the western hills above Taradale and its distinctive shape can be seen from all over Taradale and parts of Napier.

On the summit of the hill was once Pukekura Pa, an outpost pa of Otatara Pa and Hikurangi Pa, built and occupied at about the same time. Mr G Halliwell bought the hill and surrounding land from Henry Tiffen in the 1980s. It has always been a focus for recreation and a symbol in the area, probably due to the magnificent 360-degree views of Hawke's Bay from the summit. In the 1920s it was site of moonlight particularly popular with the younger set, and in the 1930s motor bike races were held in Taradale each Easter and the hill climb section took the riders up the steep slopes of Sugar Loaf. The hill did not escape unscathed in the earthquake of 1931. Church Road Winery winemaker Tom McDonald recalled 'seeing the top of the hill rise up in the air and fall down again an estimated seven feet'. The Halliwell family gave the summit and surrounding area in the 1980s to be retained as a reserve.

Eastern views from the summit cover the Napier-Taradale area and much of the Heretaunga Plains, while western views include the Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges. The track to the summit is steep especially from the Cumberland Rise entrance. The walk is graded moderate to difficult. Care should be taken in wet conditions.