Scarcity of industrial and residential land in Hastings which threatened to impact upon the fertile soil of the Heretaunga Plains wasn't an issue until a period of economic prosperity meant by the late 1950s there were little vacant sections.

The urban drift of Maori to the town had also gathered momentum after World War II.

New land development therefore threatened to spill into the rich soil of the countryside, with the former Hawke's Bay County Council jealously guarding proposals to do so.

Hastings, whose town wealth was largely derived from the country, and whose armourial bearings state Urbis et Ruris Concordia or town and country in harmony, now found itself in a position of disharmony as town threatened to encroach upon the country.

Advertisement

Frimley was the first large addition to Hastings in 1957 of 580 acres (234ha), but this was already inhabited by 1080 people. An area fronting Ada St and a small part of Williams St was also added then.

The Hawke's Bay Master Builders Association during 1957/8 began meeting with the Hastings City Council to express problems of still trying to find sufficient land to build upon.

Builders such as J C MacKersey and J W Linnell would advocate strongly for more land to be opened up, and through the Hawke's Bay Master Builders they engaged their own consultants from Wellington, and presented a report to council.

At the heart of the report, was that utilisation of good farm land should be avoided at all costs, and unrestrained peripheral subdivision "could almost be suicidal".

Consolidation and redevelopment of existing areas and creation of a new satellite suburb on poor soil were the recommendations to provide for the next 20 years' population growth.

A town planning committee was formed in 1959 by the newly elected Hastings City Council, which involved the Havelock North Borough Council and Hawke's Bay County Council.

Hastings City Council's favoured solution was to amalgamate with Havelock North and then extend its boundaries and include the 330 acre (133 hectares) Arataki Rd area for residential housing.

It also wanted to develop residential sites between Wilson and Irongate Rds next to the Omahu Rd industrial area.

Advertisement

The Havelock North Borough Council, Hawke's Bay County Council (both disestablished in 1989) and the Master Builders were strongly against Hastings's plans, saying establishing suburbs in these areas would impact upon fertile soils, and Havelock North wanted to "stand on our own feet and carry on".

After this scheme had failed, Kenilworth and Coventry Rds were, in 1962, included in the city boundaries.

The Local Government Commission wanted to examine the Master Builders idea of extending Hastings to the end of Irongate Rd, where its shingle and pumice land was then considered unfertile.

This became the favoured option of the Local Government Commission, and not an extension of the Arataki Rd area and amalgamation with Havelock North (both of which have happened in time).

What resulted was the creation of Flaxmere in 1964, which was named for the estate once owned by early settler Sir William Russell.

Other areas were developed pre the Hastings District Council era (pre-1989) with Camberley in 1973, and during in 1976 many extensions - including one at Flaxmere occurred.

Advertisement

Historian Mary Boyd described the pre-1989 era of securing land for growth when she said: "The soil survey map rather than urban sprawl and ribbon development determined the course of city development."