The hushed streets of both Waipawa and Waipukurau saw a declining population three years ago - but not any more.

During the last few years, there's been a 300 per cent increase in the value of building work completed, $7.138m to $28, 774m.

Everyone knows each other in the tight knit rural community of Central Hawke's Bay.

Shop owners greet their customers like old friends, farmers chatter in the streets, not seeming to notice the increasing traffic nor the people now lining the small streets. If anything, the community is embracing it.


Driving down Bibby St in Waipawa you can still see sheep scattered in small rectangluar paddocks surrounded by town houses.

It's the same on Racecourse Rd in Waipukurau, as the they sit in the shade of the gum trees, completely un-fazed by the sound of hammers, saws and builders' banter as new homes continue to pop up around them.

In March last year Project Thrive was launched, where more than 270 people engaged in conversations with over 3500 pieces of feedback gathered across the community, which has established a new vision and future for community.

Mayor Alex Walker said there's been a 180 per cent increase in issued building consents during the past three years, from 118 to 341.

The housing growth doesn't look to slow down anytime soon as the region is expecting up to 1025 new households in the next 30 years - 535 are expected within the next 10 years.

"I think it's just great," Walker said.

"I have confidence in this district and it's great that other residents are getting that too."

Residents are really positive and they love seeing the energy and they also like seeing the vibrancy, as it's not just one type of person that's coming here."

Walker said people had moved from as far as overseas to own their own piece of paradise in CHB. Others had come from Auckland, Wellington, Napier and Havelock North.

"It's older people, younger people, families- just a really neat mixture of people."

Small town community and lifestyle seem to be the big attraction for those migrating to the heart of Hawke's Bay.

"With that comes great affordable housing and in turn a wonderful lifestyle. Distance doesn't seem to be the barrier for many people."

A number of people commute to Hastings and Napier. Some even commute to Wellington.

"These days cellphones and social media really are the backbone of businesses so that makes things a lot easier for people too," Walker said.

While a positive statistic, low unemployment is an increasing challenge for Central Hawke's Bay.

With the lowest unemployment rate in the Hawke's Bay Region and the unemployment rate lower than the national average, it requires a unique approach to ensure there is sufficient labour force in Central Hawke's Bay for businesses to prosper.

Central Hawke's Bay Residential properties have increased an average increase of 55 per cent in the latest QV values released, the third highest in New Zealand.

The once-quiet streets are now alive with activity and growth, history now mingling with the contemporary as the region enters a new era of life.