Havelock North is a suburb of Hastings, New Zealand, in the North Island’s Hawke’s Bay district. It was a borough for many years until the 1989 reorganisation of local government saw it merged into the new Hastings District, and it is now administered by the Hastings District Council. Areas within Havelock North include Anderson Park, Iona, Havelock North Central, Te Mata and Te Mata Hills, according to the census units of Statistics NZ.
The suburb, known locally as „the village“, is situated on the Heretaunga Plains, less than 2 km to the south-east of Hastings. It is surrounded by numerous orchards and vineyards, and its industry is based around its fruit and wine production, and a horticultural research centre. The fertile soils that lie between Havelock North and Hastings has prevented urban sprawl linking them together. Havelock North itself is primarily residential and rural-residential housing, with only a relatively small and compact industrial and commercial centre. As a result, a large majority of its 13,000 residents commute each morning to the nearby cities (Hastings or Napier) for work.
Havelock North is generally hilly, and small gullies have been formed by the creeks and streams flowing from higher ground, resulting in a small amount of inaccessible or steep land which is converted into forests, parks or reserves, giving the image of naturally having many bushes and trees. This is due to the town being situated at the base of the prominent landmark Te Mata Peak, a 399-metre outcrop, which according to local Māori legend is the body of the giant Te Mata o Rongokako, and the depression in the land visible behind his head according to the myth is where he tried to bite through the mountain range which filled his stomach turning him to stone.
Both Hastings and Havelock North obtain water from secure confined aquifer systems. The Te Mata aquifer that feeds Havelock North is very similar to Hastings in quality, but has slightly elevated calcium levels. Hastings is situated directly over the Heretaunga Plains aquifer system.
Havelock North was founded as a planned Government settlement following the purchase in 1858, from Maori owners, of land previously known as ‚Karanema’s Reserve‘. The original village was laid out in 1860, taking its name took its name from Sir Henry Havelock, a hero of the Indian Mutiny campaign, thus keeping with the local habit of naming towns after prominent men from Imperial India. Its founders originally envisaged a larger town for the site, but when the Wellington-Napier rail line went through the area in 1874 it took a direct route some distance from Havelock North, and Hastings became a more logical choice for residents.
In the early 1800s, the local Karamu Stream was part of the much larger Ngaruroro River system. It was termed the „River Plassey“, the same name also being applied to a street in the village after the battle of Plassey of 1757 near Calcutta. Early survey plans of Havelock North show ferry landings where boats would sail up and down the river to collect and deliver supplies. This practice was phased out in the 1880s, when a number of large floods diverted the Ngaruroro River to its current course further north away from Havelock North. Later, during the 1931 earthquake, a bridge over the Karamu was completely destroyed.
Like a number of North Island towns, Havelock North has grown larger than its South Island namesake, Havelock, in the Marlborough Sounds.
Havelock North was the centre for Havelock Work, a quasi-religious movement based at a temple of the Stella Matutina magical order. This temple survives today as Whare Ra, which followed the early twentieth century teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
In August 2016, over 3,000 residents had gastric illness after the water supply was contaminated by campylobacter.