Hawera from the Water Tower
|District||South Taranaki District|
|• Mayor||Ross Dunlop|
Hawera (officially Hāwera) is the second-largest centre in the Taranaki region of New Zealand's North Island, with a population of 12,150. It is near the coast of the South Taranaki Bight. The origins of the town lie in a government military base that was established in 1866, and the town of Hawera grew up around a blockhouse in the early 1870s.
Hawera is 75 kilometres south of New Plymouth on State Highway 3 and 30 minutes' drive from Mount Taranaki. It is located on State Highway 45, known as Surf Highway 45 for its numerous surf beaches. State Highway 45 passes through Manaia, Opunake and Oakura en route to New Plymouth. Kaponga is a 20-minute drive to the north-west. The Marton–New Plymouth Line railway passes through Hawera and has served the town since 1 August 1881, though it has been freight-only since the cancellation of the last railcar passenger service between Wellington and New Plymouth on 30 July 1977.
The Māori-language name Hāwera means "burnt place"; it arose as a result of fighting between two local sub-tribes, which culminated in the setting ablaze of the sleeping whare (house) of the tribe under attack. An older Māori name was Taupatate, referring to the Seven-finger or Umbrella tree, Schefflera digitata. 
The town's name meaning "burnt place" became apt when the town suffered extensive blazes in 1884, 1888, and 1912.
For this reason a large water tower was built in the centre of town to increase water pressure; and this became one of Taranaki's best-known landmarks (appearing, for example, on the cover of the 1974 telephone directory). After falling into disrepair the tower was closed to the public in 2001, but after an extensive restoration program it opened again in 2004.
There are four marae in the Hawera area:
- Ngātiki Marae is affiliated with the Ngāti Ruanui hapū of Hāmua and Ngāti Hawe
- Te Rangatapu Marae and its Aorangi meeting house are affiliated with the Ngāruahine hapū of Kanihi-Umutahi and Ōkahu-Inuāwai
- Taiporohēnui Marae and its Whareroa meeting house are affiliated with the Ngāti Ruanui hapū of Hāmua and Hāpōtiki
- Wharepuni Marae and its Tūpaia meeting house are affiliated with the Ngāti Ruanui hapū of Ngāti Tānewai and Ngāti Tūpaea
The Whareroa dairy factory, 4 km south-southwest of the township, is the largest dairy complex in the world in terms of output. The complex is owned by Fonterra, having been built by the former Kiwi Co-operative Dairies, whose original plant opened on that site in 1975.
During peak season, the complex employs 1,000 people and processes up to 14 million litres of milk per day. Electricity and heat used at Whareroa is generated by an on-site gas-fired power plant, with excess electricity fed into the national grid.
Hawera Primary School was established in 1875. It developed into a District High School in 1901. The current high school opened as Hawera Technical High School in 1919, and moved to its present site in 1921. The intermediate school opened in 1961.
Hawera Primary School, Ramanui School, Tawhiti School and Turuturu School are contributing primary (years 1-6) schools with rolls of 197, 76, 288 and 243 respectively. Hawera Primary celebrated its 125th jubilee in 2000. Ramanui school celebrated its 50th jubilee in 2003.
All these schools are coeducational.
- Aroha Awarau, journalist
- Michael Bent, rugby player
- Pat Booth, investigative journalist
- Cameron Brewer, Auckland councillor
- Alan Brough, actor and comedian
- Michael Campbell, professional golfer
- Tim Chadwick, artist and author
- Geoffrey Duncan Chisholm, surgeon
- Ben Hurley, comedian and cricket commentator
- Peter Ingram, cricket player
- Fiona Kidman, writer
- Issac Luke, rugby league player
- John Gildroy Grant, World War I Victoria Cross recipient
- Nicola Kawana, actress
- John Mitchell, rugby union player and coach
- Ronald Hugh Morrieson, author
- Alan Stuart Paterson, cartoonist
- John Plumtree, rugby union player and coach
- Conrad Smith, All Black rugby union player
- Elijah Taylor, rugby league player
- Adine Wilson, Silver Ferns netballer
- "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2018 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018. For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-18 (2017 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
- Because of differing oral traditions, translations such as "breath of fire" and "burning plains" have also been offered. See A.H. McLintock (ed.), "HAWERA", An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, retrieved 1 January 2008 – via Te Ara - The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
- Elsdon Best. "Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868-1961 Volume 40, 1907". Maori Forest Lore: being some Account of Native Forest Lore and Woodcraft, as also of many Myths, Rites, Customs, and Superstitions connected with the Flora and Fauna of the Tuhoe or Ure-wera District. National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- For a near-contemporary account of the damage these fires caused, see D. Nimmo Scott (c. 1895), Views of Hawera: before and after the fire, Hawera, [N.Z.]: D. Nimmo Scott; a more recent one is Arthur Fryer; Nigel Ogle (ill.) (2003), Hawera's on fire, Hawera, [N.Z.]: Hawera Historical Society. For details of Hawera's Fire Brigade, see Trevor N. Moore (1982), Hawera Fire Brigade, 1882-1982: a centennial history, Hawera, [N.Z.]: The Brigade
- Craig Stevenson; Hugo Jackson, Hawera Water Tower Restoration (PDF), Contech, archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2008
- "Largest dairy factory in the world", Te Ara
- The Whareroa Co-generation plant[permanent dead link], www.toddenergy.co.nz
- For an account of the Museum by the man who built it, see Nigel Ogle (199–?), Nigel Ogle's Tawhiti Museum, Hawera, [N.Z.]: The Museum Check date values in:
- Perhaps Hawera's most famous example of a nineteenth-century Maori pa is the Turuturu-Mokai complex, on Turuturu Road. See John Houston (1958), Turuturu-Mokai: historic reserve near Hawera: an historical survey, Hawera, [N.Z.]: Hawera Star Print. For information upon a modern pa, see Gloria Kerehoma (1984), Commemorative centennial [i.e. centennial] booklet, 1884-1984, Hawera, [N.Z.]: Centennial Committee; Shore Print on Aotearoa Pa.
- Fryer, Arthur (1994), The Beginnings of Hawera High School, Hawera High School Jubilee Magazine, archived from the original on 14 October 2008
- School Info, Hawera Intermediate, archived from the original on 14 October 2008
- Campus Maps, Western Institute of Technology
- WITT History, Western Institute of Technology
- "Directory of Schools - as at 3 April 2019". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- "Jubilees & reunions - Hawera Primary School", Education Gazette New Zealand, 78 (10), 14 June 1999[dead link]
- "Ramanui Primary School 50th Jubilee", Education Gazette New Zealand, 82 (5), 24 March 2003[dead link]
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