Hawke's Bay, New Zealand’s oldest winemaking region may well produce some of the world’s most relished wines, but its attributes extend well beyond viticulture. Its main cities, Napier and Hastings, are also revered for their Art Deco facades and fiercely proud Maori heritage. In 1931, Napier and Hastings were reduced to rubble by a massive earthquake. With Herculean effort, the city of Napier was entirely rebuilt within two years in Art Deco style incorporating Maori motifs. These days the cities’ eye-catching architecture is celebrated as a symbol of the communities’ ability to overcome disaster. Hawke's Bay, on the North Island’s southeast coast, spans 350km of Pacific Ocean coastline. It encompasses several diverse areas, including northern Hawke's Bay, Hastings, Havelock North, Napier and Central Hawke's Bay. A Mediterranean-like climate gives rise to the region’s reputation for being the "food bowl" of New Zealand. Here, you will find no shortage of farmers' markets, specialty food shops and fantastic restaurants whose menus draw on the region’s prolific local produce. Outdoor adventurers will thrill to Hawke's Bay’s whitewater rafting, off-roading and trekking, while kids will love splashing on the beaches and getting lost in the Amazing Maze in Maize. Meanwhile, the lush Mohaka Valley will soothe the senses of those in search of a peaceful idyll. Gourmets, wine lovers, extreme adventurers, sun worshippers, families and professionals alike will find enormous gratification in the hidden paradise of Hawke's Bay. What is special or unique about your city? Hawke's Bay produces some of New Zealand's finest wines and, once a year, Harvest Hawke's Bay celebrates the fact by offering a three-day wine and food festival. This event attracts many thousands. Napier is home to the annual Mission Concert held early each year. The event, held at the Mission Estate Winery in Taradale, has attracted big names over the years including Kenny Rogers, Shirley Bassey, Rod Stewart, The B-52s, Belinda Carlisle, Ray Charles, and Eric Clapton. Each concert is attended by around 25,000 people. What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city? Hawke's Bay Wine Country has beautiful scenery, award-winning wines, gourmet experiences, family fun, a thriving arts community, unique wildlife, stunning architecture and rich cultural heritage. A wonderful Mediterranean climate and an enviable setting on New Zealand's East Coast have created a region rich in delicious produce and beautiful things. Enjoy… Breathe… Relax… Taste… Escape… Refresh… Are these impressions likely to change? The area is unlikely to change its focus and will continue to attract people to enjoy, breathe, relax, taste, escape and refresh What is the local language? English is the official language of New Zealand, however, you will also hear Maori spoken, along with other languages from the South Pacific islands and Asia. Here are a few Maori words that may be fun to learn as well as help you while you are here: English = Maori hello = kia ora good bye = haere ra please = koa thank you = kia ora rawa atu good = ka pai bad = ka kino help = äwhinatia yes = äe no = käo food = kai water = wai How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language? It would be difficult to live in New Zealand without speaking English, as most New Zealanders only speak English or Maori. There is a wide variety of English language schools throughout New Zealand. What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city? Casual dress is acceptable and usually preferred in most situations. Do not use the "V for victory" sign as it is considered offensive. Always try to be on time for appointments. Punctuality is considered good manners. Afternoon tea is between 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Early evening tea is between 6:00 - 8:00 p.m., and a larger meal is served. Supper is a snack served much later in the evening. Tipping is not common. Cover your mouth if you must yawn, do not chew gum or use toothpicks and please do not spit in public. Ask permission before you attempt to photograph someone. When meeting someone or departing, use a firm handshake and maintain good eye contact. Avoid confusing or comparing New Zealand to Australia, as they are two distinct countries. Remember that New Zealand has strict smoking rules; smoking is not permitted in any public building or public transport. Smoking is not permitted in any bars, cafes or restaurants, but smoking areas may be provided outside. How might the local weather affect my daily life? Hawke's Bay's Mediterranean-style climate provides long, warm, dry summers and temperatures in the mid-20s. Winters are typically short and mild, making it a perfect climate for outdoor activities. The region's high number of sunshine hours and favorable winter and summer temperatures help make it the largest producer of pip and stone fruit and the second-largest producer of wine grapes. Hawke's Bay owes its favorable climate to the Kaweka and Ruahine ranges located on the Western border. These 200-million-year-old mountains provide protection from the rain bands and storms that move across the country in a west-east direction from the Tasman Sea. Average annual rainfall is between 600-800mm and plays a vital role in supporting Hawke's Bay's reputation as a leading producer of agricultural and horticultural produce. Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people? The region is served by a variety of radio stations with Classic Hits 89.5 Bay City Radio, and Newstalk ZB the most popular local stations. Hawke's Bay also has its own TV station, TVHB, which provides a mix of news and information programs hosted by local personalities.