Hawera is South Taranaki's largest town, servicing a large rural area. Approximately 10,000 people enjoy the excellent residential and lifestyle options in Hawera. Hawera’s art gallery, parks, movie and performance theatres are all within easy walking distance and its sports, events and function centre, the TSB Hub, is only one kilometer from the town centre. The region in general relies on its natural and physical resources for its social and economic wellbeing. Oil and gas reserves and sheep, beef and dairy farming all contribute to the local economy, Whareroa Fonterra, just two kilometres south of the township, produces the largest volume of dairy ingredients from a single factory, anywhere in the world.
Hawera is the largest of several South Taranaki towns that developed to support the surrounding farm blocks. Hawera means “the burnt place” or “breath of fire” and takes its name from the old Maori village of Te Hawera, which was located approximately 3km south east of the present town. Fires in 1884, 1895 and 1912 razed parts of the town’s business area and in response to demands from insurance companies, the water tower (which you can climb for a small fee) was built in 1914 to provide a ready supply of water for fire fighting and this is now one of Taranaki’s best known landmarks.