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The East Coast of the North Island New Zealand includes the Gisborne District or Gisborne Region (Māori: Te Tai Rāwhiti) and Hawkes Bay Region. The former is named after its largest settlement, the city of Gisborne and the Hawke's Bay Region (Māori: Heretaunga) is recognised on the world stage for its award-winning wines.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council sits in both the cities of Napier and Hastings. It derives from Hawke Bay which was named by Captain James Cook in honour of Admiral Edward Hawke who decisively defeated the French at the Battle of Quiberon Bay in 1759. The Gisborne Region is also known as the East Coast region, although it is often divided into the East Coast proper, also known as East Cape, north of the city, and Poverty Bay, the area including and surrounding the city. Its Māori name, Te Tai Rāwhiti, means the Coast of the Sunrise,[4] reflecting the fact that it is the first part of the New Zealand mainland to see the sun rise.

The district is located in the northeastern corner of the North Island. It ranges from the Wharerata Hills in the south, which divide it from the Wairoa district in the Hawke's Bay region, to Lottin Point in the north. The western boundary runs along the Raukumara Range, which separates it from the Opotiki district. In the southwest, its boundary runs along the western edge of Te Urewera National Park.

Situated on the east coast of the North Island, the Hawke's Bay region includes the hilly coastal land around the northern and central bay, the floodplains of the Wairoa River in the north, the wide fertile Heretaunga Plains around Hastings in the south, and a hilly interior stretching up into the Kaweka and Ruahine Ranges.

Five major rivers flow down into the coast of Hawke's Bay. From north to south, they are the Wairoa River, Mohaka River, Tutaekuri River, Ngaruroro River and Tukituki River respectively. Lake Waikaremoana is situated in northern Hawke's Bay roughly 35 km from the coast. It is the largest lake in Hawke's Bay, 4th largest in the North Island and 16th largest in New Zealand.

The region consists of Wairoa District, Hastings District, Napier City, and its southernmost district, Central Hawke's Bay District, as well as the town of Taharua in Taupo District and the town of Ngamatea in Rangitikei District. It does not include Southern Hawke's Bay, whose constituent districts, the Dannevirke and Woodville counties, came under the Tararua District Council and the Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council (also known as Horizons Regional Council) in the 1989 local government reforms.

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