When the Te Mata block was purchased by the Crown over 1855/6 for £1,000 from 11 chiefs, Karanema’s Reserve was excluded as it was set aside for the descendants of Te Heipora. Karanema was the son of Queen Te Heipora, who was one of Chief Te Hapuku’s wives. However, in 1858, the Crown purchased Karanema’s Reserve from archrivals Chiefs Te Hapuku and Te Moananui being paid the sum of £400.
The Crown purchased the land for small farmers and working-class settlers and was named after British General Sir Henry Havelock (North was added in 1910). Orchards started to appear in 1870s with the first vineyard established in 1892 by Bernard Chambers. Subdivision of pastoral land from 1898 enabled Havelock North to grow.
The Exchange Hotel was built in 1862 on the corner of Te Aute Road and Havelock Road and was owned by Thomas Reynold, Napier’s first butcher and carpenter. The local shepherds and local people frequented the Hotel, probably a little too regularly. It was a two storied wooden building that contained 12 guest rooms, a commercial room, several sitting rooms, dining room and bar.
The Exchange Hotel was replaced with The Happy Tav built in the 1960’s. The Happy Tav business owner Gavin Skinner had leased the building from owner David Mackersey for about 19 years and knew of the hotel development for 15 of those.
The 4.5-star boutique hotel is owned by the families of two prominent Hawke’s Bay businessmen – property developer David Mackersey and Lowe Corporate managing director Andy Lowe. The $25 million development included the Hotel, shopping precinct, commercial office space, restaurant and wine lounge through Lowmac Properties Ltd.
The name of the Hotel is based on its placement on the corner of Porters Drive and the role of a porter is synonymous with quality luxury accommodation. Porter Drive was named after Daniel G Porters, a former town planner for the Havelock North Borough Council.