Napier: Art Deco City

 At 10.47am, on Tuesday 3rd February 1931, my home town, Napier New Zealand, was devastated by a massive 7.8 earthquake. It lasted two and half minutes; 256 people lost their lives and thousands were injured.

Up until then, most of the buildings were made of brick. Don’t believe the three little pigs: they all collapsed. Subsequent fires gutted the commercial district and 525 aftershocks were felt over the following two weeks. It remains the deadliest natural disaster in New Zealand’s recorded history.

The vision for rebuilding was unique: to create a completely new city. To this day, nowhere else on earth can you find such a concentrated area of Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and Art Deco styled buildings. And our Art Deco is unique with Maori and grape motifs. If you look up while you’re wandering around this is the kind of thing you see:

 Can you spot the designer bird poo?


Yes, Hawkes Bay (the region around Napier) = Wine Country.

Here’s some of the things I have gotten so used to that I barely notice them:

More recently they changed how the centre of town works and added this very cool statue:


I took this in November when the older boys and I decided to see the dawn in, up town. The feature image of the water-front was also taken then. If you can be bothered driving a few minutes you can see this:

For more information or to find out about the not-so-serious annual celebration of the Art Deco era you could go here:

If you want to come and see it all for yourself you’ll need to go here:

To buy cool stuff so I can help feed our kids for another week you could go here: I plan to add to my store quite regularly, so pop back as often as you like. Seriously. I don’t mind.

Sources : Wikipedia and Art Deco Trust, Napier NZ
Photos by: Me 😉

4 Responses to Napier: Art Deco City

  1. minify says:

    Karyn, your hometown reminds me of my hometown of Asheville, North Carolina! Also an art deco city, but because of fiscal rather than natural disaster – Asheville was so financially devastated by the great depression that there was very little development in the city in the 40 years that followed, so many of the art deco buildings that would have been knocked down and replaced with something bigger elsewhere in the country remain today! I love all of your pictures, and the bit of history about your town. How cool!

  2. Helllo Karyn! I’m from (you’ve visited a couple of times). I’ve reached out to you on twitter and facebook, but I know how hard it is to keep up with social sites. I would like to use one of your comments for my book and would like to send you some information. Of course, I will credit you and reference your site (not sure which one you would prefer). Please shoot me an email if you are interested – primary thoughts @ gmail . com. Thanks!!

    • Hi there,
      Thanks for making contact. We are struggling with dial-up at the moment, so I haven’t been as vigilant (on line) as I usually am ! I’d love to have one of my comments included in your book, and appreciate the referencing and referrals. Have a great day, Karyn

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