The Art Deco Capital of the World – a stroll through Napier

Napier captures a feeling of what it must have been like to live in the 1930s. 

Sadly the town “owes” its unique Art Deco charm to a disastrous 7.8 earthquake in February 1931 when the town and nearby Hastings were leveled to the ground. 256 people died and many thousands were injured. The Dominion stated that Napier as a town has been wiped off the map.

Everything was so silent after it happened. I thought we were the only ones left in the world.

– Mrs Edith Lane

Within only two years the city had been designed and rebuilt in the style of the time, also incorporating Maori motifs and design elements.

Many examples can be found in Emerson and Tennyson street. Today Napier attracts Art Deco and architecture enthusiasts from all over the world, especially during the yearly Art Deco Festival in summer.

Napier certainly is an extraordinary town with a very unique charm. It’s great walking through the town centre or along the black cobble beach, drinking a coffee in the sun or – what we missed out on – hopping on the back of a trailer and go to see the famous gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers.

Another great way to spend a day in the area is doing a wine tasting – sunny Hawke’s Bay is one of NZ’s biggest wine areas and internationally famous for its produce, including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Te Mata Estates is NZ’s oldest winery, nestled in the Havelock Hills in close proximity to Te Mata Peak which provides incredible views over the area.