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Special places archive

April 2004

Art Deco Napier

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The port and resort city of Napier, on the east coast of the North Island, was heavily hit by an earthquake in 1931. 162 people died in Napier, and another 93 in nearby Hastings. Most of Napier’s commercial and institutional building stock was destroyed. A few skillful local architects designed a suite of new buildings in then-fashionable styles — Art Deco, Spanish Mission, Stripped Classical. Within a few years the city had been rebuilt.

Showing off the architectural heritage of Napier has become one of the city’s industries, pushed along by the Art Deco Trust. The Trust tells the story of the rebuilding with films, books, walking tours and merchandise — and the ArtDecoNapier.com website.

This is the first of a set of New Zealand special places to mark my sabbatical here.


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