Travel Theme : Napier, Pretty in Pink

Napier foreshore, beautiful display of geraniums

Napier foreshore, beautiful display of geraniums



Napier Marine Parade


Hanging baskets filled with Impatients (busy lizzies)

Hanging baskets filled with Impatients (busy lizzies)


Napier is one of the most beautiful cities in New Zealand. It is known as the Art Deco capital and when I looked through my photos I realized how pink was a dominant colour.

Napier, in the heart of the Hawke’s Bay wine region, suffered a massive earthquake in 1931. The quake and the fires that followed destroyed most of the town, but by the end of the decade Napier had the newest city centre on the globe.

Today, Napier’s town centre is recognised as one of the largest collection of Art Deco buildings outside Miami. Nowhere else in the Southern Hemisphere has such a concentration of buildings in the styles of the 1930s – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and especially Art Deco. 

At 10.46am on 3 February 1931, Napier and its surrounding region were struck by an earthquake that measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. While the ground shook violently for less than three minutes, 261 lives were lost as the ground moved and buildings crumbled around inhabitants. 
Fires broke out all over town, some beginning in chemist shops where gas jets were close to flammable liquids. Firemen could do little to stop the rapid spread as water supplies had been cut in the earthquake.

 Over the next two weeks, 525 aftershocks were felt in the region.

As a result of the earthquake, the Napier area tilted upwards – a maximum of just over 2m (7 feet) – and 2230 hectares (5575 acres) were raised to sea level. Since then, the area has continued to creep up at the rate of 1cm per year, so that it’s now 60cms (2 feet) above sea level. 
Reconstructing Napier  Art Deco was fashionable in the 1920s. The architectural style is characterised by the skyscraper shape, sunbursts and fountains, and geometric shapes.


In post-earthquake Napier, Art Deco was both a safe and economical choice. The new concrete buildings were more resistant to earthquakes and fire, materials were cheap and the stucco relief ornaments typical of Art Deco offered a less costly form of decoration. ( To see more of Napier’s story click here) 

The Masonic Hotel

The Masonic Hotel


The Masonic Hotel was destroyed in the earthquake and when it was rebuilt in the Art Deco style  it was one of the largest and most elaborate, up to date hotels in New Zealand at that time

Inside it had a rosy pink glow.

Many of the shops featured fashions and memorabilia from the 1920’s and 30’s.


Lovely to see this young man taking his grandmother, in her pink cardigan, out

Lovely to see this young man taking his grandmother, in her pink shirt, out


Napier Cathedral

Napier Cathedral

 While communion was being served, the original Cathedral was totally destroyed by earthquake with the loss of one life.

For 25 years a “temporary” wooden building, dedicated in October 1932 served as a Cathedral for the diocese.

In 1946 it was decided to rebuild and the foundation stone was laid on 12th October 1955. The chapel, chancel and most of the nave were dedicated by the Bishop of Waiapu and Archbishop of New Zealand, The Most Reverend Norman. Lesser, in 1960. But it was 1965 before the building was completed and the Cathedral was consecrated on 8th October 1967.

I find it interesting that the Masonic hotel was rebuilt immediately while it took over 36 years to finally finish the Cathedral.

The Cathedral is increasingly recognised as a fine example of modernist architecture. In 2005 the last three windows were installed finally completing the building.

The modern style stained glass window has pink in it too

The modern style stained glass window has pink in it too

I had only allowed half a day to explore this very interesting city. So much more to see so I hope, one day, to revisit Napier.


The theme of “pink” from Ailsa was very appropriate for me to show you around Napier. Visit “Where’s my backpack” for more pink posts.




Categories: Napier, New Zealand, photos, pink, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 28 Comments

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28 thoughts on “Travel Theme : Napier, Pretty in Pink

  1. Fantastic. I’m even more excited about going. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The day I met a fellow blogger Jill… | gypsy life

  3. The resilience of mankind, Pomme! This is quite a tribute 🙂
    How can anyone resist a city with a Wine St.?
    Does the gradual rising not present a problem for the future? Well- what doesn’t, these days! Still, a beautiful place to live.


    • It is a tribute to peoples resilience Jo, and now Christchurch is going through the same rebuilding as they recreate all the centre of their city that was totally destroyed 3 years ago


  4. poppytump

    Ah now this was a gem we missed 😦 It really does shine out as a fabulous place to visit the way you’e shown us PP with your pictures .Really love those stained glass windows !


  5. Joan and Terry Watson

    glad you are both back safe and sound and had such a good time, it is very different to here.


  6. Hi there, Pommepal, Interesting to see your post of my town. You’ve done us proud! My parents were both quake survivors. They were only five and six when the earthquake struck – on the first day of school. And we still rattle and roll here.


    • G’day Jill thank you for commenting it is very encouraging to hear from a local. You live in a beautiful town and I am definitely going to spend more time there next time we come over to visit my family.


  7. Although I came here for your Travel Theme entry, I think I’ll have to put Napier on the list of places we want to visit when we come to New Zealand in 2015. Oddly, we now live in Naperville, near Chicago. 🙂



    • G’day Janet, I’m sure you will love NZ there is so much to see, hope you are planning a long visit. Napier and the area around it and all along that east coast is very scenic.


  8. Napier is such a wonderful town I visited there last year and was overwhelmed by the art deco features. Your have found do much pink.


  9. Beautiful place Pauline and I just love ‘Busy Lizzies’ … wonderful photos.. Thank you for sharing… xox Sue


    • G’day Sue, I love happy “busy Lizzies” I love how easy they are to grow and once you have them they just keep reseeding back


  10. One of the places on my list for NZ – I adore Art Deco architecture – so thank you for an introduction to this town. Although the fact it is still rising is a little disconcerting! And I really have to find somewhere to stay on Wine Street 😀


  11. you put a lot of work into this post, amiga! i tried to imagine the landscape suddenly rising seven feet higher – wow, and how suddenly there was a lot more land… i applied that concept to the vanishing shoreline concept – we’re concerned about losing our beaches, but wow, we don’t want to reclaim them in this manner!

    what a lovely selection of pink you’ve given us! z


    • It certainly is an amazing concept. Those first 2 photos of the Marine Parade flower beds are built on the reclaimed land that was under sea before the earthquake. New Zealand is also known as “the shaky Isles” and of course just 3 years ago Christchurch was devastated by a huge earthquake and they are still getting after shocks


  12. really enjoyed it all – but the pink hat jumped out at me! 🙂 great series for the “pink” topic. ~y.


  13. Oh gorgeous! Your posts are always so full of life, and joy and hope!


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