2010-10-25 18:47


Getting there
Napier is the gateway to the Hawke's Bay region and is well connected to most major centres by domestic flight services.

Driving to Napier is also an excellent option if you have the time, as you pass stunning scenery along the Thermal Explorer Highway, which takes you through the thermal centre of the North Island via Lake Taupo, Huka Falls, Mount Ruapehu and Rotorua.

To get to McLean Park is an easy walk from the city centre, and there will be shuttles on hand to ferry visitors as well.

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Rugby World Cup Stadium
McLean Park

Famous sons
Kelvin "Kel" Tremain, All Black flanker 1959 - 1968

Napier is a thriving seaside town, home to the Port of Napier and known worldwide as the Art Deco City, where more than 20,000 people a year opt to take a guided walk through its streets.

Supported by a Mediterranean climate this popular year-round destination boasts a vibrant cafe culture. For the shopper there are high street and boutique stores to browse in, as well as antique shops, art galleries, and studios of potters, wood turners and craftsman.

Napier was rebuilt in the early 1930s, after most of the city was leveled by an earthquake. The collapses of buildings and the ensuing fires killed 258 people. The centre of the town was destroyed by the earthquake, and then this town and rebuilt in the Art Deco style popular at that time. Some 4000 hectares of today's Napier were undersea before the earthquake raised it up above sea level following an earthquake which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. The new buildings reflected the styles of the times - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and Art Deco – as well as incorporating some unique Maori motifs.

It has one of the most photographed tourist attractions in the country, a statue on Marine Parade called Pania of the Reef.

Napier's major tourist attraction is its architecture, which draws Art Deco  and architecture enthusiasts from around the world. The rebuilding period after the 1931 earthquake coincided with the short-lived and rapidly changing Art Deco era and the Great Depression, when little "mainstreet" development was being undertaken elsewhere. As a result Napier's architecture is strikingly different from any other city; the other notable Art Deco city, Miami Beach, has Streamline Moderne Art Deco. The whole centre of Napier was rebuilt simultaneously.

Other tourist attractions in Napier include The Hawke's Bay Museum and Art Gallery which features information on both the 1931 earthquake and Napier's redesign as an Art Deco city, the National Aquarium, the Soundshell and the Pania of the Reef statue. The Pania statue on Marine Parade is regarded in Napier in much the same way that the Little Mermaid statue is regarded in Copenhagen. In October 2005 the statue was stolen, but it was recovered a week later, largely unharmed.

Attractions nearby in the Hastings District include the Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony and many vineyards bordering Hastings City. The large wine industry hosts the Annual Harvest Hawkes Bay Weekend. Many people use Napier as a gateway to Hawke's Bay, flying in to Hawke's Bay Airport at Westshore from Wellington City, Auckland and Christchurch.

Rugby and cricket are the primary sports in Napier, with the stadium hosting full international and domestic competition in both. 

Napier is the Art Deco city of New Zealand. (Tourist board)


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