Exploring The Vintage Side Of New Zealand Carved By An Earthquake
In 1931, Napier saw one of the most devastating natural disasters in New Zealand. The historical earthquake that lasted merely two and a half minutes claimed 250 lives and left the city in shambles.
But the Kiwis of Napier saw this tragedy not as an obstacle, but a blessing to start with a clean slate—and so they did. And from the earthquake’s ruins rose an Art Deco city that, to date, still stands strong and proud.
EIC on the Move Raul Manzano explores Napier city, home to the art deco side of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, and shares the gems and jewels that the city has to offer.
A modern Victorian stay
When in Napier, check in at the best art deco hotel that offers a colorful history and a luxurious experience. The Art Deco Masonic Hotel was first built in 1863, but has since refurbished and refined its interiors and exteriors. Now, it offers Victorian modern accommodation fit for royalty—something that Raul thoroughly enjoyed.
Raul’s Masonic Hotel favorites:
1. The artsy Victorian bedroom
2. The personal rooftop balcony
3. The thoughtful details – Here, Raul holds a photo of the Queen, a nice touch that gives an extra Victorian feel to the room’s vibe
If you want a throwback to the theaters of the 1930s, make sure to drop by the Napier Municipal Theatre. It has successfully preserved the city’s heritage, now marrying the elegant art deco style with modern theatre facilities. Just look at Raul enjoying every bit of his Great Gatsby swagger at the theatre!
Musicals, concerts, and festivals are always on at the theatre, whole-year round. If you’re planning to visit Napier Theatre soon, the Royal New Zealand Navy is holding an Art Deco Festival in February 2019 and Melbourne City Ballet will be in town for an Alice in Wonderland production in April.
The beauty left by an earthquake
Probably one of the most interestingly named peninsula in the world, Cape Kidnappers is a must-visit when in the Hawke’s Bay region. What’s in the name? It was named in commemoration of Captain Cook’s visit to the area back in 1769, where his Tahitian cabin boy was seized and kidnapped by the Maori locals. Eventually, the boy was able to escape and swim back to Cook’s ship.
One of the highlights of Cape Kidnappers is a tour along Gannet Beach aboard vintage tractors and trailers, where you can enjoy the beauty of the rock formations that hold Napier. The rock formations and faults were created during the earthquake, and now has become a part of the city’s tourism.
The Gannet beach is also home to the world's largest mainland gannet colony with more than 20,000 birds at peak time.
Follow Raul’s trip to New Zealand on EIC On the Move, with premiere episodes on Mondays, 9 p.m., on Metro Channel, channel 52 on Sky Cable and channel 174 on HD. Catch replays throughout the week.