It is often said that a person’s life can change in a matter of moments. This was certainly the case for the residents of Napier, New Zealand, a seaport town located on Hawke’s Bay. On February 3, 1931 a massive Richter 7.8 earthquake ravaged the region. Fires subsequently engulfed the area and the city as a functioning town ceased to exist. An ambitious rebuilding of the city, in the style of Art Deco made this one of New Zealand destination, known not for its natural beauty but instead it’s architecture. Careful preservation makes Napier one of the art deco capitals of the world and a location where most of its distinctive buildings still stand today.
In Napier I took an Art Deco walking tour. At the Art Deco Preservation Center we first viewed a film about the earthquake and had an explanation of what we were about to see.