As I start to write this post, I realise that I have no idea what “Art Deco” actually means so I thought I would look it up…courtesy of Uncle Google…
The predominant decorative art style of the 1920s and 1930s, characterized by precise and boldly delineated geometric shapes and strong colors, and used most notably in household objects and in architecture.
Napier, on the East Coast of the North Island, proclaims itself to be just this…the art deco capital of the world! Bold indeed. Around 100 miles from Taupo (with nothing in between) is where we headed for a weekend. So why claim this, and is it worth a visit?
The main reason is due to the fault lines running throughout New Zealand. Napier was destroyed in 1931 by the biggest earthquake in New Zealand’s history (7.9 on the Richter scale). 161 people died either in the quake or the resulting fires which swept through the city. More people died in nearby Hastings. Areas of the seabed (and existing coastline) were raised 2m upwards by the quake and the airport now lives on such land as was previously under the water.
Napier was then rebuilt in full, employing tradesmen from across the country. The city is not large and it didn’t take long to walk around. It is a nice setting with pebble beaches (apparently a result of coastal erosion at from nearby Cape Kidnappers where the cliffs are made from compacted mud and stones). I wasn’t blown away by the buildings but then I tend to prefer nature to man’s prowess! Judge for yourself…
Also, check out an example of how the land moves when an earthquake strikes, with a view from nearby Cape Kidnappers…you can see the layers of rock either side of the diagonal fault line…they don’t line up…some of these are up to 11m awry! Amazing!