In February 1931, Napier was destroyed by an earthquake that measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. and uncontrolled fire but was astonishingly rebuilt during the Great Depression in just under two years. The ground shook for less than three minutes, fires broke out all around, and 261 lives were lost.
As a result of the earthquake, the Napier area tilted 7 feet and almost 6,000 acres were raised to sea level, creating more land mass and allowing a dream for a new, charming downtown to emerge. Napier began rebuilding using Art Deco styles, which was a safe and economical choice since new concrete buildings are more resistant to earthquakes and fire. The materials needed to build were inexpensive, and the stucco ornaments on the tops of buildings was a cheaper form of decoration.
Some of our group took a guided walking tour while others opted for a driving tour in and around town in addition to visiting Craggy Range, an iconic Hawke’s Bay winery producing world class wines, nestled beneath Te Mata Peak in the heart of Hawke’s Bay Valley.