The beautifully preserved architecture of the 1930s is Napier's special point of difference.
Street after street of impressive and beautifully restored Art Deco buildings, Napier has become famous as one of the most complete collections of Art Deco buildings in the world. In 1931, a massive earthquake shook Hawke's Bay for more than three minutes, killing nearly 260 and destroying Napier's commercial center.
Reconstruction began almost immediately, and new buildings reflected the architectural styles of the time – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco. Napier is often referred to as a 1930s movie set, and one of the best ways to enjoy the cityscape is on a self-guided tour – ask for a map at the information center or the Art Deco Trust. Guided city tours are also available every day, rain or shine (except on Christmas Day!). Every February, Napier celebrates its heritage with the Art Deco Festival – an elegant celebration of all things from the 1930s, including vintage cars, fashion and music.
Napier is home to many fine wineries, fabulous restaurants, bars and cafes. The boutiques are a must-visit, as is the Sea Walls collection of magnificent painted murals on more than 50 walls around the city. Grab a map and walk or tour the city to see them up close.
The beautifully restored Marine Parade serves as a scenic and popular bridge between the city and the Pacific Ocean, with a variety of family-friendly activities that are sure to keep the kids entertained for hours. Napier's iconic Norfolk Pines, the Deco Soundshell, Tom Parker Fountain and the “Pania of the Reef” statue are a visual reminder of the city's past. Drive outside the city center to the historic fishing village of Ahuriri to check out the growing list of cafes, bars, restaurants, galleries and boutiques.
For the perfect photo opportunity, visit the Observation Platform, located on the shore of Marine Parade, just below the Pania statue. Napier is also the perfect base for exploring the wider Hawke's Bay region.
economy and industry
Hawke's Bay is famous for its primary sector industries. Cherries and apples, the staples of the local economy, are important: so do New Zealand's classic pastoral activities of raising sheep and cattle. Grapes grow well throughout the region, and the most famous are the wines developed in the Gimblett Gravels area. The produced Cabernets and Merlots consistently outperform French competitors in blind taste tests. The region also produces table vegetables, including organic products. Food and beverage processing, forestry and manufacturing are significant industries. Tourism is increasingly important in the region. Built around the region's climate, iconic buildings and wineries, Hawke's Bay is home to many concerts, conferences, sporting events and farmers markets.
Hawke's Bay is dry and temperate with long hot summers and cold winters. In summer, daytime maximums are around 19-24°C falling to 10-15°C in winter. Precipitation is highly variable - summer can have droughts or heavy rains. In winter, Hawke's Bay is subject to cold winds from the south.
Technological whose viticultural qualifications are now internationally sought after. The region is also home to some of the top secondary schools in the country. Scenic attractions include the world's largest land goose colony (Cape Kidnappers), there are many excellent golf courses, and the region is home to a number of classic road cycling races. Notable events that draw many visitors include the region's Art Deco weekend, and the Mission Estate Concert at the Mission Estate and Winery.