It is hard to imagine anything positive resulting from a massive earthquake destroying a town, as happened to Napier in 1931.
It is testimony to the New Zealand spirit, that they faced the destruction of their town, with 260 people killed, by starting again.
Napier is now a lovely seaside city on the east coast of the North Island with unique Art Deco buildings in the centre of the city, as was the style in 1931. The silver lining is a popular Art Deco festival held every year.
We have missed the festival, but we’re up early to walk along the Marine Parade Reserve.
The Reserve runs along the edge of the sea, and is lined with interesting gardens, sculptures, huge Norfolk Island Pines, and wooden homes lining the streets…
The National Aquarium has a stingray-inspired shaped roof, and while we were there, a group of seagulls sat very still on the roof, no doubt enjoying the early morning sun as much as we were.
This life-like bronze sculpture is called Trawlermen, and is dedicated to the commercial fishermen who toiled at sea.
The aquarium has an impressive amount of fish, piranhas, terrapins, eels, kiwi, tuatara….and snorkellers can even swim with the sharks…needless to say, I’m much happier watching the seagulls.
Further along is a wonderful statue, fountain and garden…even more special in this morning light.
The statue, by Hungarian-born artist Franc Szirmay was inspired by the Art Deco period to design the form of an upward reaching young woman which represents Napier rising from the ashes in 1931. It is made in silicon bronze, and called ”Spirit of Napier”.
At the base of the statue is a fountain, which is not turned on this morning….but is an eye-catching feature at night when it is lit up. This sculpture and fountain are near the entrance to the city…a lovely welcome.
Paul took this great photo, just as the sun was rising…
…wish you could have been there..
The sun was shining by the time we walked back along the Parade to the storm water outlet, and interesting jetty..
A great place to watch the cruise ships and tankers passing by..
Napier is a pretty city, full of gardens, trees and shrubs, and colour..
This flower looks as if it comes from the Poinsettia family, but I have never seen one with young red/pink leaves, and then older, green/grey larger leaves… perhaps someone knows the name of this one?
In the centre of the Marine Parade is a sunken garden,
and a waterwheel built in 1911, owned by a farming family and donated to the garden by Mrs H Philip.
It was first used on the farm to power the milk separator and butter churner, then it was harnessed for shearing, sawing wood and pumping water…and in 1915 it was coupled with a dynamo generating electricity for the next 15 years…….what an amazingly useful wooden wheel!
Recycling at its best…
Napier’s Art Deco Festival is in February. During this time people dress up, drive around in vintage cars, and and enjoy a festive time ..
We had missed the festival, but, we hoped we hadn’t missed the fish restaurants… as we always try to sample some local fish dishes when we are at the coast.
It was worrying to notice how many people were looking at menus in restaurant windows that evening, just as we were….
The fish restaurant we chose was booked out, (and that is the last time I’m going to be the one to hesitate) but we noticed very nice fish dishes being served in the Emporium, which is also a gastro pub.
As we waited to be seated, I said to the waitress, ”do you think you could find us a quiet spot?”…..then I added ”only joking!”
…how could I ask for such an impossible thing!
In the nature of all New Zealanders we met, the waitress was very friendly and obliging, and went off to discuss this with the boss. Very soon we were ushered us into the Emporium lounge, which surely must be kept for very special occasions during the Festival.
We felt very under-dressed in our shorts and sandals….. but oh the joy of sinking into the velvet king size seats after a day of walking.
What a feast! The fish and chips and salad were divine, we enjoyed more New Zealand wine,(that is becoming a theme) and we could hear ourselves talk.
We sank further into the seats, and lingered gratefully on…
Happy (belated) Easter to everyone and hope you are having time to enjoy sunrises, sunsets and green spaces….
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