Daily Archives:May 15th, 2007


A couple of days ago I was in Napier. It’s an interesting town because it was almost completely destroyed by a big earthquake in 1931, and they rebuilt the centre from scratch, with the result that it has the most complete set of Art Deco buildings you can find in such a small area, anywhere in the world.


It’s almost too good – you might imagine you were one a movie set if it weren’t for the rather garish signs which New Zealand shops tend to have on them. These were perhaps the quietest ones:


Above the awning-level, though, there are restrictions on what people can do.

This isn’t a movie set, of course, it’s the real thing. And there are some nice touches lower down, too.


It’s only relatively recently that they’ve realised what a treasure this is and started to capitalise on its tourist value. Before that, the main emphasis was the beach (which is also very pleasant).


It makes me think of the David Suchet Poirot dramatisations, which draw heavily on Art Deco. There are fewer palm trees in most of those episodes, though.


The Art Deco Shop is in the old fire station:


and the owner had a great car parked outside:


© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser