Napier

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.

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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:

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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.

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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).

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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.

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The Art Deco Shop is in the old fire station:

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and the owner had a great car parked outside:

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser