The coastal city of Napier, rebuilt after the 1931, 7.8 magnitude earthquake, is best known for its trademark Art Deco architecture and landmarks and few places in the world have such a broad representation of the Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and Art Deco styles within such a confined area. The city deserves its place as the Art Deco Capital of the World.
Along its two kilometers of sea frontage, lined with Norfolk Island Pines first planted in 1888, Napier’s Marine Parade offers a succession of visitor attractions including the Pania of the Reef statue depicting the mythical Maori maiden, a symbol of the city, and the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
Napier has a well-established Maori history with evidence of Maori settlement from as early as the year 930 and although Ngāti Tara iwi already existed in the area, the Ngāti Kahungunu became the dominant force from Poverty Bay to Wellington and were one of the first Māori tribes to come in contact with European settlers. Captain James Cook was the first European to see the future site of Napier when he sailed down the east coast of New Zealand in October 1769 on his inaugural voyage of discovery.
Supported by an almost Mediterranean climate, this popular year-round destination boasts a vibrant cafe culture. For the shopper there are high street and boutique stores to browse in, as well as antique shops, art galleries, and studios of potters, wood turners and craftspeople.