The seaside town of Napier was built after the area was ruined by New Zealand’s worst earthquake and resulting fires in 1931. This natural disaster killed many people and destroyed vast numbers of buildings, and the area had to be completely reconstructed. The architects, when designing the buildings to be rebuilt, adopted an Art Deco style to reflect the new era of the city, and today Napier is internationally renowned for this. The townspeople are proud of the city’s heritage, and the owners of these buildings are encouraged to preserve the elaborate motifs and pastel colours that are characteristic of the town. As well as its unusual architecture, the city boasts more than 2350 hours of sunshine a year, making it an ideal seaside destination. Located in Hawke’s Bay, Napier is one of the twin towns that form the area which is one of New Zealand’s oldest wine growing regions.


Marine Parade, a mile long street flanked by Norfolk pines that runs parallel to the beachfront, is the hub of Napier’s life. The statue of Pania, a local maiden legend, the infamous floral clock and the Tom Parker Fountain can all be found on this street. Marine Parade also contains many other sights, parks and memorials, and walking down this street gives you an impression of what makes Napier so unusual and so special. In addition it houses two aquatic parks, including The National Aquarium of New Zealand which is residence to an enormous range of marine life, including sea horses and stingrays. Marineland can also be found here, which has daily shows featuring its performing dolphins, otters, penguins, sea lions and seals. A moving footpath carries you under the ‘oceanarium’, and the opportunity to swim with the dolphins is also provided.

Keeping with the animal theme, Marine Parade also has The Kiwi House. This is the only place in the country which guarantees you a sighting of this nocturnal, national bird.

Hawke’s Bay Museum can also be found on Marine Parade. Although the museum is housed in an Art Deco building, it shows an extensive collection of Maori art, textiles and artefacts which relate to the lives of the early Maori settlers of Hawke’s Bay. The museum also retells the events of the earthquake and the rebuilding that occurred afterwards.

The Art Deco Trust was formed in 1985 in order to maintain the Art Deco in the town. They organise a selection of different activities for visitors, including guided walks around the city, and forefront the annual Art Deco Weekends which are held in February.

Napier’s Botanical Gardens are unusually located right in the centre of the city on a hill. They provide a delightful sanctuary from the busy life of the city, as well as excellent views of the Napier and its surrounding coastline.

Hawke’s Bay is one of the countries best red wine producing regions, and there are a number of wineries that can be visited that are only a short distance from Napier. Hawke’s Bay Wine Country provides details on these, as well as wine events that are carried out in the area, including the Harvest Hawke’s Bay Wine Festival in February. The Church Road Winery is one of New Zealand’s oldest and leading wine producers, and a visit to their vineyard is a must.


With such a temperate climate and a seaside setting, much of Napier’s eateries enjoy al fresco dining. The café culture is strong in the city, but there are also many good quality restaurants which enjoy the blend of fine wine and food which is characteristic of Hawke’s Bay. Seafood dominates the dishes that are available, and many of the prices are reasonable. There is a scattering of bars around the city, as well as a few clubs if you wish to bring your night into the small hours of the next day.


At Perfume Point at the entrance to the harbour, street vendors set up stalls daily selling crafts and antiques with an outstanding beach backdrop. The first port of call for Art Deco lovers is the Art Deco Shop, which is also the headquarters for The Art Deco Trust. This sells a collection of gifts and souvenirs that are inspired by the architectural theme of the town. Emerson Street contains the usual array of general New Zealand stores, and if you drive ten minutes south of Napier you come to Taradale. This town merged with Napier in 1968, and, with its many boutique shops, provides some of the best shopping in the area.

Tourist Information

Napier i-SITE Visitor Information Centre100 Marine ParadeNapierHawke’s BayNew Zealand

Tel: 0064 6 834 1911Fax: 0064 6 835


Hawke’s Bay Airport is located a ten minute drive from Napier, and there are no shuttle buses arranged to and from the city. It has domestic flights to a few destinations in both the North and South Islands, including Auckland and Wellington in the North, and Christchurch in the South.