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Napier's early history

Maori History

Ngati Kahungunu are the tangata whenua of the area extending from Mahia to the Wairarapa, which includes the area of Hawke's Bay. Descended from Kahungunu, son of Tamatea, these people came with the Takitimu canoe, which had travelled down the coast of New Zealand and deposited colonists at intervals along the coast. In the early sixteenth century the Ngati Kahungunu migrated into northern and central Hawke's Bay. When the Ngati Kahungunu party of Taraia reached the district, now known as Napier, the Whatumamoa, Rangitane and the Ngati Awa and elements of the Ngati Tara existed in the areas of Petane, Te Whanganui-a-Orotu and Waiohiki. Later the Ngati Kahungunu became the dominant force from Poverty Bay to Wellington . They were one of the first Maori tribes to come in contact with European settlers (Wright, 1994).

European Contact

In October 1769, Captain James Cook and the crew of the HMS Endeavor were probably the first Europeans to set eyes upon Hawke's Bay. Cook was deterred from landing believing the Maori were hostile, but named the Bay after Sir Edward Hawke, First Lord of the Admiralty, before eventually landing north of what became Gisborne (Wright, 1994). For more than fifty years after Cook's visit, no further Europeans visited Hawke's Bay. After 1830, European traders, whalers, missionaries and other forerunners of permanent settlement began to appear in Hawke's Bay. The whalers began with stations at Waikokopu and Whangawehi, in the Mahia district during the late 1830s. From here they moved down the coast to other bases, among them Cape Kidnappers and Waimarama (Campbell, 1975).

Around the same time, missionaries began traveling to Hawke's Bay to convert the Ngati Kahunganu tribe to Christianity. The Anglicans were the earliest missionaries to reach Hawke's Bay under the auspices of the Church Missionary Society (CMS). They had already established a mission station in the Bay of Islands under the leadership of Rev. Henry Williams in 1823 ( CMS missionaries made significant journeys to Tauranga, Rotorua, and later to the East Coast to establish mission stations ( Rev. William Williams, the younger brother of Henry Williams, was the first missionary to reach Hawke's Bay via Wairoa in 1833(Campbell, 1975). By 1840, he established the first mission station at Turanga (now Gisborne) and took charge of a parish extending from the East Cape to Cape Palliser (Encyclopedia NZ). Bishop Selwyn, accompanied by Chief Justice Martin, was the next member of the Anglican church to visit Hawke's Bay in November 1842 and reported that in the Ahuriri district there was 'a very numerous Christian community although it had only once been visited by a missionary'(S.W. Grant, 1986). To maintain contact with the Maori converts it became necessary to appoint more missionaries, but it wasn't until the close of 1844 that the first missionary was appointed to Hawke's Bay. On 12 December 1843, William Williams and William Colenso received a grant of ten acres from the local people of Te Awapuni (present Awatoto, Napier) to establish a mission station at Ahuriri on Hawke's Bay (Ibid). William Colenso, a lay missionary, printer and amateur botanist from the Bay of Islands, was appointed to take charge of the new mission station. He arrived in Te Awapuni with his wife on 30 December 1844 to take charge of the District extending from Taupo to Wellington and embracing the whole area eastward of the Ruahine and Tararua Ranges (Enclyclopedia NZ). A chapel was eventually built and dedicated at Te Awapuni, the first service being held on 5 December, 1845. Such were the beginnings of the establishment of Christianity in Hawke's Bay, the congregation solely Maori, as the influx of Europeans had not yet occurred (S.W. Grant, 1986).

Towards European Settlement

The Treaty of Waitangi was brought to Hawke's Bay in June 1840 to collect additional signatures. The British representatives, Major T. Bunbury and Edward M. Williams, met the Ngati Kahungunu chiefs Waikato, Mahokai and Te Hapuku, who signed after assurance that they would not be made slaves (Wright, 1994). The Treaty of Waitangi and Native Land purchase Ordinance of 1846 gave the Crown pre-emptive rights over the sale and lease of Maori land; nevertheless, the practice of illegal land leasing continued. In January 1849, a mob of 3,000 merino sheep had been driven from Ahiaruhe, in the Wairarapa, to Pourerere and was creeping up the coast to Akitio, only a few miles south of Hawke's Bay. These sheep were pastured on land leased illegally from Morena, a local chief (Reed, 1958). At this time Governor Grey was interested in the purchase of the Manawatu and Wairarapa districts. The practice of illegally leasing land in the Wairarapa frustrated Grey's attempts to buy land there. Maori were enjoying the benefits of substantial annual rentals and were reluctant to sell. It was during this time that definite steps were taken to settle the Hawke's Bay area. Grey felt that if the Crown could buy land in Hawke's Bay, the prospect of freehold land would attract the Wairarapa squatters (Fargher, 2007).

Hawke's Bay rangatira were well aware that the leasehold system in the Wairarapa was both attracting Pakeha and yielding a good income. In November 1848, Native Secretary, H.T. Kemp told the Hawke's Bay Maori that 'no more squatting would be allowed by the Government', and suggested that if they were anxious to have Europeans 'proposals should be made in writing by the principal chiefs of that district for the sale of the land'. At the same time, William Colenso's advocacy was sought to convey the advantages of the European settlement to the chiefs. The supposed benefits conveyed to the hui included ample reserves; access to Anglican Clergy; schools; settlers selected for their moral quality; a large community; and 'physical benefits and external advantages'. On 26 April 1849, Tareha and several leading Hawke's Bay chiefs invited Governor Grey to visit them to discuss a land deal. Their letter, approved by all the people, was very specific as to the selection of settlers:

According to what we have said or arranged the land at Ahuriri has become already the subject of negotiation with you for the purpose of sale. Friend hasten - and do not throw overboard this our letter because this seems to be what pleases you viz the consenting on our part for the selling of the land - Friend Gov Grey approve of this our request for White people for this our land and let them be men of high principal or Gentlemen no people of the lower order - let them be good people - let them be the Colony of Missionaries who [we] have heard are coming out (Waitangi Tribunal report).

Land purchases

At this time Governor Grey appointed Land Commissioner, Donald McLean, to visit the Ngati Kahungunu tribe at Hawke's Bay and negotiate for the purchase of blocks of land (Reed, 1958). Grey set out to buy large blocks of land (100,000-300,000 acres) in advance of settlement at low prices with the intention of averting potential conflict between Maori and newly arrived colonists. The land thus acquired was to be sold to settlers at much higher prices, with the difference being used for opening up the land to settlement, for example by building roads and bridges and for buying more land (Fargher, 2007).

By 1850, McLean's reputation was now well established as New Zealand's most successful land-purchase official. Attributes of McLean's success were his fluency in Maori, his understanding of Maori protocol, his patience and the importance of 'taihoa' of waiting to achieve consensus. His negotiations followed a clear pattern. Once an offer to sell a block was known, his first step was to summon a meeting of tribes who might claim any customary interest in the land. A surveyor was present to assist and, in company with tribal representatives, they would traverse the boundaries of the proposed purchase, noting the claims of various tribes, defining natural features to act as boundary marks, and identifying reserves consisting of villages, cultivations and sacred places (Ibid).

Map showing McLean's purchases in 1851: Mohaka Block, Ahuriri Block, and WaipukuBetween December 1850 and May 1851, McLean negotiated for the purchase of land at Waipukurau, Ahuriri and Mohaka (Fig. 4) to fulfill Grey's policy of buying large blocks of land in advance of settler demand (Ibid). The process of negotiating and gaining consent from Hawke's Bay tribes for the sale of these blocks is long and complicated and does not need addressing in detail for this purpose; however, a discussion about the Ahuriri block is appropriate here. The Ahuriri block consisted of 265,000 acres and extended from the Tutaekuri River and the sea, inland to the upper Mohaka region and to the Titiokura, the summit of the Maungaharuru Range (Reed, 1958). It was this block of land that included the area known as Mataruahou or 'Land adjacent to', which would eventually become the future site of Napier.

The first round of negotiations for the Ahuriri Block took place on 20 December 1850, where some 500 Maori gathered to meet McLean outside trader Ankatell's house on the western spit (present Westshore) at Ahuriri. McLean recorded the event in his journal:

About 12 o'clock Tariha gave me notice that the natives had discussed sufficiently long among themselves about the sale of their land, therefore they were ready to meet me. They ranked themselves in a circle, their old senators displaying their white weather-worn locks to the breeze and the women looking eagerly at the white stranger who was to purchase the land of their ancesters. No doubt they were also thinking of the fineries the sale would bring them when the old man named Te Tore got up with an old cheek bone of a hog in his hand as emblematical of his decay and said 'My children, let your words be good, welcome the stranger among you.' Te Morehu [said] 'Let us all consent to sell the land; do you all do so?' They all replied 'Ae'. Paora Torotoro [said] 'Welcome to your land; the water is ours; the land you see before you is yours' (Wilson, 1951).

In May 1851, another round of negotiations took place to set the price of the Ahuriri Block. Here McLean departed from his earlier practice of allowing ample time for debate and consensus to emerge. Tareha and other rangatira asked for £4,500; however McLean was only prepared to offer £1,500. After some disgust at the smallness of the price, the negotiations eventually resulted in the reluctant agreement of McLean's offer. The rangatira were already aware that Te Hapuku had enhanced his mana by the recent sale of the Waipukurau Block, and that their mana would be diminished if they failed to negotiate a sale with the Governor's right-hand man. They were also eager to begin receiving benefits of trade that the Europeans would bring. After they had agreed to sell, they wrote to Grey pointing out that their agreement arose from their desire to have a town with Pakeha settlers among them and urged haste (Fargher, 2007).

After setting the price for the Ahuriri Block, McLean and his party of Maori returned to Wellington, where a report of his successful expedition was presented to the Governor. In October 1851, two days after his marriage to Susan Strang, daughter of the Supreme Court Registrar, McLean again left Wellington for Hawke's Bay, this time with £3,000 in gold to purchase the Waipukurau Block (£1,800), to place a down payment on the Ahuriri Block (£1,000) and the Mohaka Block (£200) (Reed, 1958).

After collecting signatures for the deed of Waipukurau, McLean moved north to Ahuriri In November 1851, where he began the final round of negotiations for the Ahuriri block. These took place over ten days between McLean's arrival at Te Whanganui-a-Orotu on 7 November and the signing hui on 17 November. This final round involved meeting with particular chiefs, including one with Te Moananui and Tareha on 12 November, and what appeared to be a lengthy public hui at the survey office on 14 November, at which McLean secured approval of the draft deed (Waitangi Tribunal report).

At first they objected to a reserve of only 500 acres at Puketitiri (north of Napier) when they had asked for several thousand acres (Fargher, 2007). Tareha and other rangatira were also reluctant to include Mataruahou (present Napier) and Te Taha (present Westshore) in the sale of the Ahuriri Block for fear they might be eventually deprived of fishing rights, collecting pipis, and other shellfish, which abounded in the Bay. Apparently there were also health associations with Mataruahou that were significant to Ahuriri Maori which fitted the general cultural association of health with hilltop sites. It has been reported that since ancient times the western portion of Mataruahou has been associated with healing. The early Maori used to go up and stay on the hill at the west end of the island when they were sick (Waitangi Tribunal report).

Nevertheless, Ahuriri Maori appear to have eventually accepted the terms of the deed, which provided for a landing place for their canoes and protection for their customary fishing activities as recognition of their ownership of the harbor (Fargher, 2007). A report from the Waitangi Tribunal suggests that one reason Ahuriri Maori may have been persuaded to agree to the sale of Mataruahou was because they were under the impression that they had been promised a hospital, even though it was not written in the deed (Waitangi Tribunal report). In the end, nothing was reserved for Maori on Mataruahou itself; however, three small reserves were set aside in the deed close to Mataruahou: a small island, Pukemokimoki, to the south; a small piece of land to the north; and a town landing place for canoes, later demarcated as a half-acre site on the lagoon shore of the Western Spit (Ibid).

On 17 November 1851 the tribes assembled to sign the Ahuriri deed. Mclean made a long opening speech to the assembled tribes explaining the nature of the deed and expressing the hope that it would be the means of 'uniting them with a stronger power that would, under the mild dispensation of our laws, befriend and protect them'. Three hundred signed the deed, including some children that they might be a witness to future generations (Fargher, 2007). It should be noted that a few years later, Tareha felt that his interests had been under-valued. To pacify him, the Crown paid him a further £50, as well as two town sections for the 640 acre Mataruahou area on 11 November, 1855 (Campbell, 1975).

As news spread of McLeans purchases, pastoralists, together with shepherds, workmen and merchants, began to settle in Hawke's Bay. Alfred Domett, who drew the first plan of the town, proposed the new town be named after Sir Charles Napier who had, just 11 years previously, defeated the Indian armed force at Meannee near Hyderbrad, India. All the principal town roads and streets were named after the most prominent men in British Indian history, among them Clive, Hastings, Hardinge, and Wellesley. The Indian theme adopted by Domett was also reflected in the renaming of Mataruahou after the important province of Scinde (Sind), renamed 'Scinde Island' (present Bluff Hill). When Domett's Indian names were exhausted, he used names of the most eminent men in literature and science of the day, as well as the most celebrated English poets (Campbell, 1975).

The first sale of town sections took place on 5 April 1855. 108 lots were offered consisting of 36 quarter-acre sections on Meanee spit with prices ranging from £5 - £10; 58 quarter-acre sections on Scinde Island, most valued at £5, and, over the harbour, 14 suburban sections of 13 to 39 acres at £1 an acre. Wellington merchants and speculators were among the buyers, most of whom paid more than the going price for their sections (Ibid). A second sale of town sections was held on 9 February 1856. Two quarter-acre sections at the foot of Shakespeare Road, brought £100 each, and less desirable sections were sold at £5 each (Reed, 1958).

While Europeans were busy buying up sections, McLean's successor in Hawke's Bay, George Sisson Cooper, continued to negotiate with the Maori. Most were eager to sell. Kurupo Te Moananui sold Okawa and Te Matau-a-Maui (Cape Kidnappers) blocks in 1854 and 1855 respectively. Between 1856 and 1859 some 698,231 acres of land were sold for a total of £3,170,615. By 1861, when land sales were halted, the government had purchased nearly two million acres in northern and central Hawke's Bay, at an average price of two shillings an acre (Wright, 1994).

A Provincial Town

In 1855 the town was declared a "Customs House Port of Entry", and named "Port of Napier" (Port Ahuriri Heritage Study). Its importance increased when, on 1 November 1858, Hawke's Bay was declared New Zealand's seventh province under the provisions of the New Zealand Provinces Act, (Hawke's Bay Almanac, 1865) following a lengthy campaign in which the inadequacy of Wellington's attention to the region was underlined. (Wright 1994) By this time the centre of population had shifted from the port and Onepoto Gully to the present position. Shops were springing up in Hastings Street and around fifteen houses were recorded in Emerson Street. (Jubilee, 1924)

By August 1857, many settlers had become somewhat alarmed by tribal disputes over land. Despite the fact that Europeans were not involved, their concern grew and, in February 1858, the first soldiers - a detachment of the 65 (Royal Irish) Regiment - arrived at Onepoto Gully, where they set up camp until barracks were constructed at the top of Hospital Hill. Napier would remain a garrison town for over a decade. (Campbell 1975)

A proclamation issued on 1 December 1858, entitled the new Provincial Council to ten members divided between six districts. (Wright 1994: 67-68) Elections were held the following March and, on 23 April 1859, the newly elected Council held its inaugural meeting at the Golden Fleece Hotel. Council chambers were constructed in 1860 on a site later occupied by Government buildings, and initially served as concert and lecture hall, a court of justice and a church, in addition to the purpose for which they were built. By 1862, however, the Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations each had their own places of worship in the town. (Jubilee, 1924)

The new Provincial Council was responsible for a range of public works including roads, harbours, hospitals and prisons. (Wright 1994: 69) One of the first works carried out in Napier itself was the draining of the swamp through which Carlyle Street passed and the subsequent formation and metalling of the road. Hardinge Road was, at that time, exposed to the inroads of the sea, and a causeway had to be built to connect the Spit with the town. (Jubilee, 1924)

As the only export centre and largest town in Hawke's Bay, Napier assumed considerable importance between 1858 and 1876 when the provincial system was abolished. Even then, the town "continued to reflect the entrenched political, economic and social interests of the pastoralists". (Wright 1994:52) It would remain the focal point of the region for decades.

Napier Becomes A Borough

In January 1874, Napier was described, in the Hawke's Bay Herald, as a place where:

"Every breath of wind raises a cloud of dust. The swamps, many of which are nearly dry, exhale a fetid odour, nauseating the passers-by, and intolerable to dwellers in the neighbourhood. The single artesian well is often the centre of an impatient crowd waiting for the water carriers to fill their casks". (Hall, W.M., p.12 - quoted from Hawke's Bay Herald)

But, by the end of that year, Napier had been constituted a borough under the Municipal Corporations Act and was planning to rectify both the "swamp nuisance" and the water supply. Under the mayoralty of Mr J.H. Vautier the area between Dickens Street and Hastings Street south, near Sale Street, was reclaimed, largely by means of the spoil taken from the hill on what was later known as the Recreation Ground. (Jubilee, 1924)

The first big expenditure for the establishment of a water supply and the introduction of gas lighting involved the sizeable sum of £10,000. Although the Napier Gas Company was formed in the same year as the Borough Council, it encountered numerous obstacles in the early days and the gas was not turned on until October 1887. ("Before and After", D.T. 1931)

Meanwhile, responsibility for the provision of an adequate water supply was put in the hands of the first borough engineer, Mr C.E. Peppercorne. In January 1875, he submitted a scheme for supplying the whole of the town between the swamp, the sea and the hills by means of a well sunk in Raffles Street at a cost of £5,000. The following year a loan of £10,000 allowed for the ordering of a plant from England and, by the end of 1877 the water supply became available. The scheme provided for the reservoir in Sealy road which was partly to supply Shakespeare, Cameron and Coote roads and partly to provide a reserve for fire fighting. (Jubilee, 1924)

By 1878, the town had grown to such a size that it became necessary to deal with the problems of drainage and sewerage. The engineer was instructed to prepare plans and estimates and, two years later, after overcoming certain difficulties relating to the configuration of the borough, a start was made on the installation of a complete system. ("Before and After", D.T. 1931; Jubilee, 1924)

Meanwhile, responsibility for the provision of an adequate water supply was put in the hands of the first borough engineer, Mr C.E. Peppercorne. In January 1875, he submitted a scheme for supplying the whole of the town between the swamp, the sea and the hills by means of a well sunk in Raffles Street at a cost of £5,000. The following year a loan of £10,000 allowed for the ordering of a plant from England and, by the end of 1877 the water supply became available. The scheme provided for the reservoir in Sealy road which was partly to supply Shakespeare, Cameron and Coote roads and partly to provide a reserve for fire fighting. (Jubilee, 1924)

By 1878, the town had grown to such a size that it became necessary to deal with the problems of drainage and sewerage. The engineer was instructed to prepare plans and estimates and, two years later, after overcoming certain difficulties relating to the configuration of the borough, a start was made on the installation of a complete system. ("Before and After", D.T. 1931; Jubilee, 1924)

Attention was meanwhile being turned to the beautification of the waterfront. Although 1880s Napier was seen as "the perfect image of an English seaside resort", (Shaw and Hallett, 1987:5) there was an ongoing problem with its popular promenade. Prior to the construction of Marine Parade, the foreshore of Napier was very close to the houses which had been built facing the sea, consequently, the road in front of them was continually exposed to erosion. After serious damage to the road in the winter of 1888 the Borough Council adopted a scheme for permanent protective works and, in June the following year, the first portion of Marine Parade, from Edwardes Street to Coote Road, was completed. (Jubilee, 1924) Once the sea wall and its parapet was completed, around 1893, Norfolk pines were planted along the water front, ("Before and After", D.T. 1931) in order to create an English-style "noble promenade". (Shaw and Hallett, 1987)

In 1886 Napier experienced its first serious setback. On the morning of 18 December, a fire, which started in the yard of Banner and Liddle's warehouse between Tennyson and Emerson Streets, swept through the downtown area destroying twenty six buildings, among them the Daily Telegraph and Hawke's Bay Herald offices. ("Before and After", D.T. 1931; Campbell, 1975) One consequence of this calamity was the introduction, by the Borough Council, of strict building regulations requiring the use of brick or concrete materials for new buildings in the central business area. (Campbell, 1975)

Growth of the City

When Napier became a borough in 1874 it had comparatively few industries. There were two newspapers with associated printing establishments, two breweries, two tailoring, two saddlery, two furnishing, and two aerated water establishments, one iron foundry, one timber mill, one brickworks, one coach building concern and one tent and sail making business. (Jubilee, 1924) Some fifteen years later, after a period of depression, prosperity was boosted in the Hawke's Bay with the export of frozen meat and the development of new industries. (Wright 1994) In Napier, for example, the well known Port Ahuriri-based Jas. J. Niven and Company became one of New Zealand's leading engineering concerns. (Campbell, 1975) The prosperity of this period was also reflected in the construction of larger homesteads and, in the commercial centre, extravagantly decorated buildings such as the Masonic Hotel. (Shaw and Hallett, 1987) Described in the Cyclopaedia (1906) as "an hotel without a rival in the Hawke's Bay [w]ith its noble double balcony fronting the finest marine promenade south of the Equator", the eighty bedroomed 'house' boasted, amongst other delights, "extensive wine cellars, a splendid billiard room and a fine dining room [with] accommodation for two hundred guests".

On the occasion of the town's farewell to its troops heading off to the Boer War in 1900, the hotel's balconies and the nearby band rotunda were festooned with signs proclaiming "God Bless Our Troops" and "For Queen and Country" while crowds crammed every available space. The following year the Masonic was the venue for another important social event the coronation of Edward VII - and again, in 1910, for celebrations marking the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York. (Shaw and Hallett, 1987)

April 1897 saw a large portion of the Central Business District heavily flooded after several days of torrential rain. Initially, Dalton and Emerson Streets were covered with surface water, as was Hastings Street between the Post Office and Tennyson Street, but after the Tutaekuri River overflowed at Meeanee, the water level rose substantially. ("Before and After", D.T. 1931) Many farmers lost stock, houses and fences while, in the city, "it was quite easy to row a boat along Carlyle Street to the commencement of Clive Square". (Campbell, 1975:82) Tragically, a party of ten men who had set out in boats to rescue stranded settlers lost their lives after being swept out to sea. A memorial was subsequently erected at the junction of Byron Street and the Marine Parade. Once the flood waters had subsided, it was observed that the process by which the river had spread silt over the plains could also be used to reclaim land, and this led to the reclamation of Napier South. (ibid.)

In the early years of the twentieth century, Napier started to advertise itself more aggressively as a tourist centre. The rugged Napier-Taupo Road, despite its neglected condition, became more popular after 1900 - at least in the drier summer months. In winter, that route, and the coastal link to Wairoa and the East Coast, were "almost impassable". (Campbell, 1975:92)

In 1908, however, the Napier Carnival Executive, a committee chaired by Mayor John Vigor Brown, published a booklet in which Napier was touted as "a 'charming city', 'an ideal holiday resort' with 'fine weather almost a certainty' for the visitor 'in search of change and rest'." (ibid.) Attractions in the town included the Marine Parade and municipal gardens while further a field, bush walks, golfing, cycle trips and visits to vineyards were promoted.

For over two decades after his election to the mayoralty, in April 1907, Vigor Brown occupied a leading place in Napier's public life. In November 1908 he became M.P. for Napier, retaining his seat until 1922. Brown approved a number of important projects for the borough, including the long delayed swimming baths, the construction of which began at the end of 1908. Opening one year later, the baths complex included seven hot water salt baths for people suffering from rheumatism and other muscular diseases. A children's paddling pool, the first of its kind in New Zealand, was added in 1918. (Campbell, 1975)

Other important municipal projects debated in the first decade of the new century included the installation of electricity and tramways. Substantial loans were raised and both were completed by the end of 1913. In addition, a sum of £28,000 was earmarked for the construction of a municipal theatre to replace the old Theatre Royal. Initially a site in Clive Square was chosen but, in the face of opposition from a group of citizens who wanted the Square to remain a park and playground, another was eventually purchased in Tennyson Street adding £6,550 to the budget. (Campbell, 1975) The "Italian Renaissance" style building, designed by Australian architect William Pitt, was officially opened on 12 November 1912. Those in attendance at the Napier Amateur Operatic Company's performance of "A Greek Slave" were duly impressed by the theatre's acoustics and its large stage later said to be the only one in Australasia "where the entire company of 'Chu Chin Chow' could be accommodated". (ibid.:98)

After 1918, park improvements were carried out under the direction of Superintendent of Reserves, Charles Corner. These works included the 1921 remodelling of Clive Square, which involved the removal of its picket fence and "superfluous trees and shrubs". A "limestone surround" replaced the fence while palms and other sub-tropical foliage were carefully planted out. (ibid.:105)

Two significant buildings from this period - the Public Trust Office of 1920, and Dr Moore's Private Hospital on Marine Parade, built around the same time - would serve as examples of good and bad engineering after the earthquake. The former survived with very little damage while the latter had to be demolished.

In the mid 1920s the Borough Council borrowed £50,000, mainly for electricity reticulation and roads. This rather extravagant attempt to make Napier into the fastest growing city in the Dominion did not bring about the hoped for progress. One reason was a shortage of land. In 1927 twenty eight acres between Georges Drive and Taradale Road were reclaimed but, by the end of the decade, Napier was only 100 acres larger than in 1916. (Wright 1994) The problem of expansion would not be resolved until after the 1931 earthquake with the raising of the Inner Harbour floor. (Campbell, 1975)

A boom in the late 1920s produced several important buildings such as Dalgety's, the Post Office, the E&D Building (now demolished), Bennett's Building in Hastings Street and a number of smaller structures in the CBD. (McGregor, 1998a)


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