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About Napier
~ He kōrero mō Ahuriri

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Physical Development of Napier

History: 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1920 | 1940 | 1960

Year Date & Month Event
930   Evidence of Maori settlement in Hawkes Bay.
1769  October Captain James Cook visit to Napier. He noted that the outlet from the estuary to be at Bay View. By the time of the first European settlement this was changed to be at Ahuriri.
1830   European traders, whalers, missionaries and permanent settlers began to appear in Hawke's Bay.
1844   William Colenso arrives at Ahuriri.
1846   Store opened at Onepoto by Alexander Alexander (young Scotsman)
1849  January 3,000 merino sheep driven from Ahiaruhe in the Wairarapa to Pourerere.

History: 1850

History: 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1920 | 1940 | 1960

Year Date & Month Event
1850 December Further settlers came when the first two families (McKains and Villerses) built their homes on the Western Spit (Westshore). These people came as farmers, traders and hotelkeepers. William Villers kept an accommodation house at the Western Spit until 1855, when the two families began sheepfarming in the Petane district.
1851   Land acquired for settlement in Hawke's Bay (Hapuku Block, Ahuriri Block and Mohaka Block).
1851   Pastoralists, shepherds, workmen and merchants began to settle.
1851   First hotel opened.
1852   Site of Napier surveyed.
1853   Napier town site bought from Maoris by Mr Donald Maclean.
1853-1858   Hawke's Bay belonged to Wellington province.
1854 February Alfred Domett requested that the port town be named after Sir Charles Napier. When he laid out the first town plan of Napier he named the principal town roads and streets and a square after the most prominent men in British Indian history e.g. Clive, Hastings, Hardinge, Wellesley.
1855   The Iron Pot Harbour declared an official customs port of entry.
1855   First school was founded, destroyed by fire in 1862, and did not re-emerge until 1869.
1855 5 April First sale of town sections.

108 lots consisting of 36¼ acre sections on Meeanee Spit, 58¼ acre sections on Scinde Island and over the harbour 14 suburban sections of 13 to 39 acres.

Wellington merchants and speculators were among the buyers.
1856 February Second sale of town sections attracted less attention.
1857   Napier's first road, Main Street, was made which ran up Onepoto Gully, along the line of Chaucer Road to Carlyle Street.
1857   Shakespeare Road had been partly formed.
1857 August Rival Maori factions fought at Whakatu.
1857 24 September First issue of the Hawke's Bay Herald.
1858   New Provinces Act empowered the Governor to create fresh provinces and Napier became the capital of the Hawke's Bay Province.
1858 February First soldiers arrived and barracks were built at the top of Barrack (now Hospital) Hill.
1858 February First overseas wool ship to call at Napier (Southern Cross).
1858 October First bank, Union Bank of Australia, opened an agency at Napier promoting it to a branch in June 1859. Operation began in a temporary office in Emerson Street and three years later a building on Shakespeare Road was built as this was the major route between Napier and Port Ahuriri.
1859   Provincial hospital was built at the corner of Harvey and Sealy Roads.
1859 March The first church, Roman Catholic St Mary's church, was built in Shakespeare Road.
1859 April Provincial council elections were held.

History: 1860

History: 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1920 | 1940 | 1960

Year Date & Month Event
1859-1862   Shakespeare Road was upgraded and connected to Hardinge Road by a causeway running across the lagoon. Hastings Street became the main business street of Napier providing access for traffic on its way to the limestone White Road which linked Napier to the southern settlements. Tareha's Bridge, built at present-day Awatoto during the 1860s, allowed travellers to move from the White Road to Meeanee and other settlements including Wharerangi. Further south, traffic across the Ngaruroro had to rely on ferries and punts.
1861   St Paul's Presbyterian church was built.
1862   Levelling of the hill to make Clive and Memorial Squares.
1862   Bank of New Zealand and Bank of New South Wales established Napier branches. The Bank of New South Wales closed its doors during the years 1864-73 due to lack of trade.
1862 March St John's Anglican church was built.
1863   Hawke's Bay Club was founded. In 1868 a new Clubhouse with forty apartments and a balcony was built. This building served as the clubhouse until 1906
1863   Severe earthquake.
1865   Self-reliant policy introduced by Frederick Weld's ministry led to the gradual withdrawal of imperial troops from New Zealand. Local militiamen, volunteers and friendly Maoris took over the task of fighting in Hawke's Bay.

Napier gained some new settlers when a number of soldiers took their discharge in Hawke's Bay.
1865   Erection of a building in Browning Street for Napier's Athenaeum which was founded in 1859, but due to legal problems and inadequate finance, its inauguration was delayed until July 1863.
1866 October A force of Hauhaus travelled down the Taupo track and occupied a pa at Omarunui on the Tutaekuri River placing a threat on the inhabitants of Napier.
1866 11 October An attack was led on the Hauhaus by Lt. Colonel Whitmore's men and most were either killed or captured.
1867   Ngaruroro River was bridged.
1867   Telegraphic communication was established.
1867   Coach service begun to Waipukurau and Porangahau, linking with services to Wellington.
1868   Post Office opened.
1868-1871   Frontier campaigns against Te Kooti.
1869   Two schools were founded, the Napier Boys' Trust School (Boys' High School) and the Napier Grammar School (girls' school) which provided instruction in the classics, French and other subjects.

History: 1870

History: 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1920 | 1940 | 1960

Year Date & Month Event
1870   Preliminary survey report carried out on a railway line from Napier to Takapau.
1870s   Firms of national importance, including the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency (1871), established branches at Napier.
1871   United Free Methodist's church built.
1871-1874   Substantial increase in Napier's population rising from 2,179 to 3,514 (61%) and provincial increase of 52%.

In 1874 with the arrival of new immigrants came animals, birds and fish introduced to improve the province's pastoral production and revive sporting pleasures known in Britain.
1872   Preparation of the ground for a railway line between Napier and Port Ahuriri began.
1872   Later in the year a contract for the Napier-Pakipaki line was made.
1872 June C H Weber, provincial engineer, presented a report on reclamation requirements regarding the swamp area bounded by Dickens Street, the southern enconstruction of the Napier-Taradale Road. Prior to this road travellers had to use the roundabout route via the White Road and Awatoto.d of Hastings Street and by Wellesley Road.
1872 July Petition by a group of Napier and Taradale settlers for construction of the Napier-Taradale Road. Prior to this road travellers had to use the roundabout route via the White Road and Awatoto.
1870 November Construction began of the Napier-Taradale Road which included three miles of roadway and two bridges (one across the tidal lagoon at Burton's Gully and the other across the Tutaekuri River).

Tolls levied to repay the costs of construction and maintenance were withdrawn in 1875 due to the popularity of the road.

The road also began the reclamation of the area known as Napier South when it formed an embankment.
1873   Napier Boys' High School was opened.
1873 February Bridge across Burton's Gully was completed five months before the Tutaekuri River bridge.
1873   A flood which destroyed much of the Napier-Taradale roadway, postponed the official opening of the road until March 1874.

Flood washed away the railway embankment at Waitangi, undermining Ngarururo Bridge.
1873 28 April The road encouraged a sale of Taradale land where seven acres at its junction with the present-day Meeanee-Taradale Road were sold.
1873 July The Council passed legislation called the Napier Swamp Nuisance Act but its powers were limited. The provincial government could penalise people for not removing impure water from their sections but it could not undertake extensive reclamation itself. Such work had to wait until the formation of the borough and an Act of Parliament in 1875.
1873 August H S Tiffen held a public meeting to gain favour in a municipality.
1874   The Hawke's Bay Building and Investment Society was formed as an investment for those with capital and as a mortgage channel for others wanting to own their own home.
1874   Burns Road was laid out along the line of Scully's Gully.
1874   Coach services began from Napier to Taupo.
1874   Land values rose with wool prices.
1874   Athenaeum committee started a scheme to form branch libraries in country districts whereby a country branch were allowed 30 books, changeable each month. Country libraries were formed at Taradale, Puketapu, Wairoa, Havelock, Te Aute and Porangahau.
1874   The formation of the Hawke's Bay Philosophical Society whose aim was the promotion of art and science.
1874   Courthouse was built.
1874   Sport was another important part of Napier life and the Tradesmen's Cricket Club was formed as well as a football club and a rowing club throughout the year.
1874   The following buildings were erected during this period:
  • Quarantine Building on Park Island
  • The Post and Telegraph Office in Browning Street
  • The lighthouse which stood on a small plateau to the south of the gaol
  • Courthouse
  • Slaughterhouse at Awatoto.
1874   Religious churches were also built or added on to:
  • Anglicans added a new aisle to their pro-cathedral
  • St Mary's Roman Catholic church on Shakespeare Road had been replaced by a new building higher up on Convent Hill.
  • St Mary's at Meeanee was lengthened by 18 feet with a wing of the same size on each side
  • The Wesleyan Methodists began to built a church (destroyed by a storm a year later) in Clive Square.
1874   Hotels:
  • Horace Ford left the Masonic Hotel in March 1874 to build the Criterion.
  • Ellis, Ford's successor at the Masonic rebuilt the Masonic so as not to be outshone by the Criterion.
  • In July 1874 the new Royal Hotel was opened in Carlyle Street.
  • South of Napier, the Shamrock Hotel at Awatoto offered its guests plunge or shower baths supplied by artesian water and hot salt-water baths.
  • A Maori hotel was opened at Karaitiana's Pakowhai pa.
1874 Early 1874 Napier Gas Company was floated and won financial backing and by August was preparing a section for the installation of a gasworks plant.
1874 June The Taupo Road caused many difficulties and heavy costs and brought the coach service to a temporary halt in June 1874.
1874 June Railway line reached Waitangi(the first stage of a line that would ultimately reach Wellington).
1874 June J D Ormond produced a report to the provincial council in support of making Napier self-sufficient in its finance and administration.
1874 29 July A meeting was called by J D Ormond, at the request of the townspeople, at the Provincial Council Chambers. There was unanimous approval of a motion to make Napier a municipality under the provisions of the 1867 Municipal Corporations Act.
1874 11 September A petition which was required before the proclamation of a borough was presented to Parliament and gazetted containing the names of 184 residents.
1874 12 October Railway line reached Hastings.
1874 October Ben Smith, architect and engineer, called tenders for the erection of four working-men's cottages in Emerson Street.

The provincial government called tenders for a line of immigration cottages in Thackeray Street.
1874 October At Port Ahuriri, land reclamation in the vicinity of the Iron Pot and Gough Island, provided space for offices and warehouses. 12 acre sections were offered for sale.
1874 November A bridge was built from the head of the Iron Pot on the Spit to the reclaimed land around Gough Island, providing a rail link between Port Ahuriri and Napier.
1874 November An exhibition was held displaying Maori carvings and artifacts, manufactured goods and settlers' possessions to try and raise funds for the purchase of more books and the foundation of a museum.
1874 26 November The Spit branch line, backed by the promise of a station and a schedule of five trains to Napier daily, opened.
1874 29 November Napier was proclaimed a borough and its boundaries defined. The town was divided into five districts with a total of 493 electors who were to choose nine councillors and one of those councillors to be mayor.
1874 End 1874 Central Government granted municipal status to Napier.
1874 End 1874 The new borough began its reclamation programme when surveyors pegged out the future line of Munroe Street.
1875   Money borrowed under the provisions of the Napier Municipal Council Empowering and Waterworks Loan Act of 1875 provided a reservoir and pipeline network for the Napier "flats" together with some areas of Barrack Hill.

A well with an estimated supply of 150,000 gallons per day was sunk in Raffles Street towards the end of 1875.
1875   Outbreak of typhoid when infected immigrants were not quarantined.
1875 Early 1975 Napier prepared to elect its first borough council with the closing date for nominations being 7 January.
1875 12 January Candidates for the borough expressed their views on town affairs at a public meeting.
1875 18 January Election day.
1875 4 February First Council meeting.
1875 9 February Meeting to choose borough officers.
1876   Port Ahuriri district refused to join the water supply scheme when the council struck its extra rate to pay interest on the loan.
1876   Flood washes away Waitangi and Taradale Road bridges.
1876   Railway opened to Waipawa.
1876 May The Napier Harbour Board held its first sale of 29 sections on Gough Island (only three were sold).
1876 October The Napier Volunteer Fire Brigade was founded and occupied a site in front of the Masonic Hotel.
1876 December The first compartment (160,000 gallons) of the reservoir, in Sealy Road, was completed. Later, a second compartment (320,000 gallons) provided water for houses in Shakespeare, Cameron and Coote Roads, as well as other parts of the borough outside direct supply from the main in Raffles Street.
1876-1878   The construction of two piers and a stone embankment to protect the entrance and channel of the inner harbour were carried out but did not prevent the reappearance of shingle at the new entrance to the channel.
1876-1879   The Napier Harbour Board, using spoil from Bluff Hill and the vicinity of Pandora Point, reclaimed part of the Ahuriri Lagoon.
1877   Street forming begun and Napier streets were lit with gas.
1877   The borough council and the Napier Harbour Board clashed over the possession of the lagoon lying between Hyderabad Road and the railway line in the vicinity of the Royal Hotel. The board won its case.
1877 May Napier Theatre Company was formed.
1877 May Hospital trustees offered a prize of £50 for the best design for a new hospital building to be erected on a new site on Barrack Hill. The trustees had to wait for a grant from the Government before proceeding.
1877 June The Napier Volunteer Fire Brigade celebrated the arrival of a steam fire-engine (only engine of its type in NZ apart from one in Christchurch).
1877 September Editorial in the Daily Telegraph objected to the overpowering stench from an open drain in Emerson Street and the stagnant pool of water in the middle of Clive Square.
1877 October A petition by Emerson Street residents resulted in council action against owners of stagnant water sections.
1877 October G H Swan opened a swimming baths built on a site between his White Swan Brewery building and the White Road.
1877 November Council received a petition from 92 Port residents asking for the district's inclusion in the borough water supply network as it was found that the costs of water cartage from Napier outweighed the gains from lower rates.
After 1877   Employment became more difficult to find. Wool prices fell in 1877.
1878   John Johnston reclaimed his three swamp sections resulting in 20 acres, including about 14 acres held by private owners, between Hastings and Carlyle Streets, being fit for occupation.
1878   The Council devoted some of its revenue to street maintenance and temporary repairs to the sea wall and paths along the Marine parade (Beach Road).
1878 February The completion of swamp reclamation carried out by Berry and Anderson which provided the town with seven new streets, namely, Munroe, Thackeray, Raffles, Sale, Owen, Faraday and Edwardes.
1878 April Statistics for April showed there were 31 deaths in the town, 23 resulting from dysentery on the flat lying portions of Napier in the vicinity of the swamp. Children being particularly vulnerable.
1878 June The Napier Volunteer Fire Brigade together with the Port Ahuriri Volunteer Fire Brigade met to discuss the best way to secure a fixed annual subsidy from the Corporation. It was moved that the two brigades place their services at the disposal of the council, whose fire inspector would be in charge at all fires. The Council's response was a grant of £350 a year. Private donations provided the remainder of brigade finance.
1878 October Council accepted a Napier Gas Company tender to keep 36 lamps lit every night except on moonlit nights.
1878 November The borough boundaries were enlarged to include the lagoon bringing it under the control of council rates and powers of reclamation.
1878 December J H Vautier, Mayor, outlined proposals for a loan of £70,000 for 35 years at 6% at a public meeting. The loan was to consolidate previous waterworks and reclamation loans leaving £52,700 for drainage and sewage on the flats. At a poll held a week later ratepayers approved the loan.
    The Napier Theatre Company converted the Oddfellows' Hall at the foot of Milton Road into a theatre named The Theatre Royal serving Napier's entertainment for nearly four decades.
1879   The Botanical Gardens began to take shape.
1879 March Tenders were called for the new hospital building and the Government offered to subsidise all private subscriptions and donations provided that the hospital committee also undertook the management of the charitable aid fund.

The borough council was criticized for its unwillingness to contribute to the building fund in contrast to the Hawke's Bay County Council which had given £500 as well as £250 for maintenance. In May the borough council granted £100 to the fund.

The buildings completed in 1880 consisted of three wards, doctor's quarters, kitchen, quarters for matron and nurses, secretary's office, vestibule and small dispensary, with small convalescent courtyard and verandahs in the centre of the block.

History: 1880

History: 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1920 | 1940 | 1960

Year Date & Month Event
1880's 1890's   Council considered electricity which had been installed by some firms and households for street lighting but no action was taken until the loan of 1909-10.
1882 August More complaints about stagnant water i.e. lake in Clive Square formed by trapped storm water from Hastings, Tennyson, Dalton and Dickens Streets.  Parts of the town, notably the western side of Hastings Street, were not connected to the mains.
1882-1883   A high pressure reservoir on Bluff Hill completed a supply system which provided water throughout Scinde Island.
1884   The Recreation Ground (Clive Square) became the town's main sporting centre and council, supported by a group of private fund-raisers, began to beautify the square. Trees were planted, gas lamps provided, boggy patches drained and levelled and gardens laid out. Afterwards the area was divided into two squares, with the present day Memorial Square as a playground for children, and Clive Square as a garden reserve declared open in December 1886.
1884   Girls' High School opened.
1884   First frozen meat shipment.
1884 January Action over new council buildings followed the Government's repossession of the building which had housed the council since 1875.
1884 May Council selected a new site fronting Tennyson Street, Herschell Street and the Marine Parade and by December the new offices and town hall were ready for occupation.
1886 18 December Great fire destroyed 26 buildings among them the Daily Telegraph and Hawke's Bay Herald offices causing nearly £60,000 worth of damage.
1887   Breakwater Project began.
1887   Council acted as the Board of Health for the borough, the Meeanee Domain Board and the Papakura Domain Board.
1887 July Borough council were asked for the loan of one of their quarries so that men from the refuge could earn money reclaiming lagoons in Hyderabad Road and the vicinity of Pandora Point.
1887 August Sixteen cases of typhoid fever were reported in the vicinity of Enfield Road (poor sewage disposal being the contributing factor). This disease remained a danger in Napier, Hastings and the Heretaunga Plains until the completion of swamp reclamation and drainage projects after the turn of the century.
1888   The Napier Harbour Board reclaimed part of Whare-o-maraenui Lagoon without major alterations to Napier's drainage outlets.
1888 April A six inch bore was sunk in Munroe Street, near the railway station (gave a flow of water at a depth of 156 feet).
1888 August Council recommended a special loan of £5,000 to be raised by rates to erect a concrete wall along Marine Parade (4 feet wide) and this was approved by the ratepayers with work beginning in November and completed in June 1889.

History: 1890

History: 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1920 | 1940 | 1960

Year Date & Month Event
1889-1890   The Napier and Hawke's Bay branches of national trade unions were founded.
1890   Council began improvements to the parade, including chairs, footpaths, gardens and planted the Norfolk pines.
1890   A deputation, representing the Napier Borough Council, the HB County Council and the HB Chamber of Commerce put a case for a better road between Napier and Taupo to two visiting members of the Atkinson Ministry who approved some minor alterations.
1890 August Napier public servants started a branch of the new Public Service Association to protect themselves against Government reclassifications and salary cuts.
1890 August The council called a strike as a demonstration of sympathy for an Australian maritime strike. This compelled unionists to persuade employers to pay higher wages etc. and strikes began in September. A rival union was set up, Free Association of Employers and Workmen, which was an attempt to reduce union influence by offering more services to workers. The strikers were defeated by November and all but minor local disputes were ended for decades.
1893   Council borrowed £35,000, £12,000 of which was reserved for parade development and the rest for Breakwater Road, waterworks and drainage.
1893   Glasgow Wharf opened.
1894   A band rotunda was donated and erected in front of the Masonic Hotel (destroyed by the 1931 earthquake).
1894   Robert Lamb designed St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church at the corner of Munroe and Station Streets.
1897 April Worst flood to occur when water covered three-fifths of the Heretaunga Plains.  Much of the railway embankment between Awatoto and Farndon was washed away.
1898 January The borough council passed a bylaw fixing an extra charge of 10d per 1,000 gallons for any consumption of water in excess of 200,000 gallons per half-year.
1898 October The council approved a grant for work on a section of Hastings Street, between Emerson and Tennyson Streets to be tarsealed. The new roadway was completed by December when the council approved further expenditure on tar footpaths for Shakespeare, Fitzroy and Wellesley Roads, Raffles Street and Church Lane.
1899   Council sunk another well and devoted part of a 1904 loan to increases in supply. By 1906 the borough pumping station in Vautier Street had an unlimited supply of excellent water from artesian wells. The water was pumped from the station to the reservoirs at Cameron Road and Bluff Hill.
1899 January A petition was received by council asking for salt and freshwater baths to replace the White Swan Baths which were to be closed.

History: 1900

History: 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1920 | 1940 | 1960

Year Date & Month Event
1900   J H Coleman's offer to pay for new baths provided they were erected on a central site in Herschell Street was not accepted.
1900   A private syndicate was approved a reclamation lease by the Harbour Board of 1,780 acres of the Whare-o-maraenui Block to reclaim land in the Napier South area which was set at £5 a year for the first five years.

A stopbank was built along the borough boundary of Wellesley Road and a channel constructed to take in water from the Tutaekuri River.  To the south a weir was erected near the Taradale Road bridge. Work was delayed due to a run of dry seasons but the natural flow of the river did not prevent silt from settling in the channel and a dredge was used to keep the channel clear and to spread silt over adjoining land. When the land had been covered by silt contractors levelled it and laid out roads which were raised from 18 inches to 3 feet above those of other flat areas in Napier (Munroe, Dickens, Thackeray and Carlyle Streets).
1900   Municipal Corporations Act established a biennial term for councillors and abandoned the system of partial elections although mayors were still to be elected annually.  The Act fixed council and mayoral elections on the same day in April but delayed the introduction of the new system until April 1901.
1902 & 1904   Municipal development of an abattoir at Awatoto (financed by two loans totalling £6,074 in 1902 and 1904). 
1903 January Council included sewer extensions and flushing tanks in a proposed loan programme of £42,500 which was explained to a meeting of ratepayers.

However, a poll of ratepayers held later that month caused the rejection of the loan programme.
1904   Council raised two small loans, one of £2,727 for sanitary purposes and one of £10,000 which included finance for waterworks, the Iron Pot bridge, buildings (fire brigade and morgue) and hospital site improvements.

These loans together with other money raised through rates, mortgages and bank overdrafts financed additional sewerage works which served Napier until the end of the decade.
1907 January The Napier Borough Council approved a joint electricity and tramway scheme. Napier Gas Company's street lighting contract expired in 1909 but was renewed for some years when financial negotiations delayed the installation of electricity.
1908   Council included electricity and tramways (£35,000) in a proposed loan of £100,000 - other projects being road construction (£15,000), sewerage (£40,000) and a rubbish destructor (£10,000).

By June 1909 the loan had risen to £134,250 with £25,000 for a new municipal theatre and £9,250 for parks, boundary roads and a new fire station.

In March 1910 the State Advances Department offered Napier a loan of £35,000 for sewerage works.

The Council borrowed part of its loan money from the State Advances Department and the remainder from the AMP Society.
1908 January Ratepayers approved a loan of £6,000 (later £6,600) to finance the construction of swimming baths. Construction began in November and opened in October 1909 on a site leased from the Napier Harbour Board on the Marine Parade.
1908 March 10 day Napier Carnival took place.
1908 March Napier South reclamation was completed.
1908 April The first Napier South sections were offered at auction (200 sections offered, 31 acres in total area, of which 120 were sold).

The new district provided Napier with two important parks - Nelson Park (20 acres) which the borough council purchased from the syndicate in 1909, and McLean Park (10 acres) which was donated by RDD McLean in memory of his father.
1909   Municipal Baths opened.
1910   Sir Douglas McLean donated land for McLean Park.
1910-1915   Napier gained an improved sewage disposal system. The council adopted G. Midgley Taylor's remedy which was a number of ejector pumps, operated by air pressure generated at a central pumping station, to concentrate sewage at one outlet, the end of the Inner Harbour's Eastern Pier. (After the 1931 earthquake, which raised the floor of the Inner Harbour and reduced the force of the tidal current, sewage accumulated around the harbour entrance, infecting shellfish in the area and some cases of typhoid contracted by people who had eaten mussels taken from a reef about a quarter of a mile from the sewer outfall were reported).

Refuse not suitable for disposal by drainage was collected and taken to the refuse-destructor on the old Recreation Ground.
1911   When Council obtained its loan finance tramway planning began.  From the depot in Faraday Street, trams were to run along Thackeray Street, Dickens Street, Hastings Street, Shakespeare Road, Battery Road and Ossian Street to the Port Ahuriri terminus.

Before construction began, a petition, signed by residents of Hastings Street, the Marine Parade and adjacent roads, asked for the extension of the tramway to the borough boundary via Hastings Street. This extension, debated by councillors for nearly a decade, finally won approval in May 1919 and opened in 1921. The line did not go beyond the railway crossing in Hastings Street.
1911 February The Council appointed an architect to design the new municipal theatre. Clive Square was to be the new site but a group of citizens successfully petitioned Parliament against this as they felt it should remain a park and playground causing the borough council to spend an extra £6,550 in addition to the building which cost nearly £27,000 on the purchase of a site (including Tiffen Park) in Tennyson Street. The opening night was 12 November 1912 and the theatre provided a fine setting for shows etc. until its destruction in 1931.
1912   Construction began of the tramway.
1912   Municipal Theatre opened.
1912   Work began on improvements to the parks in Napier South. At McLean Park two full sized grounds and an uncovered stand seating about 1,000 were ready by 1912 (aided by a generous contribution of nearly £1,000). Raupo swamp still covered about one third of the park.

With a loan of £5,000 raised in 1910-11 and a further £1,631 from the borough general account the council purchased Nelson Park and began to develop it.
1912-1913   The Napier Thirty Thousand Club was founded.  The objects of the group were to promote civic pride and to further the development of agriculture, industry, secondary education, transport and tourism in Hawke's Bay and Napier.

The club raised money for numerous projects including Marine Parade lights and tree-planting along Kennedy Road and its most spectacular entertainment was the Mardi Gras festivals with the first one being held in 1913.
1913   Further loans of £15,000 (tramways) and £10,000 (electricity) were approved by ratepayers.
1913 8 September The tramway and its first five trains were inspected and declared safe for traffic.

On 8 September the opening ceremony was held (the tramway had cost £60,000).
1913 September Napier's municipal electricity supply began to operate but electric street lights did not replace the majority of gas lights until April 1915.
1914   Two more trams joined the service.

The trams showed a modest profit until the 1920s when, in addition to the unsuccessful Hastings Street extension, they suffered from private motor-bus competition.
1914-1915   Council prepared new traffic regulations to deal with the congestion caused by trams, cars, bicycles and motorcycles.
1915   Electric street lights - In addition to the contract of 175 two lamp fittings and 25 four lamp fittings there was a special lighting circuit of four 500 candlepower lamps in Hastings Street, from the corner of Dickens Street to Browning Street. The Napier Thirty Thousand Club donated nine arc lights which were installed on the Marine Parade between the council offices and the baths.

In the period from 1 April 1915 to 31 March 1916 the power station generated 977,413 units for 765 consumers and in 1923-24 the figures had risen to 2,400,000 units for 2,600 customers.
1915 April Napier South (governed by an independent town board since 1908) merged with the borough.

A petition was put forward by 46 Napier South ratepayers in January 1914 which was approved at a poll held in March 1915.

Following official amalgamation three loans were approved in 1916 providing drainage (£14,600), sewer connections (£7,900) and water supply (£14,000).
1916 December The building trade flourished in the years during the war and new buildings including the Hannah premises in Hastings Street, Blythe's Ltd, McGruer & Co (Emerson Street), Everybody's Theatre and the law offices of Carlile, McLean, Scannell and Wood in Herschell Street were built.  In addition the Soldier's Club (later the Spa Hotel) provided a meeting place for servicemen.
1917   Work began on the Swan Memorial Children's Paddling Pool which opened in February 1918.
1918   Park improvements flourished.
1919   At the end of Henry Hill's term as mayor in April 1919 he issued a report on Napier's progress.  Council's loans included a contribution of £7,300 towards the cost of the Westshore Embankment Bridge and among minor public works, George's Drive had been filled in and beautified by trees. The appearance of Park Island Cemetery (purchased by the borough in 1907) had been enhanced by trees, shrubs and entrance gates and steps had been taken to purchase the prison reserve from the Crown and to call together local authorities to begin negotiations with the Government over the proposed development of Lake Waikaremoana for hydro-electric power.

History: 1920

History: 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1920 | 1940 | 1960

Year Date & Month Event
1920   Government and borough funds met the cost of beautifying Nelson Park's eastern boundary which had been selected as a reception area for the Prince of Wales visit.

The prince's visit also aided the beautification of Clive Square with the addition of palms, tress and shrubs of a sub-tropical nature.
1920  April A loan for £290,750 for various purposes including tramway and power plant extensions, Napier South water supply and sewerage, and road works was turned down by ratepayers.
1921   The borough council had to be content with a loan of £14,000 for power-house and tramway extensions in 1921.
1921   Cenotaph was built.
1921   Memorial Square was developed.
1921  January Council passed a by-law prohibiting anyone under 18 years of age from driving a car on a public street and laid down speed limits according to locality.
1922   Three loans were taken out totalling £54,000 - £42,000 to pay off overdrafts, £8,000 for workers' dwellings and £4,000 for Napier South sewer pumps.
1921   Ratepayers supported loan proposals amounting to £147,950 which was required for a changeover of borough electric supply from the direct current system to alternating current, for the Mothers' Rest in Memorial Square; for improvements to Nelson and McLean Parks, the baths, roads, water supply and abattoirs. All these projects were approved at a poll held in September.
1924  April The council, together with the HB County Council and the Taradale Town Board, agreed to form the HB Electric Power Board with eight members drawn from the three convening authorities. This new authority was formed to control the distribution of electricity to local authorities and private consumers.
1924  November Napier celebrated 50 years of municipal government.
1926   John Mason introduced the Napier Harbour Board and Napier Borough Enabling Act to provide the borough with the authority to purchase, reclaim, subdivide and sell 7 acres adjoining the Napier-Taradale Road.
1926   The Coates Government passed the Motor-Omnibus Traffic Act prohibiting bus-tram competition unless the bus fare per section cost at least 2d more than the tram fare.  The Act also created licensing authorities, including the Napier Borough Council. The Council was also required to purchase the Aard service to Port Ahuriri if the company wished to sell.

When the Aard Bus Company did want to sell its buses on the Ahuriri run the Council only bought one of them and was the only local authority in NZ which did not operate an auxiliary motor bus service with its tramways.  Refusal to operate bus services allowed it to phase itself out of the municipal transport business after the tramways closed in 1931.
1926  April Mothers' Rest was opened.
1927   Harbour Board obtained legislative approval for its own reclamation projects including 28 acres between Georges Drive and Taradale Road.
1927   Napier had two royal visitors - The Duke and Duchess of York and the reception area was held at Nelson Park.
1927  July Council raised a loan to extend the water supply to Westshore, then part of the HB County Council, and approved the construction of a 500,000 gallon reservoir (in Cameron Road) early in 1927.
1927 July Vigor Brown told a deputation of Napier unemployed thatouncil introduced a uniform water rate of 1d in the pound. in addition to a loan of £5,240 for Hastings Street roading he intended to raise a loan of £4,225 under the Relief Unemployment Act. He would also keep a register of unemployed so that men could be obtained for borough works.
1928   The board obtained legislative authority to raise a loan for the reclamation of 92 acres of the area now known as Marewa and under this agreement the board was to pay for roads and drains.
1928  March Harbour Board released three blocks (Awatoto, 540 acres; Richmond, 300; and McDonald, 540) for rural settlement.
1929  March Council introduced a uniform water rate of 1d in the pound.
1930  July The Treasury granted the council permission to raise three loans - £13,300 for bitumen paving, £12,150 for water supply, £29,000 for the erection of new buildings on the Market Reserve block. Council found it difficult to raise the money though and eventually obtained a promise of funds for the Market Reserve project which was approved by ratepayers in December 1930.  Tenders for the building were called in January 1931 but the earthquake delayed its construction.
 1931  3 February Earthquake and fire devastate Napier.
 1931   Only a few buildings survived the earthquake - the Public Trust Office, Dalgety's Building (Dalton & Dickens Street) and the Hawke's Bay Motor Company Building (Dickens Street).
 1931  3 February With the aid of the Red Cross, dressing stations were established at Nelson Park, Clive Square, McLean Park, Fox's house at Awatoto and Napier Park racecourse.
 1931   Food Depot was established at the Hastings Street school.
 1931   The marines and naval working parties carried out numerous important tasks, in particular, repairs to the water supply system. This work continued until the cruisers left Napier on 11-12 February.
 1931   Controls were necessary and people were forbidden to use their water closets before the sewers were reconnected. They had to use buckets and bury their sewage in the ground until a night soil service began on 14 February. These regulations together with constant medical supervision prevented all but a few cases of diphtheria and typhoid. 
 1931   Camp was set up at Nelson Park by the New Zealand Defence Forces where tents and cookhouses were erected and water was piped from an artesian well in the park to cookhouses and wash stands.  Drains and latrines were dug.  This was known as Napier's Evacuation Centre.
 1931   Food was distributed by the Salvation Army to depots at Clive Square, Thompson Road, Napier South, Westshore, Napier Terrace, Port Ahuriri, Greenmeadows and Taradale.
 1931   Apart from cracks, fissures and slips the roads stayed open and motor transport played a vital part in restoring communications.
 1931  4 February A meeting of citizens, local administrators and Government officials discussed a substitute for the temporarily shattered structure of municipal government.  This meeting formed the Napier Citizens' Control Committee which formed eight subordinate committees dealing with sanitation, demolition, food distribution, medicine, evacuation, identification and burial of casualties, and traffic control. The organisation handled Napier's affairs until March 1931.
 1931   The Napier Citizens' Control Committee set about restoring the borough services immediately.

Water - As an emergency measure, 400-gallon tanks, mounted on lorries, were filled from the artesian wells at McLean Park. The lorries maintained a supply of water to barrels and tanks at various prominent places were householders collected it in jugs, buckets and other containers. This service remained in place while artesian wells and pipelines at McLean Park, together with the pump house in Dalton Street and the reservoir in Thompson Road were repaired.

Sewerage - Prior to the earthquake Napier had depended upon a system of centrifugal pumps or pneumatic ejectors to raise the sewage from the flat areas of Napier to the outlet tanks. These ceased to work when the electricity supply was cut off and the sewers which had run from south to north were flattened or lowered by the uplift of land in the opposite direction. At Napier South, sewers were blocked when river silt was forced through cracks in their pipe joints. On the hills, damage was less severe but all pipes needed repairs.  After inspections it was decided to abandon nearly all sewers in the central business district and the flat areas. Some were converted to stormwater drains. The same general design was used for the new sewers, however, they were laid under footpaths instead of under the centre of roads. In addition, some pumping stations were re-sited and some ejector stations replaced by pumping stations.

Electricity - After inspection on 4 February it was found that the main feeders, erected with steel poles and towers, had suffered very little damage. On the evening of 4 February Napier received power from Mangahao and on the following morning sewerage pumps were working again. The steel transmission towers from Waikaremoana to Napier also avoided serious harm and after two towers, damaged by slips, had been repaired Napier received power, at 11,000 volts, from Waikaremoana on the weekend of 7-8 February.  The power board resupplied diary farms and hospitals and county councils in the Wellington area sent portable lighting sets for temporary hospitals at Hastings and the Napier Park racecourse.
 1931   Official evacuation began when the Mayor of Palmerston North said that his borough's relief centre would look after 5,000 refugees.
 1931   The Daily Telegraph produced a news bulletin on 4 February by using Ball and Company's job printing office in Dalton Street.  Afterwards the company moved to Te Awa School, then to the Vulcan Foundry in Hastings Street, were it remained until its premises were rebuilt in Tennyson Street.
 1931  6 February Post Office moved from its first temporary premises at the railway station to the nearby Hawke's Bay Farmers' building where it remained until 2 March, when it joined the telegraph office in the Hastings Street school.
 1931   An organisation (Earthquake Relief Committee) was formed to deal with the re-occupation of damaged houses.  First, the Earthquake Relief Committee allocated funds, not exceeding £100 per householder, for repairs to private homes.  After April 1931 this organisation worked with the Rehabilitation Committee which included engineers and officials from Napier and other centres.  If a householder required aid he filled in a form setting out the amount of damage together with an estimate of repair costs approved by a reputable builder.  This estimate was checked by a building inspector and if approved the Relief Committee was notified and when the work had been passed the committee paid for it.  In addition, each house had one chimney repaired free of charge.  Many people were reluctant to move back into their homes and stayed in tents in Nelson Park.  The Rehabilitation Committee complied a list of all tent-dwellers together with their previous addresses.  Dwellings at these addresses were checked and prepared for re-occupation and if they were wrecked other homes were found and tent-dwellers were asked to leave the park.

The Relief Committee's money came from a fund of £387,000 (£400,000 with interest), the result of a nation-wide appeal on behalf of the Hawke's Bay Earthquake Relief.  3,229 houses were repaired or rebuilt at a total cost of £127,000.
 1931   Businesses and retail shopping began to operate again in the central business area.

Three weeks after the earthquake the Government gave a loan of £10,000 for the erection of temporary business premises in Clive Square (32 shops) and Memorial Square (22 shops).  Occupants were selected by ballot and "Tin Town" (nicknamed because of the wooden frames and corrugated iron roofs) opened on 16 March. Nearby on the corner of Munroe and Dickens Streets a temporary office block for the Associated Banks (New Zealand, Union, Australasia, National, Commercial and New South Wales) was erected being the first temporary building to appear after the earthquake.
 1931  March The Citizens' Control Committee disbanded but the borough council did not regain its former powers.

On March 11, the council's functions and duties were delegated to a Government Commission of two men - John S Barton (a magistrate) and Lachlan B Campbell (inspecting engineer to the Public Works Department).  The commission's powers were confirmed by the Hawke's Bay Earthquake Act, although the borough council continued to exist as a legal body.
 1931 April Hawke's Bay Earthquake Act was passed and an Adjustment Court and Rehabilitation Committee appointed.

£1,500,000 was granted to the province (£1,250,000 reserved for private relief and £250,000 for local bodies).

Requests for loans far exceeded the money available and so the Rehabilitation Committee placed restrictions on all funds.  All national or international firms were required to finance their own reconstruction and all firms unable to prove their solvency on the day of the earthquake were debarred from assistance.  When the committee distributed funds it made some gifts but preferred to retain control through loans which were issued on the security of mortgages and first debentures over the entire property of the recipient leaving no security for the purchase of stock.
 1931  July The Napier Reconstruction Committee, an organisation with representatives from local authorities, business and the professions was formed to investigate reconstruction needs, in particular, the replacement or re-establishment of public, private or government institutions or departments, businesses and industries, street widening, town planning,  building locations and architectural designs.

With the aid of the committee's advice, the commissioners adopted pre-earthquake plans for the widening of Tennyson and Dickens Streets, together with service lanes connecting Emerson Street with Tennyson and Dickens Streets (service lanes provided off-street loading zones).  Water mains were laid underneath the lanes to provide another point of supply against fires.  All power and telephone cables were laid underneath the footpaths.
 1932   Work began on the Auditorium (later a skating rink).
 1932   Municipal reconstruction - The commissioners relied on loans from the State Advances Corporation (£101,200 by December 1932, Napier's share of the money granted by the Hawke's Bay Earthquake Act) together with a public debenture issue (£30,000, opened in November 1932) and a loan of £30,000 from the AMP Society.  They also used the balance of old unexpended loans in the hands of the borough before the earthquake.

In August 1931 tenders were called for the Market Reserve Building approved by ratepayers in 1930 and the building was completed in June 1932.
 1932   The Napier Aero Club, formed in 1929, obtained from the Napier Harbour Board a lease of 105 acres along the Napier-Westshore embankment.  This land required extensive drainage and roadworks before any facilities could be installed.  Drains, roads and weirs (to trap the tidal silt) were built and a hangar and training glider.
 1932  March Nineteen shops in Hastings Street and Tennyson Street were ready for occupation.
 1932  December The Masonic Hotel opened for bar trade.
 1933   A survey of retailers in Hastings, Emerson, Dalton, Tennyson and Market Streets showed that 108 shops had been completed and occupied, while 21 were unoccupied and 43 not completed.
 1933   After the earthquake new building regulations encouraged changes in design.  Heavy decorated parapets, fluted Greek columns and brick Gothic gables disappeared and architects relied on clean-cut horizontal roof lines, long rows of windows and plain vertical lines.
 1933    At Port Ahuriri reconstruction centred on factories, warehouses, woolstores and wharves.  At West Quay part of the wharf collapsed.  The earthquake opened up huge crevasses along roads with a foundation of reclamation fill.  The Iron Pot wharves also suffered badly.  As the wooden pedestrian bridge from West Quay to Meeanee Quay had been destroyed, Westshore residents relied on a motor launch service, which ran until 1935 from the Iron Pot to Meeanee Quay.  When repaired the footbridge survived until its replacement by Pandora Bridge in 1961.
 1933   Engineers diverted the Tutaekuri River to a new course with a sea entrance at Waitangi to reduce the danger of floods.  This scheme completed in 1936 together with 7,000 acres of the lagoon area which rose by about five feet due to the earthquake and a further 2,700 acres also improved by the earthquake provided a massive new area of land for housing and industry.
 1933   The Athenaeum building (1885) on the corner of Browning and Herschell Streets was demolished.  As council could not afford a new library the Athenaeum Library was transferred to the Market Reserve Building where it remained until 1971.
 1933   Clive and Memorial Squares were remodelled.

At Clive Square, palms were replanted and limestone rocks used as protection borders for flower beds.  When the band rotunda was donated to Westshore a goldfish-lily pond was built in its place.
 1933  April Borough regained its full municipal powers.
 1933  4 May Elections to the borough council.
 1933  November The council voted against a return to trams in the near future.
 1934   It was approved that all previous loans be made into one consolidated loan at a lower rate of interest (£805,700 at 4¼%).
 1934   Harbour development took place from 1934 onwards where extensions to the breakwater mole provided more shelter for two new wharves, the Geddis (1939) and the Herrick (1943). After trade increased during the early 1950s, the harbour board provided a new wharf, Higgins Wharf, in place of the old Glasgow Wharf demolished in 1956. The Higgins Wharf, opened in 1960, was reserved for imports of phosphates, coal, sulphur and timber releasing other wharf space for exports of meat, butter, fruit and wool.
 1934   The borough's Parks and Reserves Department, aided by a Government subsidy for relief work, began the beautification of the parade.  The Thirty Thousand Club provided funds for the Sound Shell (1935) and the outer Colonnade and together with borough council funds the club contributed to the Sun Bay.

South of the Sound Shell an outer sea wall was built faced with concrete and a promenade built above this wall to protect the recreation area where a putting green, basketball courts, tennis courts and a Mardi Gras area were laid out.
 1934  April The Harbour Board agreed to lease a block of 475 acres, now known as Marewa, to the council. Of this area, 18 acres were set aside as park land and 40 acres as a plantation for pines, macrocarpas, gums and wattles. Under the lease the council was responsible for road formation and surveying sections which the board was to lease for 21 year terms. Development began in July 1934 with the construction of a bridge over the old Tutaekuri River bed and extensions to Kennedy and Taradale Roads.
 1934  December The bridge across the old Tutaekuri River bed was completed and 50 sections were offered for lease, 25 of these sections were situated on the north-western side of the Kennedy Road extension and 25 on Taradale Road opposite the present day Fire Station area (then known as League Park). By May 1935 when all the sections had been leased plans were made for houses.  Later council completed the development of the northern end of Marewa, between Kennedy and Taradale Roads, where a few freehold sections were available.
 1935   The HB Art Society received a nominal lease of a portion of the Athenaeum Reserve from the borough council and began a fund-raising drive for a new art gallery and museum. In July 1935 the first foundation stone was laid and the gallery opened in 1936 and the central block in 1938.
 1935   East Coast Airways (Gisborne) commenced its Gisborne-Napier service. The same year an Act of Parliament constituted the Napier Airport Board as the governing body of the airport which became the property of the borough of Napier. When the airport changed hands its facilities included two large hangars, maintenance gear, petrol pumps, electricity, water and gas. After the transfer the aerodrome was brought up to Civil Aviation Authority requirements and while this work was being carried out it was necessary to provide an alternative landing ground for the town and so a lease of the area know known as the Beacons was obtained. The Beacons was chosen as Napier's chief airport (as the site offered more space for future development) and the embankment airport remained the centre of Napier Aero Club activities until the outbreak of war in 1939 when all local airport authorities went into recess.
 1935   Interest payments on earthquake loans were waived for three years and after 1935 the Labour Government made further concessions to earthquake borrowers. In August 1937, all interest payments were waived with only the principal having to be repaid and finally in January 1938 the Government remitted its £101,200 earthquake loan to the Napier Borough Council together with some private loans.
 1935   Duke of Gloucester's visit.
 1935 October Council discontinued tram services permanently, a decision confirmed by an Order-in-Council of March 1936. The last tram rails were lifted from Napier streets in June 1937.
1935 -1939   Napier enjoyed a minor building boom. Among the new buildings erected were the T&G Building, a new telephone exchange, the HB Art Gallery and Museum and the NZ Shipping Company's wool store at Port Ahuriri.
 1936   Labour Government began its state housing programme and paid £11,000 for another portion of Marewa, south of Kennedy Road, along the old bed of the Tutaekuri River.
 1936   Napier received the coloured fountain as a gift which became a popular attraction.
 1937   The Government established a special housing department (Housing Construction Branch of the State Advances Corporation) and at Napier this organisation worked with the borough council on the development of Marewa.
 1937   Construction began on the new theatre which had been designed in September 1935 to meet the council's estimate of £15,000.
 1937   The council leased Kennedy Park (3 acres) in 1937.  Becoming a popular camping ground.
 1937  March Government planned its lagoon settlement project designed for 300 families.  Reclamation was supervised by the Small Farms Board together with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Lands and Survey and began when eleven miles of stop-banks were built to protect the flats against floods from neighbouring hills. Then pumping stations removed surface water. In March 1937 1,000 ewes became the first stock to graze on the former lagoon and two years later 1,060 acres of reclaimed land, in pasture or crops, supported 7,860 sheep and 34 cattle.
 1938  June The new theatre was completed at a cost of £8,000 above the 1935 estimate as building costs had increased
 1938  July Council completed its extensions to Kennedy Road, including another bridge.
 1938  December Additional tenders were secured for state houses and by April 1939 17 new houses had been built at Marewa.  Napier needed 500 more.
 1939   The Government approved the construction of 197 houses and work began on 134 of these houses during the years 1939-40 but war shortages delayed further housing progress until 1943-45.
 1939  September War broke out and Napier had began preparations for a volunteer reserve as early as April.
 1939  December Napier's quota of men for the First Echelon were farewelled.
 1930s   Important years of development for Napier's parks and reserves.

Nelson and McLean Parks were carefully drained and re-sown and returned to their pre-1931 quality.

At Port Ahuriri, the borough council began to reclaim the South Pond area (approx. 20 acres) in return for the transfer of 9½ acres as a recreation reserve to the council. By May 1945 the council had prepared enough ground for one football field.

History: 1940

History: 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1920 | 1940 | 1960

Year Date & Month Event
1940 July The "Increased Production Scheme" commenced at Napier at the request of the Government.  The scheme was run by a committee with representatives from the borough council and other organisations.  Unemployed men were used to produce vegetables and test crops of seeds and, in addition, the committee gathered information to aid the process of post-war development of agriculture, industry and rehabilitation.  At its peak the Scheme covered up to 35 acres and 40 men.  The sale of produce went to the Patriotic Society's fund apart from a donation to the winter garden and war memorial funds.
1942   Kennedy Park, with a further 14½ acres, was purchased by the council in 1942.
1942   Westshore was incorporated in Napier.
1942 September The Harbour Board announced plans for a settlement, with sections on perpetual lease, on land adjoining the borough.  This proposal did not win council approval and for the next three years Napier's expansion was negotiated between board and council.
1943 December Talks began between the harbour board and the borough council concerning the acquisition of land for expansion.
1945   Marewa became part of the borough and its roads (previously the responsibility of the HB County Council) required new kerbing, channelling and tar-sealing.  Finance came from special rates on Marewa property until 1950, when it became part of Napier's general rate.
1945 May The harbour board agreed to the borough council's proposals.  This agreement confirmed by legislation in 1945 released 1,065 acres of board land (now the suburbs of Onekawa and Pirimai) for housing under council control.  Under its provisions, the council, in return for its development of the area, had the right to sell eight out of every ten sections freehold and the harbour board, with its two sections out of every ten, was to rent its land on 21-year leases.

Besides the new land in Napier South, a block of 367 acres, situated between the embankment and the present day Hyderbad Road-Pandora Road highway to Westshore, was reserved for future industrial development.
1945 November The harbour board subdivided a 28 acre block at Marewa and auctioned 21 freehold sections.

The Government began negotiations for the purchase of 195 acres between Latham Street and the Napier Boys' High School.
1946   The removal of old Pandora Point to make way for a straightened section of Hyderabad Road between the council's tar works and Port Ahuriri.
1949 January The first sections in the new suburb of Onekawa were sold to home-builders and a year later over 100 sections (in a settlement of approx. 950 sites) were ready for buildings with the first dozen being occupied and many more well on the way to completion.

The Roman Catholic Church purchased a site in Riverbend Road for a school (St Patrick's Boys' College) and land was set aside for a primary school (Onekawa 6 acres), parks and recreation grounds (25 acres).  In later years, two more schools, Colenso High School and Wycliffe Intermediate School, were founded in the area.
1950   Napier was proclaimed a city.
1950   A loan of £9,200 was raised by the council and merged with a donation of £2,000 for the installation of tepid heating machinery at the Marine Parade baths together with repairs to the building and its hot salt water baths.  These alterations were completed in 1951.
1951 June After June 1951 housing for the aged began to improve when the Napier Old Folks' Association opened a hall on the corner of Vautier and Dalton Streets.  Four years later, the Salvation Army opened Hillcrest in Lincoln Road for 30 elderly men.  Two years after Hillcrest opened the city council built four pensioner flats on the corner of Munroe and Hastings Streets.

A self-contained community of 44 flats on a site in Riverbend Road was planned by the Napier Town Planner in conjunction with the NZ Institute of Architects when a gift of £20,000 was received for pensioner housing along with £20,000 from the Council and a government subsidy of £40,000.  This number grew to 80 by 1962.

24 flats were built in Morris Spence Avenue for pensioners after another bequest of £75,000 was left to the Napier and District Masonic Trust for charitable purposes.
1954   Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited Napier.
1954 June Pania of the Reef was unveiled which was a gift from the Thirty Thousand Club.
1954 October The East Coast Farmers' Fertilizer Company began production at Awatoto.  Farmer-shareholders backed by loans from the NZ Meat Board and the Bank of New Zealand raised the money to found the company in 1950-51.
1955   Negotiations were completed by the Housing Divsion of the Ministry of Works to purchase freehold and leasehold interests in the Richmond Block (harbour board property in the HB County).  These negotiations provided a new residential area of 235 acres with nearly 900 sections available for an estimated 4,000 people.

Afterwards the city council accepted the ministry's proposal to develop the block in stages and under this agreement the council was to pay two-sevenths of servicing costs and the ministry the rest.  This lowered the council's costs to £150 per section, compared with £400 for Onekawa and £300 for Westshore's roading and kerbing.
1955   At Kennedy Park, a five-year plan provided accommodation for 1,500 people, tar-sealed driveways and a new main entrance at Storkey Street, electric light, a playing area, paddling pool and amenities block.

Along Georges Drive the council's reserve staff cleared the old riverbed, levelled and grassed its banks and trees and shrubs were planted along the strip (30 acres in area and 2 miles in length).
1955   The Napier Skating Club opened its rink with the help of the council.
1955 March A floral clock, which was a gift, was installed on a site between the baths and the Tom Parker Fountain near the War Memorial, then under construction, in March 1955.
1955   The Local Government Loans Board authorised a council loan of £101,000 for roading, sewerage, drainage and other services in the new suburb which had been named Maraenui.
1956   Marine Parade area was renovated.
1957   Council acquired Whitmore Park (20 acres).
1957 March The Beacons was confirmed as Hawke's Bay's airport.  The Napier City Council shared airport costs with the Government with the council's main contribution being a £15,000 terminal building ready for occupation by 1960.
1957 April Council installed a trial group of meters in the Tiffen Park reserve.
1957 June The Government provided additional finance for the development of Maraenui state housing and group housing.
1957 July War Memorial opened.
1958   An Onekawa block (284 acres, west of Taradale Road), zoned for light industry and warehouses, became part of Napier City.
1958   An aquarium was installed in the War Memorial basement.
1958   Hawke's Bay celebrated its provincial centennial and to mark the occasion Napier and other districts established a fund for a future university of Hawke's Bay.
1958   Queen Mother's visit.
1958 May Council approved a by-law establishing meters as a form of city traffic control.
1959   The Napier Centennial Committee, with council approval, raised £40,000 for an indoor sports stadium called Centennial Hall, at McLean Park.  It opened in 1959.
1959 February Colenso High School opened.

History: 1960

History: 1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1890 | 1900 | 1920 | 1940 | 1960

Year Date & Month Event
1961   Parks and Reserves staff began development of Onekawa Park (20 acres) previously used as grazing land and as a rubbish dump.
1961   Due to local controversy over airport sites the Government, in 1961, appointed an Airport Inquiry Committee to hear submissions by the city councils of Hastings and Napier.  The inquiry committee decided in favour of the Beacons due to its established facilities, reliable weather conditions and lower development costs.  Its report issued in June 1961 also recommended the construction of a Napier-Hastings motorway to provide rapid access from Hastings to the airport.
1961 January Council obtained some of the serviced state sections at Maraenui for private sale.
1961-1962   Housing developments included a block of 80 sections in the former League Park area (now Veronica and Morgan Avenues) and a 406 acre suburb, Pirimai.
1962   Housing conditions improved in Napier with 219 housing-building permits issued in contrast to 144 in 1961.  The next six years, Napier builders were busy as families moved into the new housing areas of Onekawa South, Maraenui and Pirimai.
1962   Council raised an eight-year loan of £27,500 to build 16 motel flats at Kennedy Park.  Private enterprise objected to the flats as they were unfair competition and the dispute became a matter for the law courts.  In March 1964 the Supreme Court ruled that the council was not empowered to erect, conduct, operate or maintain motels at Kennedy Park.  A big blow to the council as they had built 35 motel flats.  However, in September 1964 a bill was passed which empowered the council to run motels at the Park.
1962   Council acquired an area of 88 acres from the Napier Park Racing Club for a park and named it Anderson Park.  In 1963 a bequest of £20,000 was given to the council to establish the J N Anderson Family Endowment Fund for tree planting.  Council used this money to develop Anderson Park.
1962   Council subdivided a block of 80 acres, west of the Disabled Servicemen's Centre in Taradale Road and reserved 320 acres between Hyderabad Road and the Westshore Embankment Road for industrial businesses.
1962 June The council decided to build a swimming complex at Onekawa Park.
1964 February After approval of the Beacons, the HB Airport Authority built a new runway (4,300 feet) and it was officially opened in February 1964.
1964 July Work had began on the first dolphin pool at Marineland.
1965   Heated learners' pool opened at the Onekawa Park complex.
1965   Manchester Unity building emerged as Emerson Street's first large construction project for some twenty years.
1965   Council applied for an extension of the city boundaries to include 596 acres in the Wharerangi area and proposed a merger with Taradale.  The two councils discussed merger proposals during 1966-67 but a poll was delayed until 1968.
1965 March New cathedral for the Anglican church was completed.
1966   Council acquired 6 acres for a park area and named it Pirimai Park.
1966   Main outdoor pool at the Onekawa Park Complex opened.
1967   The harbour board opened a new wharf, named after Alex Kirkpatrick.
1968   The Marine Parade's tennis courts were demolished and new courts built at Onekawa Park to make way for a sunken garden with a water wheel and sculpture.
1968   Towards the end of 1968 the harbour board received authority to raise $7.5 million for the provision of a safe all weather port.  Scheduled for completion by 1975, this programme included dredging, reclamation, a 1,200 foot extension to the breakwater, wharf extensions and a $2 million western breakwater.
1968   Towards the end of 1968 the harbour board received authority to raise $7.5 million for the provision of a safe all weather port.  Scheduled for completion by 1975, this programme included dredging, reclamation, a 1,200 foot extension to the breakwater, wharf extensions and a $2 million western breakwater.
1968 1 April Taradale residents approved amalgamation with Napier and Napier gained over 1,000 acres in 1968.  The official amalgamation took place on 1 April.
1968 September Napier celebrated the opening of the Civic Administration Centre in the Civic Block bounded by Station, Vautier and Hastings Streets.  Plans for the Civic Centre began in 1958 but was delayed for two years due to conflicting proposals for a suitable site.  In May 1960 the present site was agreed on.

In 1960 the council raised a loan of $180,000 for the widening of Dalton Street and the purchase of the Civic Centre site and to finance construction the council raised a further loan of $560,000 followed by a supplementary loan of $56,000.
1969   The Planetarium was built.
1971   65 acres of mainly residential land on Taradale's northern and western boundaries were transferred from the Hawke's Bay County to Napier City.
1971   The "Spirit of Napier" statue was erected.
1971   Indoor pool at the Onekawa Park complex opened.
1972   Princess Alexandra Community Hospital in Battery Road was opened.
1973 August Prolonged negotiations between Napier City and Hawke's Bay County Councils led to a final agreement on an area of 1,565 acres on the Wharerangi hills, west of Wharerangi Road to be developed for settlement (lapsed).
1973   The new outfall with a comminutor station and pipeline was opened at Awatoto after two years of ardous work and unexpected delays.

History: 2000

History: 2000 | 2010 | 2015 |

Year Date and month Event
2003 - 2005  

The Centennial Hall underwent a major two-year redevelopment in 2003 and was also re-named the Rodney Green Centennial Event Centre.  For more information see the History section on the Rodney Green Event Centre page on our website.

2006   Battered by a run of particularly heavy swells, the Jull Wharf catwalk was closed off in August 2004. The catwalk, which skirted a section of the Iron Pot in Napier's Inner Harbour, provided berthage for up to 10 boats.
Some years earlier, vehicle access to the wharf had been closed off because of the wharf's unsafe condition.
The original wharf and catwalk were demolished in 2006 and work undertaken on limestone armouring on the batter face and installing a 50-metre floating pontoon providing 10 berths.
The project cost about $550,000.

2005 - 2006   Prebensen Drive was extended to provide a western corridor arterial for traffic traveling between the city, Greenmeadows and Taradale.
The Council landscaped the well-used route, planting the full-length of Prebensen Drive as an avenue flanked by palm trees. The extended section of road also includes a cycle/walkway - part of the Napier Pathway network.

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