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Napier Rebuilt

'Rebuilt with 'Compassion, Efficiency, Dedication and Vision...'

Napier Rebuilt Sculpture.

The artwork is a tribute to the four architects who were charged with designing the buildings in the city after the 1931 earthquake in Napier. The panels also show the different styles used by the architects even though they were supposed to have designed a common theme for the city.

The names of the architects are etched in the panels along with the styles that they favoured. The Art Deco style was favoured by E.A Williams, Finch & Westerholm preferred the Spanish Mission them, Natusch & Sons work reflected the growing modern movement and J A Louis Hay was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Interwoven throughout in these panels are the designs and motifs that were drawn from the traditional Ngati Kahungunu designs.

The total cost of the public art was about $65,500 that includes the artwork $45,500, plaques $5,000, bollards $8,000, lighting $4,000 and engineering & consent $3,000. The artist and designer was Jacob Scott and the artwork was installed in April 2009.

Panel 1 is a tribute to those architects and tradesmen who rebuilt the city after the devastating 1931 earthquake "It's a story of a rebuild in the face of adversity. Rebuilding was an immense task, the Napier Borough Council delegated its powers to two-men, John Saxon Barton, an accountant, barrister and magistrate and Lachlan Bain Campbell, an engineer who set about putting Napier back on its feet. "History records these commissioners as a couple of dictators who got on with the job - today we are plagued with bureaucratic red tape with compliance to be achieved in every direction."

Campbell and Barton pulled together the 6 architect firms in Napier to rebuild the city This artwork celebrates these people. Their effort and vision in the face of adversity has left Napier one of the most revered art deco cities in the world and provided the people of today not only with an economic treasure but a place they can enjoy themselves. Panel 2 recognises the beauty of this land and the rich Maori culture which underpins Aotearoa. Napiers architecture can be seen as an innovative response that has risen to the occasion utilising the collaborative effort and skills of tradesmen and craftspeople using the technology of the time.

Panel 2 is about Ruamoko - the god of earthquakes, it acknowledges the power of the Atua and the histories of this land. The pou remind us of Tane, god of the forests, light and knowledge and Tangaroa god of the sea. Papatuanuku, the earth mother and Ranginui the sky father are also acknowleged by the pou.


The Builders

That day when Ruamoko shook with anger - Breaking open the ocean's heaving basket, Splitting apart the walls of earth and rock And tearing down our city's living heart

Was the same day their vision was conceived - To build a new city from the ruins of the old. We peer back through the glass of time to glimpse A scene of devastation - shadows stumbling

Through a shattered streetscape, visitors frozen in shock, People searching for loved ones buried in rubble Some of them weeping, others blindly digging, Hundreds doing whatever they could to assist

But more powerful than the wrath of Ruamoko The idea of rebuilding had already formed In the minds of those ones with the courage to start again Whom we honour with our lives by living here -

Two men were picked to get rebuilding started - John Saxton Barton, accountant and barrister And Lachlan Bain Campbell the engineer - For the next two years those two made the decisions.

Their work is recorded in our history books The city centre fenced off for reconstruction, A new centre for commerce made in Tin Town, Builders and architects working as one team.

Eyes may glaze over as we scan the pages But we should never forget what they created. Call it Art Deco, call it Spanish Mission, Call them the settlers, call them Kahungunu

Call this New Zealand, call it Aotearoa - They gifted to each of us a better future - Building with all the power of purpose and chance A new place for all of our people to dance.

poem by BILL SUTTON 2009.

Panel 1Panel 2
Acknowleges John Saxton Barton and Lachlan Bain Campbell and the 6 architectual firms who designed the new town. Their vision in the face of adversity is an inspiration. They collaborated with tradesmen and craftspeople using technologies and ideas of the time and together they got on with the job of rebuilding in style and in record time. Acknowledges our culture and climate that makes this beautiful place that we live in. These men recognised the richness and vibrancy that already exists here with our Maori culture and flora and fauna. They responded by producing work that celebrates this and established Napier as one of the most revered places in the world.
Panel 3The Pou
Acknowledges Ruamoko the god of earthquakes, the youngest of the family of Atua who can be bad tempered. When Papatuanuku, the earth mother cannot sing him to sleep he sometimes shows us some of his power. He can shake the earth or fire up a volcano. At 10.47am on the 3rd february 1931 Ruamoko gave Napier a devastating shake The Pou are a tribute to some of the other Atua who each play a part in our daily lives. Tane, Ra, Tangaroa, Ra, Ranginui, Rongo, Tawhirimatea, Whero, and the others.

Napier Rebuilt images

Napier Rebuilt Location Map


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