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Tom Parker Fountain

The Tom Parker Fountain from a distance.With its kaleidoscopic play of colourful lights and jets of water, this fountain is among Napier's most popular Art Deco landmarks. It often features in period-style photo shots and video footage.

The fountain was officially opened on the night before Christmas Eve in 1936. Having gone through the Depression, locals and visitors alike were drawn to this visual treat, particularly after dusk when the coloured lights transformed the attraction into a magical sight.

Its donor was the owner of a men's outfitters shop in Hastings Street. Tom Parker was a colourful Napier character who made many gifts to worthy causes and to the city.

On one of his regular visits to Britain, he was impressed by a modern illuminated fountain in Bournemouth. Returning to Napier, he donated £1000 for a similar fountain, which was designed by Napier architect J T Watson and built on Marine Parade on an area previously occupied by a children's playground.

The fountain was powered by a General Electric Company Novalux 15 Projector electric motor imported from the USA.

When it plays, the fountain's kaleidoscopic changes of coloured lights are synchronised with the sequences of the water jets.

The council redeveloped the remaining play area north of the fountain as lawns and gardens to match those south of the water feature. Beneath this area lies the rubble of the old Napier destroyed in the 1931 earthquake.

The fountain first played at its dedication, at 8:30pm on 23 December 1936, and it has continued to do so apart from the war and immediate post-war years when it was turned on for special occasions only. The total cost of the project, including the surrounding landscaping, was almost £3,500.

Hours of operation

The fountain plays seven days a week.

  • During the day (8:00am to 8:00pm), it works on a single low pressure pump and the outer jets.
  • At night (8:00pm to midnight), both high and low pressure pumps are in action for a full water and lighting sequence.
  • The fountain shuts down completely from midnight to 8:00am.


Tom Parker Fountain Location Map

Marine Parade Gardens, Marine Parade.


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