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Napier's Memorials

Napier has many memorials, each with its own unique story.


butcher gateway 1A brick and timber pergola-style entrance.


Presented to the citizens of Napier by C G Butcher Esq, Napier City Councillor 1944-1948.


At the Tom Parker Avenue entrance to Marewa Park.

Napier Hill

bluff 3During World War II and for a few years after hostilities ended, this lookout was occupied by 77 Battery 10 Coast Regiment NZA.

The Battery manned two 6-inch guns in concrete emplacements built on a strategic site offering commanding views of Hawke Bay - the highest point of the Bluff Hill Domain, above the Port of Napier.

The gunners' barracks were located behind the Battery. A plaque, with the following inscription, records the army's presence on the site.


Bluff Hill Lookout in Memory of F B and L W Eastwood whose generous donation enabled the Napier City Council to undertake this development so citizens and visitors can enjoy the panorama of Hawke's Bay. These enclosures are built on the remnants of two World War II gun emplacements. October 1989


Bluff Hill Lookout

tiffen 1Napier Borough Council purchased the Tiffen Estate and house in 1907 to provide a site for the Municipal Theatre, which opened in 1912.

The house was the home of Henry Stokes Tiffen, a well-known identity in Napier's early history. It stood on the area now occupied by the upper level car park on the Napier Hill end of Dalton Street.

The steps and flanking pillars are at the foot of a path that leads to the wooded upper slopes of Tiffen Park. Winding paths are a feature of this reserve.

The entrance was built using a bequest of £880 in 1940 by Mary Smith. It was opened in December 1954.


This entrance to Tiffen Park was a bequest to the city by the late Miss Mary Alexander Smith of Napier.


Tiffen Park, Dalton Street, at the foot of Napier Hill.

Napier South

clive flood 2Prominently sited on Marine Parade, this stone monument is a poignant memorial to a heroic enterprise that ended in tragedy.

In April 1897, flood covered over three-fifths of the Heretaunga Plains, spilling out as far north as Napier and beyond. Water was 600mm deep in Carlyle Street.

Ten men set out in boats to rescue people stranded in Clive but were caught in a river washout, swept out to sea and drowned.


This monument was erected by the people of Napier to commemorate a deed of heroism by which ten men lost their lives on Good Friday, 16 April 1897, in attempting to rescue the flooded out settlers of Clive.

Arthur McCartney
John Rose
John Prebble
Alfred Stephenson
Henry Brierly
Frederick Cassin
Herbert G Oborn
Florence O'Donovan
George Chambers
Frederick James Ansell

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.


Marine Parade, opposite Ocean Spa complex.

coker gates 6Creating a majestic approach at the northwest end of Nelson Park, these expansive gates are a focal point for a short approach road flanked by towering Canary Island Palms.

The gates comprise eight capped columns of limestone rock, linked by vertical metal railings. Set forward of the other six columns, the two centre columns are each topped with a grand light fitting that speaks eloquently of early 20th century craftsmanship.


Coker Memorial Gates 1921 Presented by W Coker in memory of Pte Arthur Coker 4th Bridge NZEF who fell at Passchendaele in the Great War 1914-1918.


Kennedy Road side of Nelson Park.

harvey gates 6A like design to the Coker Memorial Gates at the opposite end of Nelson Park, the Harvey Memorial Gates were built eight years later in 1929.

At the end of a short avenue of mature Canary Island Palms, they provide an equally majestic approach to the sportsground.

As with the Coker Memorial Gates, these comprise eight limestone columns linked by vertical metal railings. An elaborate light fixture sits atop each of the two centre columns flanking the drive into the park.

The Harvey Memorial Gates were gifted by the family of Thomas Harvey to commemorate Thomas Harvey, a police officer who was based at the Napier port in the 1880s.

Constable Harvey retired in 1901 and died 18 months later.


Latham Street end of Nelson Park.

anchor 3Napier was the ship's adopted home port during its service with the Royal New Zealand Navy 1970-97. The anchor's location on Marine Parade reflects its connection with the city and with the sea.


This anchor, from the former oceanographic research vessel HMNZS Tui, was presented to the City Of Napier by the Royal New Zealand Navy on 29 September 1999

Napier was the ship's adopted home port during its service with the RNZN, 1970-1997


On the Marine Parade section of the Napier Pathway, near the Sunken Garden.

kirk 6The Kirk Sundial is made of marble, bronze and limestone. It was the first feature introduced into a long expanse of unbroken lawn that formed the original Marine Parade gardens.

Designed by Napier architect Louis Hay, this decorative landscaping feature was a gift from J.R. Kirk, a former Mayor of Gisborne who was impressed by the spirit of rehabilitation following the earthquake of 1931.


On the bronze plaques on the limestone base:
Calamity is Man's True Touchstone
The gift of J. R, Kirk Esq MBE 1933.

On the marble face of the sundial:
Smiles equal sunshine in helping folks along.

On the square base below the sundial face:
Serene I stand amidst the flowers to tell of the passing of the hours.


Marine Parade Gardens.

mill 1Designed by Havelock North artist David Trubridge, this contemporary sculpture is inspired by the ecliptic - an astronomical term referring to the great circle on the celestial sphere representing the apparent annual path of the sun relative to the stars.

The ecliptic is designed to be "read" in conjunction with a rock marker.


Ecliptic Artist David Trubridge. Placed here by the Napier City Council Millennium subcommittee to mark the beginning of the third Millennium.

To find the point where the sun rose at the start of the Millennium, follow a line from this rock through the centre of the arch to the horizon.


Southern end of Marine Parade

cairn 1It is a Scottish tradition to erect a mound of stones as a memorial or marker. This large cairn, constructed in 1934 using limestone boulders backed with concrete, commemorates Donald McLean, who arrived in Hawke's Bay in December 1850 to begin land-purchasing negotiations with local Maori.

McLean was active for 12 months, securing a total of 628,700 acres (254,623 hectares) for the Colonial Government.

Later he returned to Hawke's Bay to farm at Maraekakaho, southwest of Hastings. He was MP for Napier from 1866 to 1877 and was knighted in 1874.

In 1910, his only son Robert Douglas MacLean (who adopted the 'Mac' orthography, although his father more commonly spelled his name with the 'Mc') donated 10 acres for a public park in memory of his father.


The Honourable Sir Donald MacLean, KCMG Gorn Kilmaluag, Tyree, Scotland 25th October 1820 Died Napier, New Zealand 5th January 1877.



In front of the approach to McLean Park, Latham Street, Napier.

percy 2The original memorial took the form of a double-sided, seating shelter of reinforced concrete. The seats faced north and south and when first erected afforded views onto the putting green and the asphalt tennis courts. The tennis courts disappeared in 1967 to make way for the Sunken Garden.

The shelter was demolished in 1999, however the original memorial plaque has been retained.


This stone was laid by S Percy Spiller. As a tribute to the effort of the public of Napier in raising patriotic funds through the Napier Fun Session Committee during the war period 1939-1945 26 December 1947.


Sunken Garden, Marine Parade 

ball 2Designed in the spirit of Art Deco, this polished stainless steel ball, set on a post, is the centrepiece of a semicircular area of garden that echoes the curving form of the Veronica Sunbay.

As a focal point, the Reflecting Ball leads the eye towards the Veronica Sunbay and mirrors its structure.


Reflecting Ball a gift to Napier from Corinne and Russ Spiller In memory of Percy Spiller Donated March 1993.



Marine Parade, within the area enclosed by the Soundshell, The Colonnade and the Veronica Sunbay

lamp 5This whimsically designed cast-iron lamp standard lights the flight of steps off Marine Parade between the Sunken Garden and Par 2 Mini Golf.

It is one of nine arc lights that were originally spaced along Marine Parade between the Napier Borough Council offices on the corner of Tennyson Street and the Marine Parade baths.

The light standards commemorated the work of George H Swan, Mayor of Napier from 1885-1901, who did much to promote the development of Marine Parade.


One of nine gas lamp posts converted to carbon arc in 1915 by the Napier Thirty Thousand Club. Refurbished and relocated in 1982 from a site near the War Memorial Hall. The present lantern is a 1950s style 250-watt mercury vapour, which is slightly smaller than the original lantern.


Marine Parade, at the northern approach to the Sunken Garden.

swan 2A limestone wall supporting a tiled roof structure, the Memorial, erected in 1917, acted as a shelter for the then adjacent paddling pool. The pool was said to be the first of its kind in New Zealand.

The pool and the memorial, with its bronze bust of former Napier Mayor and MP, George H. Swan, who promoted Marine Parade development, was dedicated in February 1918.


G H Swan Mayor 1885-1901 Swan Memorial 1917.=


Northern end of Marine Parade.

carillon 3Charmingly diminutive compared to the grand versions seen in Europe, Napier's Carillon is a bronze and steel set of bells hung on a supporting frame.

Originally placed on a plinth in the water lily pond at the centre of Clive Square, it was moved to its present location in 1998 to make way for the water feature and light in the pond.

The Carillon plays every half hour from 11.30am until 2pm - four tunes one minute apart each time. The selection may include nursery rhymes, traditional airs and popular songs.

Programmes are changed regularly. The choice of tunes may be particular to the time of year, such as at Christmas and Art Deco Weekend. Tunes must be carefully chosen as the carillon is equipped with 19 bells that cover a limited range of notes - two octaves of "white notes", with just four "black notes" instead of the usual ten.

The bells have just one volume level and use a lot of harmonics.

Since 1997, the Carillon has employed a computer-operated system, donated by Napier company Electrotech Controls. This replaced the worn mechanism for working the bells.

Dr Tim Bell of the University of Canterbury developed the method used in the more recent system, playing a tune on a keyboard in Christchurch, recording it onto a computer, converting it to the controller format and emailing it to Napier for loading onto the Carillon.

Providing the feedback, an Electrotech engineer recorded the songs played in Clive Square, emailing the recording back to Christchurch.


This Carillon was presented to the City of Napier in its Centennial Year 1974 by Rothmans Tobacco Company Ltd. Unveiled 18 October 1974


Dickens Street side of Clive Square

colon 2The Colonnade was erected in 1937 to form an enclosure in front of the Soundshell.

The landscape group of Soundshell, Colonnade, Veronica Sunbay, Skating Ring and the gardens form the only public memorial in Napier commemorating the 1931 earthquake. So it is very fitting that these structures are built above a foundation of rubble removed from the devastated town centre and deposited on the beach in 1931-32.

Providing the equivalent of a town square, the area framed within the Colonnade is a popular area for events that include open-air concerts. Vintage cars park up here during Art Deco Weekend, attracting a steady stream of admirers.

Designed by Napier architect J. T. Watson, The Colonnade and Soundshell were projects undertaken by the Thirty Thousand Club.


The northern-most entry is the Robert C Wright Arch. The inscription above the name reads:
The pathway to power lies through service.

The middle entry is the New Napier Arch. The inscription above the name reads:
Courage is the thing: all goes if courage goes.

The southern entry is the Harold Latham Arch. The inscription above the name reads:
Without vision the people perish.


Marine Parade, opposite the seaward end of Emerson Street.

ball 6The Sunbay consists of a curved arcade with a pierced wall of unglazed windows on the seaward side and a group of columns on the western side.

The structure was built in 1934, and in 1937 it was named the "Veronica Sun Bay" when the bell from HMS Veronica was presented to the city as a memento of the assistance given by the ship's officers and crew in rescue work in the aftermath of the 1931 earthquake.

By 1988, the steel reinforcing of the original structure had badly corroded and was unsafe. It was demolished and replaced with a replica in 1991.

Now housed in the Hawke's Bay Museum, the Veronica Bell is rung to herald in the New Year and again at the conclusion of Art Deco weekend to commemorate those who suffered and died in the earthquake.


The Veronica Sun Bay Originally erected in 1934 to commemorate the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 3rd February 1931. This memorial is named in honour of HMS Veronica and the outstanding service given by her officers and crew at the time of the disaster. Rebuilding of the Sun Bay was accomplished through the initiative and leadership of the Rotary Club of Napier and contributions from the citizens of Hawke's Bay and the Napier City Council. This plaque was unveiled at the dedication of the rebuilt memorial. It took place on the Sixtieth Anniversary of the earthquake - 3rd February 1991.

Veronica Sunbay

The Rotary Club of Napier acknowledge the contribution to the rebuilding of the Veronica Sunbay by:

Hon Architect - Gardiner, Prebensen Architects Ltd
Hon Engineer - Michael Newby and Associates
New Zealand Lottery Grants Board
1990 Commission
Bay City Power

David Sewell
President 1990-1991.


Marine Parade, opposite the seaward end of Emerson Street.


earthquake 1This solemn and poignant memorial is located in Park Island Cemetery. The memorial area contains the remains of people who perished in the Hawke's Bay Earthquake of February 3 1931.

The tablets on the memorial record the names of 86 of those interred in the mass grave as well as the names of 23 others buried elsewhere in the cemetery.

The memorial was designed by prominent Napier architect J. A. Louis Hay.


Their sun is gone down while it was yet day.


Park Island Cemetery, Clyde Jeffery Drive, Park Island.

sands 2The SANDS Memorial is set in a cliff top enclosure with extensive views across the Ahuriri Lagoon. It is a contemplative retreat dedicated to children who have died in infancy.


This memorial was dedicated on 1 May 1999 in memory of those babies taken before their lives were lived.

May they never be forgotten and live in our hearts forever.

I thought of you today but that was nothing new. I thought of you yesterday and the day before that too. For it doesn't take a special day to bring you to my mind. 'Cause a day without a thought of you is very hard to find.


Western Hills Cemetery.


carillon 3This concrete masonry wall with attached bench seating and pergola provides a shaded rest area in the park, which is contiguous with Taradale Park.


Centennial Park Created by the People of Taradale as their Centennial Memorial 1858-1958.


Centennial Park, between the Taradale Library and Puketapu Road


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