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1931 Earthquake marked on 3 Feb

Published: 26 January 2024

Last Updated: 15 February 2024

1931 Earthquake Service 3 February

The public is invited to attend the special service on 3 February marking 93 years since the devastating earthquake that shook Hawke’s Bay in 1931.
The 2023 cyclone will also be remembered at the midday service for Hawke’s Bay earthquake survivors, their families and the wider community, to be held at the Waiapu Cathedral in Napier City.
The way people helped each other in the aftermath of last year’s cyclone has echoes of the way the community came together in 1931, says Kirsten Wise, Mayor of Napier.
“The resilience of Napier people in 1931, looking after each other then moving on to rebuild, has been seen again in the actions of so many over the past year. The service is an opportunity to share some moments of reflection. The impacts on our city and people’s lives continue to be felt today.”
The 7.8 magnitude quake began at 10.47am and was followed by a number of aftershocks. Two-hundred and fifty-six people died, hundreds more were hospitalised and thousands injured. Much of the city centre was destroyed, including the current cathedral’s predecessor.
Mayor Wise will speak at the service, along with Right Rev’d Andrew Hedge, Bishop of Waiapu, and the Very Rev’d Di Woods, Waiapu Dean in Napier. The Hawke’s Bay Soul Choir will perform two items.
Commander Fiona Jameson and Lieutenant Commander Paul Eady, representing the Royal NZ Navy, will ring the Veronica Bell.
“The Bell will be rung eight times in commemoration of those who lost their lives, followed by a minute’s silence and eight times for those who emerged from the dust and ashes and took on the work of rebuilding our city,” Mayor Wise explains.
The bell is from HMS Veronica, in port at the time of the earthquake. It is usually stored at MTG Hawke’s Bay and is brought out for significant occasions such as this time of remembrance.
Vehicle access to the drop-off point, for people with limited mobility, outside the Cathedral, is via Cathedral Lane, which is one way. Limited accessibility carparks will be made available on Browning St, which is also one way.

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