Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.

Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.
Oracle Park, Home of the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, July 10, 2024.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Cruise Day 11 - A 1931 Earthquake, Art Deco, and Murals Highlight Our Napier, North Island, New Zealand Bus Tour - Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Today's destination: Napier, North Island, New Zealand. 

Napier calls itself the Art Deco Capital of the World and it's also a leading wine travel destination. Leveled by an earthquake in 1931, Napier was rebuilt in the then-modern Art Deco architectural style. Along with Miami Beach, Napier is one of the best examples of this style, with many of its structures well preserved. As a result, Napier boasts the world's largest concentration of Art Deco buildings.

Ship's arrival: 8am.
Last shuttle from town: 2:30 pm.
All aboard: 3 pm

Today's forecast: mostly sunny, 73.5 F.

The tour we're on today is the Napier City Drive and the National Aquarium of New Zealand, an attraction exhibiting every imaginable species of marine life, including odd creatures that local fishermen have donated. There are displays of giant squid, living coral reefs, and tanks filled with seahorses, eels, and fish indigenous to New Zealand. The National Aquarium even houses a variety of land animals, including kiwis and lizards such as the world's oldest tuatara hatched in captivity. 

As we were on our way to the aquarium on Marine Parade (the coastal highway) our driver pointed out seven homes that were not damaged in the 1931 earthquake. Locally, those homes are known as "The Seven Sisters." I was able to capture five of them in a photo taken through the bus's window.

Five of "The Seven Sisters" on Marine Parade.

Three buses from our cruise ship converged on the aquarium as well as buses from two other ships. It was a zoo; wait, I mean an aquarium. 

Our tour bus driver gave us an hour to tour the aquarium and cautioned us to return to this bus. We had an hour to explore the museum. Hmm, our tour description said we'd have 1-1/2 hours. Oh, well. We raced through while trying to see through the crowds in front of the exhibits. We made it out with time to spare. That wasn't how we saw this visit going!

Here's what we were able to see...

Art in the entry stairwell.

African Cichlids.

Interesting fish behavior.


Pacu look similar to piranha.


Grass carp.

What's in the wetlands?

Koi carp.

Water dragon.

Tuatara.

I have spent most of my time dodging people and trying to get a few good photos. I apologize for the quality of these photos. The lighting could be better. There's too much glare as well as low-light situations.

African Moony fish.

Clown fish.

Sailfin tang.

Korora (Little Penguin). We did not see
these in Picton, but here they are now.

Little penguins.

Little penguins.


Longfin eel.
Hawkesbill turtle. [Photo by Bob Alton.]

Big-bellied seahorse.


There's a glass tunnel so we can watch
fish swim all around us.

This helps with identifying shore life.

This helps with identifying shore life.

Upon exiting the museum, I wanted to explore outside. We had a half-hour. There are huge murals on the side and back walls of the museum. The coastline is pretty here and there is a nice sculpture. 

"Trawlermen," by Alan Strathern.


Bob appreciates the pretty fountain.

Murals on the outside of The National 
Aquarium of New Zealand.

Murals on the outside of The National 
Aquarium of New Zealand

This is the view behind the aquarium.

Murals on the outside of The National 
Aquarium of New Zealand

Murals on the outside of The National 
Aquarium of New Zealand

We boarded the bus for an hour-long driving tour to check out the Art Deco buildings in Napier. Here's the story of what happened in Napier when the 1931 earthquake hit. The cliff in town rose by six feet! Napier used to be horseshoe-shaped with Hawke's Bay in the center of the horseshoe. That all changed with the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that lasted 2-1/2 minutes! 

It was feared there would be a tsunami, but the sea flowed out and did not come back. The bottom of the bay rose up and became land. 

A map of the changes to the landmass
after the 7.9 magnitude earthquake.

In addition, fires broke out and destroyed most of the buildings in town. That is why Napier had to rebuild.

Historical photo located in an art alley.

Historical photo located in an art alley.

Historical photo located in an art alley.

Bob and I are happy we took the bus tour because we went farther than we would have walked on our own. Here are Art Deco buildings...

This is the "Button House." In the early 
1900s, it used to be a button factory. 
It is now a studio-style apartment.

The famous National Tobacco Company, Ltd.


Art Deco home.

Art Deco home.

Art Deco home.

My favorite Art Deco home.

After we finished our bus tour, Bob and I set out on foot, wandering back and forth on Napier's city streets to see what else we find.

The former Australian Mutual Provident
Society Building. It is now the Art Deco Trust.

The former Ministry of Works Building built
in 1938 in the Art Deco and Stripped 
Classical style.

Waiapu Anglican Cathedral of St. John the
Evangelist. This is the first cathedral in the
world to see the morning sun.

Hastings Street, Napier, New Zealand.

Art Deco Masonic Hotel, Napier, NZ.


The former State Theatre, Napier, NZ.

Historic Art Deco buildings in Napier, NZ.

Trinity Methodist Church in Napier, NZ.

As we strolled, we saw other points of interest. 

Art outside the visitor center.

These beautifully restored cars are for hire.
The owners give tours around town.

How would you like to tour in one of 
these babies?

Aren't they gorgeous?

South African Boer War Memorial.

Every year in February, Napier hosts an Art Deco Festival. People come from all over the world to celebrate in a time warp. According to the tour guide, the attendees dress to the hilt in costumes from the era and use their own vintage cars or hire one to be their guide. 


I would love to own this dress!


This lovely stained-glass art was on
display in a downtown window.

The next set of photos shows street art and Clive Square Park. The first mural below is titled, "Message in a Bottle," by an Australian duo named Meggs and Phibs. It was completed in 2016. The mural focuses on the impact that plastics are having on our oceans and the physical impact the pollution has on sea life that is inadvertently consuming small plastic particles.

"Message in a Bottle," street art by Australian
artists Meggs and Phibs.

"Hieroglyphics for Simon," street 
art in Napier, NZ, 2019.


The following street art is on Theatre Lane. It's quite fanciful.







A jacaranda tree in Clive Square.


Clive Square.

Carillon bells in Clive Square play
tunes at certain times throughout the day.
Unfortunately, we didn't hear them.

This 1904 fountain in Clive Square commemorates
the public services of the late William Robert Blythe.
  
We finished our very own walking tour through Napier's Central Business District and saw lots more Art Deco buildings. We also got up close and personal with some sculptures.

Pretty murals on a public washroom building.
Street art. [Photo by Bob Alton.]

One of the touring cars.

"Hi! Can you help me find my dog?"



The Daily Telegraph newspaper building.

The Art Deco Post Office.
[Photo by Bob Alton.]

Completed in 1935, the building below was originally the home of Temperance General Insurance, a company that emerged during the prohibition era of the 1900s.  The T&G Building was built as part of Napier's reconstruction after the devastating earthquake of 1931. The style is Art Deco and Spanish Mission. Due to its central location and striking architectural features, characterized by a distinctive copper-domed roof (or cupola), The Dome has become a Napier icon and one of the most photographed buildings in the country.

The Dome Building, Napier, NZ.

A lily pond in Clive Square.

We caught the shuttle back to the ship and were in for a grand surprise. The vintage car club had moved their rides next to our ship. We got a close-up look at them and could talk to their owners. In addition, they had a band who were playing ragtime songs. What a great end to our day in Napier.









Back on the ship, we had a few hours before the "Elements" show in the Stardust Theater tonight. I worked on editing my pictures from the day. Bob read and took a nap.

The "Elements" show included music, magic, aerial acrobatics, and avant-garde choreography. It symbolized the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. It was fun to watch and one part was pretty racy.

Immediately after the show, we had dinner reservations at Cagney's Steakhouse. Eating there is always a special treat!

To close the night, we went to the Spinnaker Lounge to dance to the Power of 5 band. They started playing at 10 pm. We arrived at 10:05, listened to a couple of songs, and then danced to one song. After three or four more songs, they ended the night at 10:45 pm. We were just getting started, so we were disappointed.

It's probably good that we finished early; our tour to Rotorua is at 9:10 am tomorrow. It will be a 6-1/2 hour tour.

Good night all!

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