Walking through downtown Napier you can almost trace an imaginary line through the buildings. On top, you’ll find lavish ornamentation and pops of bright colour, remnants of the art deco style the city is famous for. At street level you’ll find bustling cafes and mannequin-packed storefronts that reveal the transformation these stylistic buildings have undergone to serve modern functions.
That is not to say that some buildings don’t retain full Art Deco status. Many still effectively take you through time and momentarily transport you to the days of cloche hats and Fitzgerald stories.
While Napier can now proudly declare itself the Art Deco Capital of the country, it was the result of a tragic earthquake. To this day it remains New Zealand’s deadliest natural disaster. It was quickly realized that the entire city needed to be rebuilt. The earthquake struck in 1931, which resulted in a unified reconstruction in this particular architectural style. Out of the rubble sprung this new, revamped, art deco’d Napier.
The region of Hawke’s Bay is also notable for the fruit grown there: meaning both delicious fresh fruit ice cream and tasty New Zealand wine (essentially, the perfect place).
We dropped by Mission Winery at the recommendation of the lady running our campground. We found friendly staff, plenty of samples, and a gorgeous property to explore. Mission Winery is run out of an old monastery and has a rich wooden interior that conveys this. Several of the walls are lined with black and white photos of monks smiling back, glasses in hand – seemingly engaged in “quality control” of the wine.