Napier / Ahuriri
Napier, the Art Deco City, sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean on New Zealand's east coast. It is situated in the centre of Hawke's Bay just 18 kilometres from its sister city Hastings. It has a population of nearly 60,000 and is situated 332-kilometres (by road) north east of the capital Wellington.
Hawke's Bay or Heretaunga was originally settled by a number of Māori tribes, in the river valleys and along the coast where food was most plentiful. The Ngati Kahungunu tribe eventually colonised the eastern side of the North Island from Poverty Bay to Wairarapa.
The area was later named Hawke's Bay by Captain James Cook after Sir Edward Hawke, First Lord of the Admiralty. The first settlers included traders, whalers and missionaries before the formal establishment of the province, including its capital city of Napier in 1851.
The town was named after Sir Charles Napier, hero of the Battle of Meeanee in the Indian province of Sindh. Many streets in the settlement were named to commemorate the great colonial era of the British Indian Empire.
The face of Napier and surrounding districts changed on a summer's morning in 1931 when the area was struck by the worst earthquake in New Zealand's history. The quake hit with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale and lasted for two and a half minutes killing 261 people.
In the subsequent rebuilding, out went the staid Victorian look of former times and in came a modern new art deco style. The newest styles of the 1930s were incorporated in the building designs, from Stripped Classical to Spanish Mission. But it was the Art Deco look that prevailed.
The city's brand new look was accentuated by rows of palm trees and the unique Norfolk pine. Napier has since become famous as a little piece of European design down under.
The wider Hawke's Bay region is characterised by its beautiful coast line which extends for 100 kilometres from Mahia Peninsula to Cape Kidnappers and its central hilly landscape of the Kaweka and Ruahine Ranges.
Hawke's Bay is now considered one of New Zealand's leading food and wine destinations. With its Mediterranean climate visitors are lured to the area to sample the delights from more than 70 wineries, fresh produce at the Farmers Markets, epicurean delights and gourmet experiences at a great variety of restaurants, cafes and bars. Other strong industries include forestry and food processing.
With an average year round temperature of 19.3˚C and over 2,200 hours of sunshine per year, Hawke's Bay is the perfect place to enjoy a range of outdoor activities. Hawke's Bay makes the perfect holiday destination year round with warm summer days and a mild winter climate.
The Hawke's Bay region has a total population of close to 152,700 and makes up 3.6 percent of New Zealand's total population. Napier is the largest city with a population of 57,000, followed by Hastings.
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