Saturday, November 09, 2013

Saturday, 11/09/13 Napier

Saturday, 11/09/13 Napier

The ship was in Napier only until 2:00 p.m., and “all aboard” was at 1:30.  Napier is called the “Greatest Art Deco City in the World”, and I wanted to walk the city and take photos of the buildings.  The British Museums Association says, “Napier represents the most complete and significant group of Art Deco buildings in the world, and is comparable with Bath, England, as an example of a planned townscape in a cohesive style.“

On February 3, 1931, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on the Richter Scale completely leveled the town of Napier, leaving on a couple of buildings standing.  The town decided to rebuild using steel reinforced concrete to protect against the devastation of future earthquakes.  To decorate the plain buildings, the town decided to incorporate a new building style of that time, Art Deco, which had become popular at the Paris Expo of 1925.  This new style made use of pastel colors and decorative sunbursts, lightening bolts, zigzags, and stars -- a happy, playful art form.

As time was limited to only a few hours, I did not want a guided tour.  I wanted to go at my own pace, stopping to take photos of each building, and then read and learn about the buildings later when I had more time.  Fortunately, the information center had a map of the city with a brief explanation of each of the Art Deco buildings.  The day was sunny and cool, perfect for walking and taking photos, and I walked at a quick pace to cover as much as possible.

The town was aware that the ship would be arriving with 2000 passengers wanting to see the city, so volunteers were available to answer questions.  In addition, a local collector of antique automobiles put on display 10-12 automobiles from the 1930s era, and ladies dressed in 1930s costumes poses for photos with the cars.  The ship was in Napier on a
Saturday, when the local food market was held, adding to the ambience and color of the occasion.  I spent my entire time walking and taking photos, returning to the ship just before “all aboard“ time.  It was a great day in a very pretty small town.

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