12 February 2014
From Gisborne (Poverty Bay)
to the Art Deco city of
Napier (Hawke's Bay)
We wake up in the Gisborne Top 10 Holiday Park just before the alarm goes off and look outside. The weather is beautiful; The sun is shining and it promised to be a hot day. Today we are going to the Art Deco city of Napier. It is a relatively short travel day so there still remains time for cool things to do in Napier. All packed and one last glance at the Holiday Park and here we go again; Day 8 has begun and we are eager to participate. I myself am on the previous three trips not been in this corner of New Zealand so for me as well everything is new and that is always nice. Napier has a rich Maori history. In October 1769, Captain James Cook sailed the east coast of New Zealand and saw already that here was the ideal place for a port. Later, European settlers came here to trade, to hunt whales and to carry out missionary work. From the mid-19th century the first farmers and also the first hotel owners came to Napier.
The 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake, also known as theNapier earthquake, occurred inNew Zealandat 10:47 am on Tuesday 3 February 1931, killing 256and devastating theHawke's Bayregion. It remains New Zealand's deadliestnatural disaster. Centred 15 km north ofNapier, it lasted for two and a half minutes and measured magnitude 7. There were 525 aftershocks recorded in the following two weeks. The main shock could be felt in much of the southern half of theNorth Island. The local landscape changed dramatically, with the coastal areas around Napier being lifted by around two metres. The most noticeable land change was the uplifting of some 40 km² of sea-bed to become dry land. This included Ahuriri Lagoon, which was lifted more than 2.7 metres and resulted in draining 2230 hectares of the lagoon. Today, this area is the location of Hawkes Bay Airport, housing and industrial developments and farmland.
We drive via a short stopover in Wairoa quickly inside Napier. It was planned that way. After some searching, we drove on a road parallel, we find the Kennedy Holiday Park and get a nice spot. Everything set and then back to the reception where we rented two bikes. The New Zealand mandatory helmet on and here we go. A helmet is obliged in New Zealand where they give a humorous reason for "the car drivers in New Zealand are driving so bad". We drive to the coast and the centre and make a first stop at Dick Smith Electronics. Here I'm going to score a USB DVD burner / player so I can put my carefully made MP3 CD's on a memory card so we can finally start playing our own music through the MP3 player with FM Transmitter. I could not find him right away, but fortunately he was in stock. Also bought a NZ International plug because we encountered some problems charging with the old plug already bought in 2003. It was a good choice because with the new plug we had no troubles anymore.
Then we drive further to the coast where the wellknown views are on the Marine Parade. It is bright and warm weather with a lot of sun. Napier has lies in a region with one of the highest number of sunshine hours in New Zealand and has a warm and relatively dry climate, with summer temperatures of about 25 ° C and 14 ° C in winter. Well say no more, I would say. We arrive at the oceanside and see the New Napier Arch, one of the most famous places of Napier and known through many publications and photos. If you walk underneath the arch you come to a closed area with on one side an outdoor bandstand the Sound Shell of Napier. The other side is completed by the Veronica Sun Bay a structure around a reflective ball, which was named after the HMS Veronica as thanks for the assistance of the officers and crew of the ship in the aftermath of the rescue work after the earthquake. We go for a walk along all the famous sights such as the Tom Parker Fountain and the statue of the mermaid Pania the patroness of Napier. According to a Maori myth she fell in love with a human. The other mermaids didn't accept this and turned her into a reef so it extends to the present day that she reaches with her arms to the ocean on the coast of Napier.
We enter the information centre on the promenade and get from the friendly lady behind the counter a map of Napier showing a few blocks where you still can see the Art Deco style. While walking through the streets in the centre of Napier it strikes us that from the buildings in fact only the first floor and above still have the Art Deco style. The ground floor is usually adjusted to modern times, since the retailers want to sell their wares, and therefore almost all windows / fronts of buildings are customized to our modern times. Yet most of all still recognizable. We take a fairly long walk and take pictures before returning to the Marine Parade. There we go inside an Art Deco shop with a lot of clothing from the thirties. Every year there is an Art Deco Festival in Napier at the end of February. This year it is 21-22-23 February so we are to early, but we cannot wait. It would not be misplaced for us to join in and dress with the existing old garments (see photo Karin).
We buy an ice cream at an Italian-looking tent at the Marine Parade and I have to say "WOW more than delightful." Karin is a bit modelling "behind" an old-timer, and then we take our bikes again put the helmet on and accept the way back. We stop at a supermarket where we buy our food for that evening and we find our Holiday Park easily. It is a former Top 10 Holiday Park, but they told me that it was pulled out of that organisation because Top 10 had too many demands about performance and potential. Now it is a super Holiday Park near the centre of the city. It's still lovely weather and Karin makes the hot meal ready. I spent the time also good and copy all the CDs to our Netbook and then I transfer them to a 4GB memory card from the camera. Such a memory card is one of the options to provide music on our MP3 player Tomorrow we can finally listen to our own music and we must be up very early in the morning because we have to catch the ferry to the South Island.