Time Warp Weekend
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Where I stayed
A little history is needed to understand why Napier has an Art Deco Weekend. In the early Twentieth Century the town was small, mainly relying on fishing, whaling and finance. Growth was limited as there was very little land available for expansion as the town was on an island and spit between the sea and swampland. Then on the 3 February 1931 disaster struck in the form of an earthquake (7.8 on the Richter Scale) which demolished most of the solid Victorian and Edwardian buildings. Fires soon broke out as a result of the earthquake and these devastated the town. 256 people died and many people lost their homes.
There was no earthquake insurance and those people who were insured against fire soon found out that the companies would not pay out as they decided the fires were a result of the earthquake, (only one company compensated its clients). Help did arrive from the government and it was decided to rebuild quickly. A temporary retail area was set up to enable shops and services to continue and this was knick-named Tin Town.
As this was during the Great Depression, many unemployed men came from other parts of NZ to work on the reconstruction and the majority of the work was completed in about 2 years
Despite the horrific reasons for the reconstruction there were some positives that arouse from the new developments
So Napier arose like the phoenix from the ashes, but the most amazing difference was that as a result of the earthquake the ground was lifted by 2 metres which increased the area of the town by 9000 acres allowing for expansion to create a truly viable town for the future.
As time moved on the fashions changed, and in the late 70s and early 80s some of the Art Deco buildings were replaced with international style office blocks and this process might have continued until the Art Deco influence was eliminated if it had not been for a visiting dignatory who was sufficiently knowledgable to tell the local Council that they did not know what they had and if they didn't start appreciating it they would destroy it. Luckily some people listened and formed the Art Deco Trust which developed awareness and eventually established the Art Deco Weekend and since we were here 3 years ago many more buildings have been restored
The weekend was fun with a parade of over 300 vintage/veteran cars, old planes flying overhead, steam trains and traction engines on the move, bands and street parties. And perhaps the most entertaining thing was that a large proportion of the residents and visitors dressed in period clothes. Some were well researched and authentic, others just looked old fashioned and a few could only be described as eccentric – but it all added to the entertainment.
The previous weekend we were taken by Beverley and Richard to stay with friends at their bach (pronounced batch) on the Coromandel peninsular. A bach was originally a small hut or basic house in a remote area that people use for holidays and weekends. This description is nothing like Ron and Lynda's bach which is a four bedroomed, fully equipped modern house with superb views of the beach. Ron has a tractor (like most of the handful of residents) to take his boat down to the beach (or passengers in our case as it was too rough to take the boat out but Jim and I snorkelled). It was a lovely weekend and Ron and Lynda were great hosts and pampered us dreadfully with good food and drink.
The weekend of the 20th February we are off to Wellington and then across the ferry to South Island.