Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

New Zealand 2019 Day 6: Napier

Posted by Lisa Hill on May 11, 2019

A nice breakfast (with very good coffee!) at the Copthorne Hotel in Palmerston North, and then we were off to the bus station for the coach to Napier.  Even while we were waiting, there were interesting things to see.  This edifice is the usual ego-booster for the town councillors of the time, but the memorial fountain was erected to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII.  And it made me think, should the worst happen and #shudder Charles becomes king of Australia, will there be a rash of commemorative edifices?

In the same park, there is an information centre, which is the usual ordinary sort of building… until you go round to the other side of it and realise that it is an annex to these beautiful Art Deco restrooms!

But when the coach finally brought us to Napier, well, breathtaking is the only word to describe the Art Deco treasures here.  Napier was flattened in an earthquake in 1931, with a loss of 256 lives.  The town was rebuilt in the architecture of the era, and it is absolutely stunning.  Here’s the slideshow from our afternoon walk:

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Tomorrow we’re going on a guided tour in a vintage car, so I shall have more to say in due course…

5 Responses to “New Zealand 2019 Day 6: Napier”

  1. Robyn Watters said

    The ‘Ladies’ Rest’ is to die for. Not just the architecture but the whole graciousness of a time when one could find a secluded, safe, clean and probably welcoming environment after travelling even if only a mile from home. The concept reminds me of the Comfort Stations that Australia built. The one in Frankston is still there. I wonder if DJs and even Myer have a room annexed to the bathroom where ladies can rest.

    • Lisa Hill said

      Ah yes, I remember the restroom in Myer but I don’t know if it’s still there. I also remember when they had seats at the counters, so that you could rest a while there too…

  2. Great slide show, Lisa. I have to say that art deco is my favourite architectural style – I love the way it somehow manages to be clean in line, and yet also decorative. I have been to Napier, but so long ago, and, I suspect that people’s interest in preserving and maintaining historical buildings has really taken off in the last decade – because those buildings look in wonderful nick.

    • Lisa Hill said

      Our tour guide said that a group of people got together in the 80s (after your visit) and formed a trust to make sure buildings aren’t lost. I’m having internet trouble here at the Masonic Hotel, so I’ve got limited access, but I’ll try and post later on to show you some of the other sights around town.

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