Maori guys performing
Even as teenagers, these guys could sure do a very scary Haka (Maori war dance). It was very obvious that they absolutely loved what they did. It seemed to come as second nature to them, which seems very different to me, when I think of Australia's indigenous peoples, many of whom lost touch with their traditions through contact with early oppression and white society and had to try and re-learn and regain their culture as adults....wherever I went, from what I saw, this doesn't seem to be a problem in New Zealand. In the North Island, Maori culture is alive and very well.
Pania of the Reef Statue
Pania is a maiden of the sea people in Maori legend who lived with her Maori lover in Napier. The legend says that the sea people kept calling her and she kept resisting until one day she swam out to sea to meet them. They surrounded her and drew her down, never to return. They say that now, if you pass the reef you will see Pania with arms outstretched trying to get back to her lover.
You can see the famous statue of Pania is made of bronze and can be found in the park near the waterfront
Go to the Beach
Napier is a coastal city and many of the beaches there have gravel instead of sand. In fact the main beach on the Marine Parade is called Pebble Beach. The beach is not the best for swimming because of it's strong currents. but is great for tramping (hiking) and beachcombing. While exploring a gravle covered beach on the way to Cape Kidnappers I found a heart shaped rock. Even though I collect heart shaped rocks I just took a picture of it and left it behind.
I have been to several beaches in and around Napier, and they all were similar to Pebble Beach with grey gravel instead of sand. But Napier has other beaches which have sand and are good for swimming and other water sports. The website below gives more information about all different Beaches in Napier and other parts of the Hawkes Bay Region.
In this interesting museum you can watch footage from the 1931 Earthquake, listen to recent interviews with elderly survivors of their experiences all those years ago and where they were when it happened, what impact it had on their lives and that of the town, etc.
There is a pictorial display in black and white of the aftermath of the earthquake, and other exhibits.
You can also see how a seismograph works in action, and browse through graph sheets from previous days/months to see what activity has been ocurring recently (we were suprised to see quite a big blip on one page just a few days earlier - evidently small tremors happen a lot, because NZ is on not one but 2 plates of the earth). Fortunately the majority of activity is very minor.
There is also an exhibition room of maori art , history and more.
Located on the southwest shores of Hawkes Bay, NZ, Napier enjoys a sunny Mediterranean-like climate and settled weather, allowing for fruit-growing, vineyards, and tourism.
A devastating earthquake in 1931 leveled most of the city which was rebuilt in the then fashionable Art Deco style. Napier is now considered the Art Deco Capital of the world.
There are world class attractions including Cape Kidnappers - the only mainland gannet colony, the Marine Parade which includes Marineland of New Zealand (our national aquarium), vineyards with award winning wines, and special events such as the Mission Concert, Harvest Hawkes Bay weekend, and the annual Napier Art Deco weekend.
Tourism is a major part of the local economy and the city is filled with places to stay, things to do, and friendly people with a friendly attitude to make a visit special.
For the active there is every other outdoor adventure you can imagine from jet-boating between wineries, hot air ballooning, surfing, caving, paragliding, sailing, windsurfing or fishing for trout the size most people only dream about.
Industries also play a part in Napier's success with several major companies located here, including the Ravensdown Fertilizer works at Awatoto, the Pan-Pac Pulp and Paper Mill 10km north of Napier.
Napier is linked to the outside world by highways (South, North, and West), a rail freight link south to Palmerston North, a modern port at the foot of Bluff Hill, and a modern airport with daily flights to other major New Zealand cities.