Fun things to do in Napier

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Napier

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    Te Whare Tangaroa o Aotearoa

    by TomorrowsAngel Written Jan 7, 2004

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    The National Aquarium of New Zealand is also known as Te Whare Tangaroa o Aotearoa - the house of the God of the ocean of New Zealand. The new facility opened to the public in June 2002. Allow 1-2 hours to leisurely go round all the exhibits.
    Maori spiritual concepts and tribal history are an important part of New Zealand's cultural history and education. As you come eye-to-eye with the thousands of strange and wonderful creatures that live in the National Aquarium of New Zealand, your experience will involve you in an enthralling, captivating Maori legend.
    Tangaroa, God of the Ocean and his special connection to this Napier (Ahuriri) area through Pania, one of Tangaroa's sea people. Her tragic love story continues to be handed down from one generation to the next, shared by Maori and Pakeha alike.
    As you leave the aquarium, look across the ocean for Tangaroa and see the spectacular geological formation of Cape Kidnappers which, according to Maori mythology, is the hook used by Maui when he fished the New Zealand islands from the ocean.
    While considered an entertainment venue, the new Aquarium also incorporates education, research, and passive education with displays set up with a theme where topics such as ocean currents, water cycle, local (i.e. Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay) are displayed.
    The National Aquarium of New Zealand is also involved in many conservation programmes, both national and international in scale. Some of these are historic in nature while others have only come online since the Aquarium re-opened in 2002.

    Opening Times
    26th December - 31st January: 9am - 7pm
    1st February - 24th December: 9am - 5pm

    At set times during the day, divers will enter the Oceanarium to feed the fish, and there will be other presentations around the aquarium. Check the sign boards for times.
    Hand feeding in the reef tank: 10.00am
    Hand feeding in the ocean tank: 2.00pm

    Admission
    Adult - $12.00
    Child (up to 14 years) - $6.00

    outside the museum
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    Art deco walk

    by vtveen Written Nov 4, 2005

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    Best thing to do is to get a brochure, either at the office of the Visitor Information Centre (Marine Parade) or The Art Deco Shop (Tennyson Street). So it is easy to walk along the many art deco buildings in the city centre. When we did this unguided tour there were 89 buildings mentioned in the text of the brochure.
    Some of the buildings are open for public and it is easy to take a look inside.
    The walk is about 1 ½ km long.

    There are also daily guided walks through this charming town (see website).

    entrance of a building everywhere art deco elements street decoration have a sunny walk
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    Art Deco

    by TomorrowsAngel Written Jan 7, 2004

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    Napier City is the site of the finest examples of authentic Art Deco in the world. When the city was rebuilt after the devastating 1931 Earthquake, the main business area and its key buildings were designed on a common theme - 1930s Art Deco.
    Although many of the buildings in Los Angeles were also designed with Art Deco principles, Napier City has faithfully retained the 1920s and 30s Art Deco character and style in its Central Shopping Area through the years.
    Its Museum and Art Gallery have a permanent exhibition of Art Deco objet d'art. The most famous Art Deco building in Napier is the Rothmans of Pall Mall building, 1932-33, designed by J. A. Louis Hay, who was inspired by the work of the famous Chicago architect, Louis Sullivan.
    Over recent years Napier has celebrated each year with the Art Deco Weekend. Billed as a "not too serious" celebration the Art Deco Weekend includes vintage cars, historic aircraft, wine glass wanders, the Gatsby Family Picnic, and much more.
    The architecture and applied arts of the Art Deco period reveal a varied mix. However, most share the hallmarks of geometry and simplicity, often combined with vibrant colors and simple shapes that celebrate the rise of commerce and technology. The world of Art Deco represents a "graciousness of form" from a simpler time.

    masonic lodge
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    Rothmans Building

    by vtveen Written Nov 4, 2005

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    This beautiful building, perhaps the most iconic art deco building in the world, is situated a little bit outside the centre of Napier. More or less hidden behind Bluff Hill in a neighbourhood called Ahuriri, close to the port.

    It was the office building of The national Tobacco Company, now British American Tobacco.
    We were able to take a look in the hall inside the building. If still possible watch carefully for the art deco details.

    The building has been designed by J.A. Louis Hay in the year of 1933, two years after the devastating earth quake.

    Rothmans Building detail of the building (outside) detail of the building (inside)
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    Attractive shopping centre

    by vtveen Written Nov 4, 2005

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    Napier has an attractive shopping centre with lots of nice shops and some shopping arcades.

    ‘Down town’ is must more pleasant than in many other cities in New Zealand. They succeeded in creating a more or less pedestrian area with lots of side walk café’s.
    It is just fun to browse around. Off course one of the highlights when shopping and interested in art deco is the Art Deco Shop.

    The main shopping streets are: Emerson Street, Hastings Street and Dalton Street.

    shopping in Napier

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  • Kate-Me's Profile Photo

    Hastings: Explore the main streets on foot....

    by Kate-Me Written Mar 26, 2004

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    Hastings, though a Spanish Mission style city as well as Art Deco, is much less faithful than Napier to any one style and there are several buildings we noticed in just the 3 streets we explored which were neither style, quite modern, which only made them stand out more oddly amongst their more elegant neighbours.

    Hastings as a whole though I found rather delightful and charming, right from the first glimpses we had as we drove in. The tops of all the 1st floor shop verandahs of the 2 storey buildings in the CBD's main central few streets (and possibly others we didn't see) were lined with flower baskets and window boxes, mainly with either pink or purple petunias. It was a riot of colour which brightened a rather dull grey day quite considerably.

    streets lined with flower boxes
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    WALK AND SEE THE ART DECO SHAPES

    by balhannah Written Feb 2, 2010

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    ART DECO, originated in Europe from 1920 - 1940, a form that expressed all the vigor and optimism of the roaring twenties, and the idealism and escapism of the grim thirties.

    When walking around we found many of the different themes represented in the way the buildings were built.
    To get an idea some of them are.......

    Sunbursts and fountains - representing the dawn of a new modern age.
    The Skyscraper shape - symbolic of the 20th century.
    Symbols of speed, power and flight - the exiting new developments in transport and communications.
    Geometric shapes - representing the machine and technology which it was thought would solve all our problems.
    The new woman - revelling in her recently won social freedoms.
    Breaking the rules - cacophonous jazz, short skirts and hair, shocking dances.
    Ancient cultures - for oddly enough, there was a fascination with the civilizations of Egypt and central America. Self-Guided Walks

    There are guided walking tours which would give you a lot more information, we just walked around Napier with the ART DECO WALK booklet which we bought from the tourist information centre for $5. The booklets are for sale at other places in Napier.

    The walk is 1.5 kilometres long and takes about 1.5hours and it really is quite interesting.
    The town seems very proud of its buildings, they were all nicely painted and well looked after, a credit to Napier!

    Main street Napier
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    TE REINGA FALLS

    by balhannah Written Feb 2, 2010

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    Te Reinga Falls were raging because of recent rain! A few minutes walk from the carpark and picnic area takes you to the lookout to view the spectacular 35 metre falls.

    Just above the bridge the Hangaroa and Ruakituri Rivers combine to form the Wairoa River.

    Te Reinga falls
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    MOHAKA VIADUCT - RAUPUNGA

    by balhannah Written Feb 2, 2010

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    Continuing on our scenic drive, a big surprise was seeing the extremely high Mohaka River Viaduct.
    This is the highest railway viaduct in Australasia, standing 95m above the Mohaka river.

    Construction began in 1930, but was not completed until 1937. At the time of its construction the viaduct was the fourth highest in the world and its completion was the final link in the Napier – Wairoa rail line which had commenced at Napier in 1912.

    The trestle-constructed Mohaka Viaduct, crosses the Mohaka River close to the small settlement of Raupunga.

    Mohaka viaduct
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    Visit the National Aquarium.

    by worldkiwi Updated Apr 8, 2006

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    The National Aquarium is situated on Marine Parade, about a kilometre from the city centre. The building is quite a unique piece of modern architecture, resembling a giant areoplane wing, but probably meant to be a big grey whale or dolphin! There is a statue (pictured) of fisherman at the northern end, well worth a moment of your time.
    The aquarium, by world standards, is tiny. The biggest attractions are a crocodile and enchanting sea turtles that will captivate you as they glide around their rather small tank. The kids will probably enjoy this attraction more than the adults, but at NZ$13 for 'the olds' it's not too bad a price to pay for a one hour diversion from the outside attractions in Napier.
    There is a kiwi house here as well, where you can watch our nation's nocturnal icon digging for food or generally just looking cute (yes, Kiwi do look cute with their cat like whiskers and soft looking fur-like feathers!).

    Sculpture at the National Aquarium, Napier.
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    Spanish Mission Architecture

    by Kate-Me Written Mar 21, 2004

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    Not quite as noticeable as that at Hastings, Napier has quite a few examples of Spanish Mission architecture mixed in between all the Art Deco buildings, and I must say, I soon developed a very good appreciation for it also. It had a very mediterranean feel to it (and so did the city while the day was so blue).

    Spanish Mission
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    More Art Deco

    by Kate-Me Updated Mar 21, 2004

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    The Art Deco style, for those not familiar with it, is said to have originated in the early 1900’s and burst opon the world at the International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, in Paris in 1925.

    It is characterised by things like stepped silhouettes, usually geometric motifs in the stone work, angular patterns, zig zags and shapes, symbols such as lightning flashes, animals, and, sunbursts. In New Zealand from time to time it also takes some Mayan and other ancient influences for example Egyptian.

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    Mini Golf on the esplanade

    by Kate-Me Written Mar 21, 2004

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    So many things in Napier are located right on the waterfront - on the grassy green area in front of the 'beach' (which is gravelly and doesn't look at all like a beach) and this mini golf range is another one, with a beautiful view of the ocean while you play.

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    Visit Hastings!

    by Kate-Me Written Mar 26, 2004

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    When visiting Napier, you also shouldn't miss visiting nearby Hastings (about 20 kms away, inland). For me, it wasn't quite as glamourous, missing those spectacular ocean views and good high vantage points, but Hastings too has its own charm and much Art Deco architecture, with the addition of more Spanish Mission architecture than Napier (which I found really interesting to see).

    example of Spanish Mission
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    Information Centre

    by Kate-Me Written Mar 26, 2004

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    Hastings Information Centre, also a Spanish Mission building, in Russell Street is a good place to start your exploration of Hastings.
    (Russell Street is also the street where the Spanish Mission buildings are most numerous, so you don't have to look far to find some).

    Information Centre
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