Monday, February 20, 2012

Art Deco Celebrations - Napier, New Zealand

Art Deco is kinda a big thing in the city I live in. 

There was a catastrophic earthquake in 1931 which pretty much levelled most of the town and the buildings that didn't succumb to the earthquake in the CBD, were largely taken in the fires that followed.

And hence Napier was rebuilt over the following years in an era where the Art Deco style was all the rage.

Much taken for granted until nearly two decades ago, we now have an annual celebration 'Art Deco Weekend' which sees 10's of thousands of people come from all over the country (and the world) to take part in the various organised events - free and otherwise celebrating the era when gramophones and flapper dresses were in vogue. 

It's really quite a sight to wander down the street and see a mix of people dressed in current day and art deco style - vintage cars and modern, you can even look in the sky and see the red checker (spelling?) acrobatic planes in one direction and an Air NZ ATR72 doing it's normal run in the other - I never quite get used to it!

This year, my boys were participants in the 'Soap Box Derby' and so we spent several hours in town soaking in the atmosphere and sights.  Isn't it amazing?!!

Personally ... I wouldn't stand there!

A fabulous aerial display that went on for hours

They had the crowd dancing!

I would love to know what this style of singing is called - it was similar to barber shop but with women (obviously!)

Carts lined up and ready

the start of the dancing

Some seriously well restored vintage cars

wonder how the dogs are enjoying the ride in the baskets?

A ticketed lunch with bubbles

My boys :)

all manner of carts

Part of the Great Gatsby Picnic

Cake plates and crystal abounds!

Check out the chair coverings!


  1. I bet your lads had such fun Mel, what great photos, cheers Marie

  2. The Art Deco weekend is on my list of things to do one day.
    We used to come down every year for the Harvest Festival (until I became allergic to NZ Wine) and couldn't do 2 in a row, nothing to stop us now - might see you around next year :-D

    1. I have another friend who has an allergic reaction to wine - a few sips and she's sneezing and snuffling - most unfortunate! Would be great to see you here :)

  3. I think the girl barber shop singers are called sweet adelines

  4. Looks like a fantastic day! Lovely to see pictures of Napier - I lived in Havelock North for a year when I finished school and fell in love with the area!

    1. Oh nice Jill, Havelock North is a rather lovely place to shop!!

  5. I only realised on the weekend that the earthquake here last year happened 80 years and 4 days after the Napier one. I love the art deco buildings in Napier. I don't think I truly appreciated them last time I was there, about 15 years ago. I'd love to come back one day, and properly admire them.

    I can only hope that in 80 years time, people look back with similar admiration at the buildings that were built in Christchurch to replace the old ones.

    1. I know Rose (think it was 80 years and 19 days 3/2/1931 was Napier's)- February has not been a good month in history for NZ.

      I've thought the very same that it would be wonderful if Christchurch's rebuild is something iconic and beautiful to celebrate in years to come. I think it will be.


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