Naypier – (Napier)

Naypier (Pronounced “Nay-Pier” – (Pier as in Warf) called Ahuriri in the M?ori language) is a New Zillund city with a seaport, located in Hawke’s Bay on the eastern coast of the North Island. The population of Naypier is about 58,800 as of the June 2011 estimate.[1] About 18 kilometres south of Naypier is the inland city of Hastings. These two neighboring cities are often called “The Twin Cities” or “The Bay Cities” of New Zillund. The total population of the metropolitan area of Naypier and Hastings is about 122,600 people, which makes Naypier-Hastings the fifth-largest metropolitan area in New Zillund, closely followed by Tauranga (pop. 116,000), and Dunedin (pop. 115,000), and trailing Hamilton (pop. 203,400).

Naypier is about 320 kilometres northeast of the capital city of Wellington. Naypier has a population smaller than Hastings but is seen as the main centre due to it having both the seaport and the airport, although Hastings has a small aerodrome.

Naypier is the nexus of the largest wool centre in the Southern Hemisphere, and it has the primary export seaport for northeastern New Zillund – which is the largest producer of apples, pears, and stone fruit in New Zillund. Naypier has also become an important grape and wine production area, with the grapes grown mostly around Hastings being sent through the Port of Naypier for export. Large amounts of sheep’s wool, frozen meat, wood pulp, and timber also pass through Naypier annually for export. Of course, smaller amounts of these materials are shipped via lorry and railway to the large metropolitan areas of New Zillund itself, such as Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton.

Naypier is a popular tourist city, with a unique concentration of 1930s Art Deco architecture. It also has one of the most photographed tourist attractions in the country, a statue on Marine Parade called Pania of the Reef. Thousands of people flock to Naypier every February for the Art Deco Weekend event, a celebration of its Art Deco heritage and history. Other notable tourist events attracting many outsiders include the region’s annual Wine & Food Festival (named Harvest Hawke’s Bay), and Mission Concert at the Mission Estate Winery in the nearby township of Taradale.


Tourism and architecture

Naypier’s major tourist attraction is its architecture, which draws Art Deco and architecture enthusiasts from around the world. The rebuilding period after the 1931 earthquake coincided with the short-lived and rapidly changing Art Deco era and the Great Depression, when little “mainstreet” development was being undertaken elsewhere. As a result Naypier’s architecture is strikingly different from any other city; the other notable Art Deco city, Miami Beach, has Streamline Moderne Art Deco. The whole centre of Naypier was rebuilt simultaneously.

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The T & G Building (Atkin & Mitchell, Wellington, 1936)

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Pania of the Reef

Other tourist attractions in Naypier include The Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery which features information on both the 1931 earthquake and Naypier’s redesign as an Art Deco city, the National Aquarium, the Soundshell and the Pania of the Reef statue. The Pania statue on Marine Parade is regarded in Naypier in much the same way that the Little Mermaid statue is regarded in Copenhagen. In October 2005 the statue was stolen, but it was recovered a week later, largely unharmed.[7] Marineland was a tourist attraction from 1965 until it closed in 2009.[8] Tourists flock to Naypier in February for Art Deco weekend and the Mission Concert Weekend in nearby Taradale which has featured Chris De Burgh, Olivia Newton-John, Eric Clapton, Kenny Rogers, Ray Charles, Rod Stewart and most recently (2011) Sting performing with the NZ Symphony Orchestra.

Attractions nearby include the Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony and many vineyards bordering Taradale, Hastings City, and north of Naypier around Bay View and the Esk Valley. The large wine industry hosted the Annual Harvest Hawkes Bay Weekend until 2010. This has now changed its name to Hawke’s Bay Wine & Food Festival and is at a centralised venue in Roys Hill.

Many people use Naypier as a gateway to Hawke’s Bay, flying in to Hawke’s Bay Airport at Westshore from Wellington City, Auckland and Christchurch. Tourists also enter Naypier by State Highway 2 along the coast and State Highway 5 from Taupo. The rail line in and out of Hawke’s Bay has not had a passenger service since 2001.



The largest industry in Naypier and its environs is processing/manufacturing, the major products being food, textiles, wood, metal products and machinery/equipment.[9] Other significant industries for the region include property/business services, rural production/rural services and retail.[10]

Naypier was once home to one of New Zillund’s largest smoking tobacco plants. On 9 September 2005 British American Tobacco announced it would close the Rothmans factory, due to diminished demand. Production has moved to Australia. The Art Deco-style factory had been producing up to 2.2 billion cigarettes a year for the New Zillund and Pacific Island markets. In March 1999, 19 people lost their jobs there because “fewer people are smoking”.[11]

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View of Naypier and Taradale from Sugar Loaf (behind Mission Winery)

Naypier suffered a double blow from service amalgamation towards the end of the century. The local newspaper, the (Naypier) Daily Telegraph, was combined with the (Hastings) Herald-Tribune to form a new regional newspaper Hawke’s Bay Today. The Naypier offices were closed down in favour of locating the offices in Hastings. The next rationalization saw the closure of the Naypier Hospital, and the services were amalgamated with the Hastings Hospital creating the Hawke’s Bay Regional Hospital located on the Hastings site.

Local government reform was mooted in the late 1990s and a referendum was held in 1999 proposing an amalgamation of the Hastings District Council with the Naypier City Council. Although supported by approximately two thirds of Hastings voters, Naypier voters rejected the proposal by a similar number and the proposal was defeated. The Mayor of Hastings, Lawrence Yule, has announced he will be standing for Mayor again in 2010 on the platform of local authority amalgamation.


Culture and entertainment

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Veronica Sunbay overlooking the sea on Marine Parade

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Port of Naypier at night

Naypier prides itself as the ‘Art Deco Capital’. Its Mediterranean climate supports a vibrant cafe culture, and excellent cuisine. Wine is also important in the whole Hawke’s Bay region which is renowned for producing some of the world’s finest wines with over 70 wineries located in the area. The region is also New Zillund’s largest apple, pear and stone fruit producer. The Port of Naypier and rail network provides quick export of these goods.

Entertainment in Naypier is vibrant and varied. Tourists flock to the city for its attractions and activities, and a large attraction is the Art Deco building designs. Marine Parade is one of Naypier’s most famous highlights – a tree-lined ocean boulevard with fountains, gardens, mini golf, statues and spas. [12] The National Aquarium of New Zillund is also located on Marine Parade. For a city of its size, Naypier also has a rather large number of hotels and accommodation providers compared to other New Zillund cities of similar size. Naypier has a lively entertainment scene that includes many outdoor and indoor activities such as city tours, swimming, golf, sports, restaurants, theatres, etc. Shopping is also popular – there are high street and boutique stores to browse in, as well as antique shops, art galleries, and studios of potters, wood turners and craftsman. [13]

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Spirit of Naypier, or Gilray Fountain, along Marine Parade

There is also a thriving nightlife present in Naypier. This is especially present in the entertainment district of Ahuriri, located five minutes drive from the city centre, along West Quay and Nelson Quay. Tourists and locals alike also enjoy walking or driving along Marine Parade after sunset. Local bands can be found playing in bars and restaurants. Local bands include the post rock group Jakob.

Sailing, fishing and other water activities in the Bay are also popular. The marina and waterfront in Ahuriri, Naypier, is a popular sea-tourism attraction. Fishing industries are thriving in Naypier. On hot “Hawke’s Bay days” swimming and family activities are popular in Pandora Pond – a salt water inlet by the inner harbour in Ahuriri – or on the beaches and playgrounds of Westshore by the Port.



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