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Sunday, February 23, 2020

Back to Napier for Art Deco Festival

After staying for a few days in rural Maraekakaho, south of Hastings, the next stop on our ICA rally was to Napier for the Art Deco Weekend.   The Art Deco Trust puts together a very full programme,  and as first time attendees, everything was new to us.  The highlight to us was the vintage car parade, with 300 pre-1946 cars registered.   We spent some time admiring these beauties as they awaited the start of the parade.  How did the passengers clamber up into those dickey seats and get settled while dressed to the nines, I wonder?


Lovingly restored vintage cars

In my opinion, there is nothing more thrilling than a pipe band - the Hawkes Bay Highland Pipe band started playing and got my toes tapping and my (diluted) Scots blood racing through the veins.  Then there was the  Royal New Zealand Navy Band looking extra smart in their white uniforms as they started playing before the parade – two great bands indeed.

Hawkes Bay Highland Band and the Royal NZ Navy Band

The navy played a crucial role in Napier during the 1931 earthquake.  At 10:46 am on 3 February 1931 an earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale shook throughout New Zealand, its epicentre just 15.2 kms north of Napier. The initial shock lasted for 2.5 minutes.  In the city of Napier, buildings and chimneys toppled, roads broke apart and the earth heaved and opened.   Water rushed out of the harbour as the ground rose. Veronica was ‘left high and dry, all the wire mooring lines broke, but the ropes, made from New Zealand flax, held, and prevented her from rolling over on her side.’ Commander Morgan landed rescue teams to assist the injured, feed the hungry and help establish a sense of order amidst the chaos.  Fires were ablaze on shore, power and water supplies were cut and hundreds discovered they were homeless.  Two merchant ships at anchor nearby, the Taranaki and Northumberland placed themselves under naval command and assisted in the relief efforts.

Once the car parade, the bands, and marching girls had moved off, it was time to make our way to see some of the other delights on show.  Ladies walked by dressed in their beaded finery, fancy feather headdresses, and some sporting fox furs around their shoulders.  The gents were also elegantly dressed, braces, hats, some in knickerbocker trousers too.    My daughter Nicky was also in Napier enjoying the festivities and we arranged to meet further along the street.  “You always want to take photos”, she complained.  “That’s what mothers do”, I told her.  

SIL Robert, daughter Nicky, and her friend Heather

There was a “Traction Trundle” taking place -  look what fun this bunch of revelers are having.  Other working vintage engines were on display.  Flying displays by the Warbirds Display Team roared overhead.  We watched as the planes flew in formation, and looped the loop.  Then one would break away from the group, fly up high, then nose down seemingly in a suicide mission, luckily pulling up in the nick of time and continue on his way.  Thrilling stuff indeed!


Vintage steam engines

Later in the afternoon our group had their own Best Dressed competition, and what a lovely bunch we were.  After the judges put their heads together and made their decisions, the winners were announced, Best Dressed Couple, Best Dressed Lady, and Best Dressed Gentleman.  Congratulations to the winners.

Art Deco Dressup

All dressed up

Our time at Napier experiencing Art Deco has come to an end, next stop is Kairakau on the east coast.  That should be fun, we have never stayed there before.


June's Jottings said...

Jenny you sound as if you had a wonderful time away, and you certainly look quite 'spiffy' all dressed up.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

sounds like a fun place and love seeing you and Robin dressed up. I love hearing pipes also and do not hear that much here in our area of the states but did when I lived a little north of Chicago years ago in the parades in Milwaukee WI years and years ago.

Tired Teacher 2 said...

What a fun-filled day! You and Robin look fabulous - I bet you won a category or two.

Karen S said...

What a wonderful festival. It looks like there was a great range of events to be enjoyed.. Very organised a well run and definitely a lot of fun!

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

We took a tour of the art deco architecture in Miami years ago. It was fascinating. What a great photo of you and Robin and what a great event.

Janice said...

Oh, I am so jealous. It looks to be such a fun weekend. We were so lucky to just catch the start of it when we visited. We will get there one day. Your crew certainly came up well with a scrub. You all look very flash in your finery.