Day 257 on the Road
New Zealand’s Art Deco City!
Today we are exploring Napier City on an Art Deco Tour in Napier. If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand then just plop yourself on our epic YouTube Channel & Subscribe!
So today we arrive in Napier the Art Deco Capital of New Zealand and we are going to show you what the hell is art deco.
We’re on the road really early this morning.
I’m driving. We’re coming to a one way bridge everyone. Hold onto your hats.
Laura at the wheel is not as scary as it seems she’s actually a really safe driver she just never drives.
Finally arrived in Napier the art deco city of New Zealand the city was completely rebuilt in the art deco style after a massive earthquake that turned the city into flame and started many fires and we’re gonna learn all about that during our tour with the Art Deco Trust Centre. It’s a two hour walk tour all around Napier and we’re gonna see a tonne of art deco buildings and it’s gonna be absolutely epic.
The Art Deco Centre is going to be the start of our 2 hour guided walking tour around Napier city checking out the art deco architecture. And inside the centre they have a really fun and quirky art deco style gift shop with lots of amazing trinkets and costumes on sale.
Our art deco tour begins with a bit of a presentation on the context of Napier’s art deco architecture and why it’s exactly here. That’s because there was a huge earthquake a 7.5 earthquake on the rictor scale which devastated the city and they decided to rebuild in a really cool and funky way through the art deco style.
We’re also explained what exactly is art deco, cos to be honest, Robin and I didn’t even know what art deco was until we got here. Basically it’s a type of design with patterns, angular shapes and symbols of power, freedom and the dawn of a new age which was fitting in the 1920s when this style was created and it’s fitting for a riving town such as Napier after the earthquake.
Niki is incredibly passionate about the art deco style and it’s quite interesting to see her passion for the old art form it hasn’t been used much lately. And we can here all her commentary through the headset that we have been provided. Niki is basically fit with a microphone and we listen to her through the receiver and headset that we’ve been provided it’s a really cool way to make sure that everybody can hear her entire commentary without having to gather everybody together.
It gives us a little bit of freedom to wander around and check out what she’s actually talking about.
Niki talks about all the notable features about the art deco style while we are walking through the streets. She points out a lot of stuff that we basically wouldn’t have noticed if we were walking on our own. But the one thing that I love the most about this entire tour is how many times she uses the word “ziggurat”. Ziggurat is this zigzag shape proper to the art deco style it features on every single building that we are seeing and you know what? I just can’t stop saying it ziggurat ziggurat ziggurat.
As we are walking around on this art deco tour we get to appreciate how good looking Napier city is. Every shop window has a beautiful art deco style facade which is impeccably maintained and we’ve not been in a city like this in New Zealand or pretty much anywhere else that we’ve visited in the world.
Not only do we get to appreciate art deco architecture from the outside, but where possible we even go into buildings to check out some of the interiors of those beautiful art deco style.
Niki explains the history of Napier as well as the ideas behind the buildings’ architecture using aids like photographs and diagrams and building plans and she even points out some hidden features that we see through letterboxes inside some of the buildings.
Considering we have only been in Napier for less than an hour this tour has been a great introduction to Napier and giving us really some context as to why Napier looks the way it does. And one last feature Niki is so excited to show us is the lead lighting windows.
The lead lighting windows are really reminiscent to stained glass windows that are usually found in churches. And it’s a really classic true art deco style of windows.
By the end of the tour Niki takes us inside another art deco building which has heaps of geometrical shapes everywhere from the stairs to the lighting to the ceiling it’s really awesome.
And the last place that we see during our tour is actually our accommodation of our stay. It’s the Archies Bunker right in the city centre of Napier.
A quick movie to finish the tour and we are off.
There’s often people sort of you know lagging behind trying to get all Picasso on the bloody buildings take the best photos.
Picasso on the bloody buildings? Oh my God. What was that?
I’ll start again.