Thursday, 18 August 2016

Napier- A Refreshing Walk


We've had a busy time in Napier although if you asked 'doing what?', it would be hard to answer. We've both been busy catching up on lots of small jobs on our computers and the vehicles... ours and Mum & Dads'! It's a great feeling when you cross items off your 'to do' list, although it seems I have been adding jobs to the top as fast as they're dropping off the bottom because the list looks just as long as when we arrived.

Snow still on the Kawekas this past week
It's been typical sunny and warm Hawke's Bay weather this past week or so but the big storm hit us not long after we arrived in Napier, with snow, rain and power cuts. I had a chuckle though, it was bucketing down outside, the wind was atrocious, snow had closed the Taihape & Taupo roads (a rare event, especially the Napier-Taupo) and the power was off for the second time in a few hours. 

My sister Gae & brother-in-law David, were visiting from Whangarei and we were having a small family gathering later in the evening. I went inside (we're parked beside the house) to see how they were all going- to be greeted by a miserable lot sitting in the dark, wrapped up in extra clothing, with no heating, no coffee, no breakfast, no TV and no way to cook for the party. I returned to my diesel heated van, to drink my coffee and eat my bacon & eggs while listening to my favourite music. Just another day for us, don't know what the fuss was about! Luckily the power did come back on later in the morning.

It rained solid for a good few days and by the time it stopped some of us were suffering from a dose of cabin fever, so Gae, David(BIL) & I headed to Ahuriri for a walk to blow away the cobwebs. While we were waiting for a friend to join us, I wandered down to Perfume Point to take some photos of the murals painted on the side of the lighthouse.

'Marine Protected Areas' by Aaron Glasson
The 'Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans' street art festival was held back in March. Over 30 large murals have been painted on walls around Napier. Their aim is to highlight marine environmental issues relevant to the local community. It was my intention to photograph them all before we left Napier, and I have managed to do just that later in the week. But I'm only going to show a few here, the ones we passed on the walk. I'll do another blog with the others later on.

We headed off down the boardwalk past East Pier Hotel...

...along the front of The Boardwalk Restaurant where waves from the weekend storm has left sand, seaweed and driftwood across the path.

Some hardy paddle boarders were riding the waves a little further along Hardinge Road.

And we passed another mural- Endangered Maui's Dolphins- on a wall at Napier Port.

It was very cold with a bitter wind blowing as we turned onto Marine Parade but it was lovely to breathe in the fresh sea air. It was lucky Gae borrowed Mum's big thick jacket even though it nearly swallowed her up. While these Northlanders are well used to rain, they'd forgotten how cold it can get in the Bay. 

Well, it's not quite New Brighton Pier but Napier's new viewing platform looks pretty cool against a brooding sky and rough ocean.

It's probably just as well it doesn't reach any further than the high tide mark because I can imagine the problems it would have caused with people using it as a launching platform to swim from. The waters off Marine Parade are dangerous enough at the best of times, let alone when there's a storm a brewing.

And at least the view back over the beach and along Marine Parade is one we've never seen before. 

We make our way back to the road passing two old favourites along the way; the Tom Parker Fountain and Pania of the Reef.

We head towards Shakespeare Road to walk back over Bluff Hill. The 1909 old County Council building is now a luxury boutique hotel, this was one of just two significant buildings that survived the devastating 1931 earthquake.

I spot another mural tucked beside a nearby carpark- Plastic Pollution Affecting Sea Turtles

We stop beside a familiar building, the old Cabana Hotel at the bottom of Shakespeare Road. Gae, Jill and I all went to Napier Girls High School which is just up the hill. The Cabana Hotel had a very rough reputation in it's day and any girls walking into town at lunch time or after school had to walk the gauntlet past the public bar which was usually full of drunken dropouts and sailors from the boats in port.

We carried on up Shakespeare Road, a walk we would have done dozens of times during our teenage years, even though Gae & I caught a school bus from the farm to school in our early years, and then later, rode our motorbikes or drove our own cars. We were the lucky ones, you were only allowed your own transport if you lived out of town. But we often had a pass to walk into town for various appointments or shopping.

We passed the Naked Witch, which, according to Jill, in 'famous in Napier'. I wonder if it has anything to do with a certain notorious lady who lived her final years in Napier, loved purple and was a self-proclaimed witch.

We head down the other side of hill back towards Ahuriri, and I catch a quick glimpse of Napier Girls over the top of the old dairy, a shop I saw the inside of a few too many times.

We pass this unusual tiny little house tucked into the cliff at the bottom of Shakespeare Road. Its been there for a long while but none of us know it's history.  

The many houses of Scinde Island (Bluff Hill) and Ahuriri, most built before the 1931 'quake and when water surrounded the hill, and Ahuriri was a busy port.

Gae does her best impression of a 1930's flapper beside the historic Tram Shelter near Battery Road in Ahuriri.

In 1911, the council installed an electric tram system that linked Ahuriri to downtown Napier, the service ended after the earthquake but the well-preserved tram shelter still stands and murals in keeping with Napier's Art Deco theme have been painted on the walls of the building.

We carry on along Waghorne Street, an area steeped in history, where new apartments sit alongside tiny old fisherman's cottages and industrial warehouses. Ahuriri was one of earliest settled areas of Napier when the harbour at Iron Pot was the site of Hawke's Bays main port.

We say hello to Dulcie's owner as we pass, she's having a few battery problems, poor girl.

The things you see along the backstreets...

One of the old fishing cottages...

Another Sea Wall on the side of the Navigate Hotel & Apartments- Bryde Whales & Fishing Ships

And a final wall for now, in amongst the shops and cafes of Ahuriri village- NZ Endangered Marine Animals

We cut back up Barry Street to the waterfront and the cars, passing the restored facade of the Ellison & Duncan building with it's quirky window murals.

The original building was designed by Louis Hay as part of the reconstruction of Napier following the 1931 earthquake. Louis Hay also designed the nearby iconic National Tobacco Company building.

Back at the carpark we say goodbye to Jill and head home, happy with our walk and feeling very refreshed.


  1. Great Blog,I look forward to reading every one of them.

    1. Thankyou Peter, lovely of you let me know. Much appreciated.

  2. You do find em Shellie......and that's not just local knowledge, you'd find em where you've not been before. Superb murals. Nice to hear about the naked comments tho!
    Currently planing a revisit to Napier Art Deco next year to clown around.

    1. Yes, you can count on me digging out the weird and wonderful Jimu. Art Deco weekend would suit you down to the ground. Pity we won't be here to catch you. Thanks for the comment.


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