At 10.47am on the morning of Tuesday 3rd February 1931, a deadly earthquake (measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale) levelled the town of Napier in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand.  Buildings left standing were soon consumed by fire, with firemen having to stand by, helpless to act, as water pipes had fractured in the quake.  256 people lost their lives that day in what remains New Zealand’s biggest earthquake with greatest loss of life

The town was re-built in the then architecture styles of the day, Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission but above all, Art Deco.

We spent three gloriously sunny days in Napier, and enjoyed wandering around the town, photographing the beautiful, and often colourful, buildings.

The Sunday morning Hawke’s Bay Farmer’s market at Hastings was a real treat and it was where we bought some delicious cheeses and tasty bread for our picnic later in the day.  Next stop was Mission Estate winery for a tasting session before buying a bottle of their excellent semillon to go with our cheese.

We had heard that as part of the Summer Series of free concerts, there was to be an Elvis Presley tribute act, complete with classic cars and rock’n’ roll dancers. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, so we took our picnic along to join in the fun. Now, even though there was a good turn-out, it has to be said that the singer wasn’t that good …. and I had a guy sitting next to me on the grass who sounded just like Rab C Nesbitt.   Well, Rab was soon cursing and and muttering how “terrible” the act was (which was true), but the entertainment value came from this guy’s hilarious comments!  Eventually, poor Rab had reached the end of his tether and had had enough, so he punched me on my right arm, said “We are away now, hen –  can’t stand any more of this crxx” and, with a cheery wave, he was gone! Needless to say, that without Rab’s constant muttering, it just wasn’t the same, so it wasn’t long before we left, too.  Hilarious!

We spent the evening at the Ocean Spa hot thermal pools right by the edge of the sea, with great views of the sunset and the beautiful, iconic Norfolk pine trees lining the Marine Parade.  We are really getting to like these hot pools!