Napier City Centre Historic Area

City Centre Incl. Clive & Memorial Squares, Napier

  • Napier City Centre Historic Area. Marine Parade, Napier. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Andrew Caldwell. Taken By: Andrew Caldwell. Date: 28/03/2016.
  • Napier City Centre Historic Area. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Clive Square Fountain. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shellie Evans. Taken By: Shellie Evans. Date: 16/02/2018.
  • Napier City Centre Historic Area. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Tiffen Park. Image courtesy of .
    Copyright: Neal Jennings. Taken By: Neal Jennings. Date: 26/09/2011.
  • Napier City Centre Historic Area. Plan of Historic Area from registration report..
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Date: 3/03/1995.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 7022 Date Entered 3rd March 1995 Date of Effect 3rd March 1995


Extent of List Entry

The area comprises the structures and land of Napier's central business area, Tiffen Park, Clive and Memorial Squares and an area on the eastern side of Marine Parade are included.

City/District Council

Napier City


Hawke's Bay Region


This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time the area was reassessed for registration.

On February 3, 1931, a major earthquake devastated the central business area of Napier. Only a very few buildings withstood serious damage. Virtually all of the 4.2 hectare area had to be rebuilt from scratch. The task was undertaken almost immediately, and within three years the town had been almost entirely rebuilt.

Nearly all of the city's new buildings were designed by local architects. A co-operative group called the Associated Architects of Napier was formed to get construction quickly underway. Its members were J. A. Louis Hay, E.A. Williams, C.T. Natusch and sons, and Finch and Westerholme. In the spirit of co-operation fostered by this Association, the architects attempted to relate the appearance of all the new buildings to one another. Most buildings erected following the earthquake were designed in what can very broadly be described as the Art Deco style. This style had been popularised in 1925 at the International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, held in Paris.

Art Deco was considered to be a very 'modern' style, well suited to the image that Napier wanted to project as a city. For these reasons, Art Deco buildings found favour with both architects and the public. A number of buildings erected after the earthquake were not Art Deco at all, the 'Spanish Mission' style being a popular alternative. They add a Mediterranean flavour to the city well suited to the sunny climate, and they relate well to their Art Deco neighbours.

Not all buildings in the nominated area are in Art Deco or related styles of the 1930's. A few buildings survived the earthquake virtually intact and are compatible with the general character of the area.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Proposal for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

The Napier earthquake and the devastation it caused is a significant event in New Zealand's history. The plain symmetrical forms of the Art Deco style made the new buildings both cheap to erect and safe, ideal for the reconstruction of post-earthquake Napier. With New Zealand in the grips of the Great Depression, functional design meant that buildings could be built quickly and at minimal cost.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Proposal for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.


Napier City centre does not contain the grandest examples of the Art Deco style in the world but it does have an unique concentration of Art Deco buildings. The Art Deco style is characterised by plain symmetrical forms and these plain facades are enlivened by typical Art Deco features such as stepped pyramidal rooflines, half octagon window frames, decorations in the form of motifs and reliefs and geometric patterns such as zigzags, triangles and sunburst motifs.


The reinforced concrete construction of most of the new buildings considerably reduced potential danger in a future disaster.


The area has considerable townscape value and aesthetic qualities. All of the buildings are of a compatible scale. Their homogeneity of age and style gives the streets a picturesque quality evoking the spirit of the 1930's.

The buildings, open spaces, and street furniture of the Napier City Centre, as well as having considerable scenic value, provide Napier with a continuity with its past. The large concentration of Art Deco buildings, constructed during the years following the 1931 earthquake, are compatible in age and scale and form a unique streetscape.

There has been a resurgence of interest in Art Deco recently, and the importance of Napier in world terms gives the city a special identity which is becoming widely recognised.


Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

The following places are identified on the 'Kep to Map' in the Recommendation for Registration report completed when the area was reassessed for registration.

1) Shakespeare Hotel (cnr 811 Brewster St & Shakespeare Rd)

2) AMP (#1107)

3) South British Insurance Co (cnr 11 Browning St & Herschell St)

4) Look-Nu (Kalafat Super Service Station cnr 2 Hastings St & Tennyson St)

5) Abbott's Building (State Advances Corp. 6-20 Hastings St)

6) Bon Marche (fmr McKenzie's, 24 Hastings St)

7) Parker's Chambers (now Bon Marche, 24 Hastings St & Herschell St)

8) Bank of New South Wales (#1109)

9) Thorp's (#1137)

10) Cox's Building (44 Hastings St)

11) Holland's (52 Hastings St)

12) Robert Holt Building (cnr 17, 21 Tennyson St & Marine Parade)

13) Masonic Hotel (#1154

14) BNZ (#1112)

15) Mutual Chambers (108 & 110 Hastings St)

16) McClurg's (112 & 114 Hastings St)

17) Jessica's (134 Hastings St)

18) Haynes (now Wizards 138 Hastings St & Marine Parade)

19) Odean Theatre (142-154 Hastings St)

20) Callinicos Building (158 Hastings St)

21) Paxie's Building (#4835)

22) AGC (192-8 Hastings St & 157 Marine Parade)

23) Post Office (#1158)

24) Hyde's Building (141 &145 Hastings St)

25) Bennett's (#1132)

26) Arthur Barnetts (#1133)

27) Criterion Hotel (#1128)

28) Market Reserve Building (#4413)

29) Bryant Building

30) Ritchie's (45 Hastings St)

31) Harston's (#1143)

32) Ringland's (#1169)

33) Barry Bros. Building (21-23 Browning St)

34) Ministry of Works (#2805)

35) Telephone Exchange (35 Browning St)

36) Hawkes Bay County Council (#4820)

37) Museum (9 Herschell St)

38) New Zealand Insurance (#1163)

39) McGlashans (39 Tennyson St)

40) Macky, Logan & Caldwell (49 Tennyson St)

41) The Daily Telegraph (#1129)

42) Munster Chambers (#4816)

43) Sainsbury & Logan (#2810)

44) Ross & Glandinning (#4815)

45) Scinde Building (#4814)

46) Timms (79 Tennyson St)

47) Municipal Theatre (#4812)

48) Rayment's Garage (Faulknor's) (143-147 Tennyson Street)

49) Fire Chiefs Flats (155-7 Tennyson Street)

50) Desco (#1131)

51) Salmon Motors (116 Tennyson St)

52) Old Flame Restaurant (112 Tennyson St)

53) Public Trust Office (#1167)

54) Hildebrandt's Building (#4813)

55) H B Building and Investment Society (86 Tennyson St)

56) McCulloch, Butler & Spence (76 Tennyson St)

57) Halsbury Chambers (74 Tennyson St)

58) State Fire Insurance Office (58 Tennyson St)

59) Tennyson Chambers (#4817)

60) Gladstone Chambers (#4818)

61) State Insurance (#1172)

62) Bowmans Building (#4819)

63) H B Chambers (#4823)

64) Olympic Properties (#2809)

65) Olympic Properties (116 Emerson St)

66) Smith & Chambers (#4824)

67) J S Golding (136 Emerson St)

68) Self Help (#4826)

69) Gallates (148 Emerson St)

70) Hallensteins (152 Emerson St)

71) McCreadys (#4827)

72) Kidson's Corner (#4828)

73) Napier Building (#1157)

74) C E Rogers (#4830)

75) Burton's Building (182 Emerson St)

76) Fenwick Building (196 & 200 Emerson St)

77) A King Building (202 Emerson St)

78) Singer Building (208 Emerson St)

79) Colenso Chambers (#1117 CR)

80) Hope Building (226 Emerson St)

81) Shanghai Buildings (232 Emerson St)

82) R Sang Building (238 Emerson St)

83) Provincial Hotel (#1166)

84) Clive Square Building (cnr 269-79 Emerson St & Clive Sq East)

85) Methodist Trustees Building (251A & B Emerson St)

86) Boylands (245 Emerson St)

87) Loo Kee & Co (239 Emerson St)

88) Cosmopolitan Club (139 Dickens & Emerson St)

89) Hawkes Bay Farmers Co-op (205 & 213 Emerson St & 123-41 Dickens St)

90) Central Hotel (#1114)

91) C B Hansen Building (77-81 Dalton St)

92) Masson House (#1155)

93) C D Cox (58 Dalton St)

94) Welsford's (157 Emerson St)

95) Lockyer's (153-5 Emerson St)

96) Rice's Building (147 Emerson St)

97) Eastern & Central (#4825)

98) Hurst's Building (125A Emerson St)

99) Deka (113 Emerson St)

100) Emerson Building (93 Emerson St)

101) McGruer's (#2803)

102) Arthur Barnetts (also refer to no. 26)

103) Hannah's (49 Emerson St)

104) A & B BuildinG (#183)

105) Dalgety's (#1130)

106) Dalton Chambers (97 Dalton St)

107) H B Farmers Garage (cnr Dickens St & 110 Dalton St)

108) Hawkes Bay Electric Co (203 Dickens St)

109) State Theatre (#2812)

110) Chisholm Building (126 Dalton St)

111) Gaiety Theatre (#2811)

112) Eames Building (44 Dickens St)

113) Golden Crown (#4832)

114) Automobile Assn (#1106)


1) Blythe Fountain (#1110)

2) Cenotaph (#1113)

3) Cluster Lamps (#1116).

4) Veronica Colonade, Marine Parade

Construction Dates

Report Written By


Information Sources

McKenzie, 1985 (2)

James McKenzie, Napier City Centre Conservation Area, New Zealand Historic Places Trust (1985)

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Central region office.

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

Historic Area Place Name

A King Building
A.M.P. Building (Former)
Abbott's Building (State Advances Corporation)
ASB Bank
Automatic Telephone Exchange
Automobile Association Building (Former)
Bank of New South Wales Building (Former)
Barry Bros. Building
Bennett's Building
Blythe Memorial Fountain
Blythes Building
Bon Marche (former McKenzie's)
Bowman Building
Bryant's Building
Burton's Building
C.E. Rogers & Co Building (Former)
Callinicos Building
CB Hansen Building
CD Cox
Central Fire Station (Former)
Central Hotel
Chief Post Office (Former)
Chisholm Building
Clive Square Building
Cluster Lamps
Colin Townshend's Audiovisual Building (Including Cox's Menswear and Corbetts Jewellers)
Cosmopolitan Club [Demolished]
County Hotel (Former)
Cox's Building
Criterion Hotel
Daily Telegraph Building
Dalgety and Company Limited Building (Former)
Dalton Chambers
Eames Building
Eastern & Central Trusteebank Building
Emerson Building (Gahagans)
F. Thorp and Company Building (Former)
Fenwick Building
Fire Chief's House (Former)
Gaiety de Luxe Picture Theatre (Former)
Gladstone Chambers
Golding Building
Government Buildings (Former)
Halsbury Chambers
Harstons Building
Hawke's Bay Chambers
Hawke's Bay County Council Offices (Former)
Hawkes Bay Electric Co [demolished]
Hawkes Bay Farmers Co-op (Bay Plaza)
Haynes (now Wizards)
HB Building and Investment Society
HB Famers Garage
Hildebrandts Building
Hope Buildings
Hurst's Building
Hyde's Building
JS Golding
Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Company
Kidson's Corner Building
Kinross White Limited Building (Former)
Loo Kee and Co
Look-Nu (Kalafat Super Service Station)
Macky, Logan and Caldwell
Market Reserve Building
Masonic Hotel
Masson House
McCready's Building
McCulloch, Butler and Spence
McGlashans (Daily Telegraph)
McGruer's Building
Methodist Trustees Building
Ministry of Transport Building
Municipal Theatre
Munster Chambers
Mutual Chambers
Napier Building
Odean Theatre
Old Flame Restaurant
Olympic Properties (1936)
Olympic Properties (1949)
Parkers Chambers
Paxies Restaurant Building
Provincial Hotel
Public Trust Building
R Sang Building
Rayment's Garage (Faulknor's)
Rice's Building
Ringlands Building
Robert Holt Building
Sainsbury, Logan and Williams Building
Salmon Motors
Scinde Building and Scinde Lodge No. 5
Self Help-Shoppers Building
Shakespeare Hotel
Shanghai Buildings
Singer Building
South British Insurance Company Building [Demolished]
State Fire Insurance Office
State Theatre
T & G Building
Tennyson Chambers
Timms (Murray, Roberts & Co. Ltd)
Veronica Colonade