Quietly Quintessential in Napier

A Seawalls; Murals for Oceans mural, Napier

Quietly Quintessential in Napier

Let me share with you a few treasures that you might want to look out for next time you visit Napier; quirky additions that contribute to making Hawke’s Bay the interesting place it is, to live in and to visit.

You can’t go far in Napier without seeing evidence of the Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project. This project is the initiative of the international, non-profit PangeaSeed Foundation and Napier was the first place in New Zealand to host this festival; in 2016 and, due to its phenomenal success, again in 2017. The murals are the works of local, national & international artists. They are wall-sized & colourful – and each has a conservation message pertinent to the ocean. You can get a brochure and wander around some, or the lot, using the map to guide you. Or you might prefer to happen upon them one by one as you explore Napier, challenging yourself to interpret the unique conservation message of each.

A cute little chocolate shop is nestled into the smallest of spaces at the top of Emerson Street. Owner & chocolatier, Chris Mirams, has worked for some impressive international names in the food scene and we are lucky to have him back in Hawke’s Bay. He crafts an array of beautiful chocolate treats from ethically sourced cacao. Just looking at this mouth-watering selection can send one into sensory overload, but we suggest you get your favourites boxed up and take them home to sample at your leisure.

In February each year a week-long festival of events and activities is dedicated to celebrating all things Art Deco. A myriad of small shops, selling the authentic clothing & collectables that define this era, gets well picked over in the weeks leading up to this celebration. But remember that we celebrate our Art Deco heritage every day in Napier so don’t feel as though the vibe’s not worth pursuing outside of festival week. There’s nothing like a blast from the past experienced by losing yourself in one of these beauties.

Speaking of Art Deco – you can’t find Market Street? Look down! This Market Street signage reflects a detail from the past. When Napier was rebuilt following the 1931 earthquake, the power and telephone lines were put underground. While this was all very cutting edge, with lamp-posts now redundant, there was nothing to attach street names signage to. The solution was to set these into the pavement. This is one of three original plaques remaining. See if you can spot the other two while you’re out & about.

Look upward next time you enter Paxie’s Lane. You will see that the roof-top that runs the length of the alley-way, anchors a flock of stainless-steel gannets; Flight of the Return by Napier sculptor Philipp Meier. Shadows reflected on the walls, boost the numbers of these returning birds. With the Pacific Ocean and the cliffs of Cape Kidnappers combining to form a not too distant backdrop, this installation is perfectly positioned to remind us of the significance of the gannet colony to our region.

This temporary artwork can be found (if you hurry!) in an alley-way just down from the small contemporary art gallery, The Rabbit Room. Pretty sure it was local artist Jo Blogg, who we saw creating this adhesive dot masterpiece, over the duration of the hugely successful *White Night on Saturday 20 October.*This family-friendly event was a Hawke’s Bay Arts’ Festival initiative which saw the streets of Napier’s ‘Arts Quarter’ blocked off to traffic allowing all manner of arts: visual, performance & interactive; to be explored & enjoyed by all.

We’re loving these Words on Walls! You sort of chance upon them in the back-alleys, side streets & thoroughfares of Napier. Little moments of stillness to be savoured before hitting the bustle again.

If you want a behind the scenes look at Hawke’s Bay; the quirky, the colourful, the hidden-away; book a tour https://yourtour.nz and let us share with you some quintessential Hawke’s Bay delights.