“The outline of the hill turned into a giant serpent as it heaved up and down. The shock wave swept across it, creating a monster crossing the skyline.” - NG Bailey
At 10:47am on 3 February 1931, a devastating earthquake struck Hawke’s Bay. In that moment it seemed the end of the world had come.
People were thrown off their feet; buildings shuddered and collapsed as the ground pitched violently. In central Napier, fires broke out within minutes and rushed through the city. Amidst the burning, falling buildings, the bright blue sky of a summer’s day was obscured by smoke and dust.
People could only watch as their home was destroyed around them. In desperation the injured screamed for help, others ran for the safety of the beach, or home to find their families.
In Hawke’s Bay, time from then on would always be divided into before and after the earthquake. The high number of casualties and the challenge of rehabilitation and reconstruction in the middle of the Depression tested the nation, the brunt of the burden borne by every person in Hawke’s Bay who strove to reclaim their home amid the trauma of extreme loss.
Objects and archives in the MTG collections are rich with memory of the horror of that day, and of its aftermath. Visiting this exhibition is a must for those who seek to understand a place shaped by destruction on a scale unparalleled in New Zealand, of a story that has shaped a visible scar on Hawke’s Bay, and of the invisible scars - held in the memories of its places and people, still vivid over 80 years on.
The 'Survivors' Stories' film also plays throughout the day, continuously and plays for 35 minutes. The film contains the personal accounts from Hana Cotter, Audrey McKelvie, Jim Clayton, and Lauris Edmond as they describe the 1931 Napier Earthquake.
Supported by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.
Monday 17 December, 9:30am to 5:00pm
Tuesday 18 December, 9:30am to 5:00pm
Restrictions: All Ages
Build on the blossoming national and international interest in William Colenso's life and ideas as the result of the William Colenso Bicentenary Celebrations in Hawke's Bay in 2011, and a body of new publications and research.
View website for William Colenso
Strive to Inspire, Educate and Entertain by providing access to information through various resources within our Libraries. We aim to provide more than you expect.
View website for Napier Libraries
Situated in the centre of Napier, in the middle of Onekawa Park, the Napier Aquatic Centre is a safe and affordable aquatic facility for everyone.
View website for Napier Aquatic Centre
We offer an all purpose built venue that uniquely combines spectacular outlooks with functional layout.
View website for Napier Conference Centre
We are Hawkes Bay's premier holiday accommodation park providing an array of facilities to keep the entire family entertained.
View website for Kennedy Park Resort Napier
Visit the Napier i-SITE to find out more about what is happening in Hawkes Bay, from events, activities and accommodation.
View website for Napier i-SITE Visitor Centre
The Faraday Centre in Napier, is Hawke's Bay's Museum of Technology. It's a place of discovery where history comes alive through hands on experience.
View website for The Faraday Centre
For Napier City residents and citizens to have easy access to see what council are currently working on, completed, what they do, facilities, and council information.
View website for Napier City Council
Located in the Art Deco city of Napier. We have worked closely with our builders to promote and develop high quality housing within an open-aspect environment.
View website for Parklands Residential Estate
Unique Art Deco heritage has been preserved with the skilful addition of modern theatre facilities making it the best provincial performing arts centre in the nation.
View website for Napier Municipal Theatre
Nowhere else in New Zealand will you discover a wider range of marine animals and native species in a single facility than at the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
View website for National Aquarium of New Zealand
Located on Marine Parade, Napier, is the Bay Skate Park - home to skateboarding, BMX, roller derby, inline hockey and scootering.
View website for Bay Skate
Come to Par2 MiniGolf and meet Seamore the Seagull at our sea-side minigolf courses. Challenge your friends and family for a round.
View website for Par2 MiniGolf
If you have any questions, problems or feedback for MTG Hawke's Bay please let us know about it.