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Events In History

3 February 1931

When the earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, struck at 10.47 a.m., many buildings in central Napier and Hastings collapsed.

7 September 1921

A South African journalist was outraged when white spectators supported the New Zealand Māori rugby team playing the touring Springboks at Napier.


Regional rugby

The passion and parochialism of provincial rugby helped give the game a special place in New Zealand’s social and sporting history. Read brief histories, highlights and quirky facts about each of New Zealand's 26 regional rugby teams. Read the full article

Page 15 - Hawke's Bay rugby

History and highlights of rugby in the Hawke's Bay

Napier runs south from Bluff Hill, a small promontory of Hawke Bay, along the coast and inland towards Hastings. Rebuilt in an art deco style after the 1931 earthquake, the CBD is a bustling place, with many boutique fashion stores, galleries, restaurants and bars. Napier is separated from Hastings, its neighbour and rival, by orchards and vineyards, and by Napier’s strongly held attitudes about its identity. Founded in 1855 by the government, Napier (formerly known as Ahuriri) is Hawke’s Bay’s oldest town. The town was established on a small semi-island between the sea and an inner harbour, which was prone to flooding. However, it was an ideal location for a port, which was why Napier became the leading town of the region. Lack of space remained a problem until 1931, when the Hawke’s Bay earthquake raised the inner harbour.

Meaning of place name
Originally Ahuriri. The name commemorates Sir Charles Napier, the commander-in-chief of British forces in India. The new name was not adopted until 1858.