The Napier Borough Council relinquished control under the Municipal Corporations Act 1920, and two Commissioners were appointed by the Government to oversee and manage the reconstruction of the town, working with the Napier Reconstruction Committee. They were - John Saxon Barton, a lawyer and accountant and Lachlan Bain Campbell, an engineer.

Reconstruction Finance:

An Earthquake Relief Fund was opened by the Prime Minister and eventually reached
$800,000. A Government Grant of $20,000 built Tin Town. $3,000,000 was given by the Government in the form of loans.

Associated Architects:

The four architectural practices in Napier in 1931 banded together to share facilities and bring a unity of purpose to the task of rebuilding the town, working in shifts around the clock. But they continued (except in rare cases) to design the buildings individually. These firms were -
      E A Williams, who favoured the Art Deco style.
      Finch & Westerholm, which designed mainly in the Spanish Mission style.
      Natusch & Sons, whose work tended to reflect the growing modern movement.
      J A Louis Hay, who usually designed buildings inspired by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, and       occasionally Louis Sullivan.


The Hastings Carnival to celebrate the rebuilding was held in November 1932.
The New Napier Carnival was held in January 1933, by which time most of the main reconstruction was completed or nearly so.

View the movie:
The Art Deco Trust has a daily showing of the movie “The Day That Changed the Bay” between 9:00am and 4.30pm. Learn about the devastating earthquake that destroyed the city. New Zealand's worst natural disaster is captured on a short film documenting the journey through the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and describes the vigour, passion and determination that resulted in the city being rebuilt in 22 months.

To view the movie, simply pop into the Art Deco Centre and see the Walks and Tours desk.

Reference Books:
The following book can be purchased from the Art Deco Trust: “The Hawke’s Bay Earthquake” by the late Robert McGregor (Art Deco Trust, 1998). If you would like to purchase this book click here.

47 The Hawkes Bay Earthquake(copy)