The Trust

The Trust

A low rise art deco building painted blue and pink

Art Deco Trust is a guardian, a storyteller, and an interpreter of unique national treasures.

The guardian of a collection of art deco buildings constructed after the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake and fire;

The storyteller of courageous people who were able to imagine a new city and adopt the energy and optimism of a modern art and design movement to create it; and

The interpreter of the spirit of Art Deco to audiences in Hawkes Bay, and the world.


The Art Deco Trust came out of a group formed in 1985 to protect the unique 1930s buildings that for 50 years had been unrecognised, undervalued and were under threat of demolition.

Thanks to the advocacy of a new generation of courageous people with vision, these heritage buildings are now recognised, valued and protected. Thanks to the Trust’s Robert McGregor Heritage Fund, supported by Napier City Council and Heritage Working Group, funds are now available to help preserve and restore Hawke’s Bay’s Art Deco heritage.


The story of how Napier rose out of the rubble and ashes of the 1931 earthquake is just the compelling opening chapter of a bigger and equally intriguing story of how Napier people, New Zealanders and many world-wide fell in love with treasures that had been hiding in plain sight for 50 years. There are the stories of those who created the buildings, of the battles lost and won in the fight to preserve the historic precinct, and of those buildings brought back from the brink.


Emerging after the First World War, the Art Deco Movement celebrated the modern age, the machine, and synthetic materials. Its designs were simple. Its spirit was optimistic and energetic. People had the opportunity to imagine a new future. Napier embraced the chance to modernise and bring beauty from the ashes. The Trust is the interpreter of that spirit of the 1930s to New Zealand in the 2020s.

Let the spirit of Art Deco shine on!

Our History

In February 1985 a group of passionate heritage advocates joined together in order to promote the newly published “Take a Walk Through Art Deco Napier” leaflet, which had been funded by the Hawke’s Bay Museum, the Ministry of Works & Development and the Napier City Council 

In June 1985 this group organised the premiere of Peter Wells’ television film “Newest City On The Globe”; on a fine winter Sunday afternoon, a crowd of 1100 people turned out to walk the streets of Napier and view its buildings, before viewing the film in a 340-seat theatre. The public’s enthusiasm encouraged those involved to continue working for the preservation, enhancement and promotion of Napier’s unique architecture, constructed after the Earthquake of 1931.

Art Deco Trust was legally incorporated in 1987. 

In 1992, with support from the Napier City Council, the Trust became a full-time operation with a salaried staff member and its own premises and shop at what was once the Napier’s Central Fire Station in Tennyson Street, Napier.

In 2008 Art Deco Trust became a registered charity: CC21328

Today the Trust occupies a hugely increased space at 7 Tennyson Street, Napier. the renamed Art Deco Centre. Governed by a Board of Trustees, the staff are supported by over 120 dedicated volunteers.

NZBN 9429042577935
Incorporation Number 340607
Date of Incorporation 27-Mar-1987


Jeremy Smith, Heritage Manager / GM
Jane Roberts, Finance and Administration Manager
Micah Willits, Tourism Operations Manager
Fiona Simon, Walks Assistant
Jess Leslie, Events Manager
Heather Walter, Events Assistant
Matthew Bonnett, Membership & Marketing Coordinator
Maggie Genet, Customer Experience Assistant
Kaleen Cooke, Customer Experience Assistant
Robyn Malony, Customer Experience Assistant
Christine Bongiovanni, Retail Assistant

Art Deco Trust
7 Tennyson Street,
Napier, New Zealand
Phone: +64 6 835 0022
Email the Art Deco Trust
Instagram: @artdeconapier

Art Deco Festival Napier
7 Tennyson Street,
Napier, New Zealand
Phone: +64 6 835 0022
Email the Festival
Instagram: @art_deco_festival

Become a volunteer

Help preserve and protect the Art Deco heritage of Napier and Hawke’s Bay by becoming a Trust Volunteer – become a walk guide, vintage car driver, support us during our Festival periods, retail and administration.

Phone 06 835 0022 and press 1 for walks, tours, and retail, or email

Become a member

Help preserve and protect the Art Deco heritage of Napier and Hawke’s Bay by becoming a member of the Aert Deco Trust. Membership starts from $40.

Phone 06 835 0022 and press 3 for membership or email for more details. 

We would love to hear from you.

Board of Trustees

Barbara Arnott, Chair
Martin Bain
Rachel Bashnick, Deputy Chair
Amy Cowan
Simon Dunn
Ben Hutton
Councillor Chad Tareha

Jan Simmonds, Trust Secretary

Risk, Finance and Audit Commitee
Rachel Bashnick, Chair
Barbara Arnott
Jeremy Smith
Jane Roberts

Health and Safety Committee
Martin Bain
Tony Mairs
Jane Roberts
Jeremy Smith, Chair
Ana Sullivan

Volunteers Committee
Judy Anderson
Derek Forsdick
Robyn Holt
Tony Mairs
Ana Sulivan, Chair
Rose Unsworth

Festival Committee
John Cocking
Ben Hutton, Chair
Jess Leslie
Jeremy Smith

Building Committee
Barbara Arnott
Simon Dunn, Chair
Jeremy Smith

Child Protection Committee
Micah Willits
Jane Roberts, Chair
Jeremy Smith

Heritage Working Group
Matthew Bonnett, Historic Places Hawke’s Bay
Ronda Chrystal, Napier City Councillor
Michael Fowler, Historian and ex Art Deco Trust
Ann Galloway, Architect and Art Deco Trust member
David Low, Art Deco Trust volunteer
Fleur Lincoln, Strategic Planning Lead, Napier City Council
Guy Marriage, Senior Lecturer, Wellington School of Architecture
Jeremy Smith, Heritage Manager/GM, Art Deco Trust

Reference Documents

Rules of Art Deco Trust | Child Protection Guidelines | Privacy Policy | Documents, log on required)

Learn about Napier

Explore the charm of Napier – New Zealand’s Art Deco gem! Unearth its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. Click here to learn more about Napier’s captivating allure!