Funding for Napier's Art Deco Heritage buildings

  • Maggie Barry
Arts, Culture and Heritage

Three of Napier city centre’s art deco and character buildings are to receive more than $180,000 for earthquake strengthening work.

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry made the announcements in Napier today and says they’re part of round two of the Heritage EQUIP scheme which was set up in 2016 to support private owners of heritage buildings get necessary earthquake strengthening work done.

“Heritage buildings are an important part of the character of New Zealand, but the cost of strengthening can, in some cases, be prohibitive and unsustainable for owners. Heritage EQUIP provides support to preserve our built heritage,” Ms Barry says.

Following the Napier Earthquake in on February 3, 1931 much of Napier had to be re-built.

“As hard as that must have been at the time, we now have a wonderful collection of Art Deco buildings which have made Napier’s CBD famous. The strengthening work will ensure the buildings are safe for the public and make sure the buildings remain part of our heritage for years and generations to come,” Ms Barry says.

“The Art Deco architecture on display in Napier is a considerable tourist drawcard so there are substantial economic benefits to undertaking this work.”  

“As well as the funding, Heritage EQUIP includes web-based information and resources to help owners,”

The Napier buildings to be strengthened are:

  • Mid City Plaza, Dickens St end (grant of $150,000) is part of the Napier historic city centre and is registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The plaza was built between 1920 and 1925 and survived the Napier earthquake with little damage. The grant will contribute towards the cost of removing, replacing and bracing the unreinforced first floor, and constructing ground floor foundations and shear walls. 
  • Munster Chambers (grant of $17,500) was designed by local architects J A Louis Hay and Natusch and Sons. Construction was finished in 1933. It has unreinforced masonry walls which pose a risk to occupants, but they are the only element which are giving the building its earthquake risk status. It is a category 2 historic place.
  • Gallate’s Building at 148 Emerson St (grant of $14,753) was completed in 1932. It is currently a menswear shop and residential apartments. The exterior has already been upgraded to ensure it contributes to Napier’s Art Deco streetscape. It is a group 1 heritage building on the Napier District Plan and is part of the Napier City Centre Historic Area. It needs strengthening to improve the connection between the roof framing and the side walls on the first floor.