The waterfront gardens in Napier, New Zealand, are one of the city’s art deco showpieces, capped by the Hollywood Bowl style Soundshell.
What isn’t often realised is that they were built, literally, on the ruins of old Napier. Until 1931, this area was beach-front. A devastating earthquake that year destroyed the town centre and raised the land, sending the sea skidding back around 50 metres or so. The former beach-front, where the park is, was further built up with rubble from the city.
The gardens are little changed today from their late-1930s incarnation. It sounds almost a cliché to talk about beauty rising from the rubble of the old – but here it is, and I think that’s inspiring.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015