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Earthquake funding for Napier’s Art Deco Heritage buildings

Category: national

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

The funding forms 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.

Following the Napier Earthquake in on February 3, 1931 much of Napier had to be re-built. The Art Deco architecture on display in Napier is considered a tourist drawcard to the region, which the government says, justifies the investment.

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.

In addition to providing funding, Heritage EQUIP includes web-based information and resources to help owners. More information can be found here: www.heritageequip.govt.nz.

Image credit: Art Deco Trust