Napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s


30s and Clients Guide
City guide dressed in 30s style tells visitors about Napier's historical trivia.
30s Charm II
John “Bertie” Cocking displays charm to a friend of Napier's.
The Band of the 30s
Extras line up next to the jalopy in which they arrived at the port of Napier.
Art Deco Silhouettes
Thematic building facade in Napier
The Twin City Stompers
Jazz band Twin City Stompers plays and socializes with passengers on a cruise in the port of Napier.
ZQ1688
License plate for one of several classic cars that enhance Napier's Art Deco atmosphere
mechanical adventures
An extra opens the bonnet of one of the jalopy cars parked in the port of Napier, so that cruise passengers can admire the engine.
Pause for Contemplation
Cyclist stops at the cycle path that runs along the long seafront of Napier.
confraternization
Passengers and cruise crew appreciate Napier's extras present there to bid them farewell.
Jalowell Landing
One of the extras from the 30s - Art Deco by Napier, next to a jalopy.
30s Charm
John "Birdie" Cocking, the ambassador for Napier, poses in a themed shop in town.
Coquette Fashion II
Mannequin and bicycle outside a vintage Napier fashion store.
The Daily Telegraph
Art Deco facade of the old building of "The Daily Telegraph".
Coquette fashion
Napier Art Deco Trust employee in costume to match the mood of the city.
Bertie to the Commands
Birdie aboard one of Napier's clunkers.
Napier's Art Deco
Napier's Art Deco buildings.
Devastated by an earthquake, Napier was rebuilt in an almost ground-floor Art Deco and lives pretending to stop in the Thirties. Its visitors surrender to the Great Gatsby atmosphere that the city enacts.

Bertie has no hands to measure. He wolfs down a slice of chocolate cake and lets out a "Let's Go!" enthusiast that makes us immediately get up wherever it takes us.

We walked to his car and saw how, out of nowhere, he was once again attracting the attention of passers-by with his Panama hat, black and yellow striped suit, bicolor Spectator shoes and poses and expressions charleston e swing  which it enhances using an ornamental cane.

After a new photo shoot, he sits behind the wheel of the disconnected yellow-green vintage, it kicks off, and greets those left behind with lush honking horns.

Bertie in jalopy, Napier, New Zealand

Birdie aboard one of Napier's clunkers.

It was becoming more and more difficult for us to believe that we were dealing with an ex-accountant, an impression similar to that which John Cocking, the man behind the character, retains of himself.

Now 66 years old, this disaffected Brit started working at 16. At 22, he had earned the CPA diploma (Certified Public Accountant) and was preparing to make a fortune when he realized he had no interest in that project. His life went round and round and ended up taking him to faraway New Zealand and Napier, a city that was also unique.

Napier's Seismic Collapse

On February 3, 1931, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 devastated Napier. The catastrophe forced the authorities to review the city's urban code, inadequate to the seismic risk of the area. The streets were widened and the new buildings erected, as a rule, with only two floors.

Until then, Art Deco had been the popular building style but the recovery coincided with the Great Depression when, after the Empire State Building phenomenon, little or no significant city development was undertaken.

The responsible architects took advantage of the void and designed Napier with simplified influences from the lines of Frank Lloyd Wright and the buildings of the Spanish missions. The result turned out to be unique.

Art Deco, Napier, New Zealand

Napier's Art Deco buildings.

From Ruin to Irreverent Art Deco Splendor

During the 60s and 80s, some of the Art Deco buildings were replaced by contemporary ones but most remained intact long enough to stand out. From 1990 onwards, the center was restored and protected and in 2007 UNESCO named it a World Heritage Site, the first cultural place in New Zealand to achieve this status.

As an added value, since then, only another city on the face of the Earth, Miami Beach – which was erected in an Art Deco Streamline Moderne style – rivals Napier.

In the mid-80s, some residents founded Napier's Art Deco Trust. A mere leaflet created by them managed to get a thousand and such people to participate in a guided walk through the streets of the center and the regional authorities insisted on joining the effort.

Gradually, many more thousands of obsessed fans of architecture began to want to discover the city.

Art Deco Building, Napier, New Zealand.

Art Deco facade of the old building of “The Daily Telegraph”.

Thanks to the initiatives of the trust, Napier currently earns 1.14 million euros from his buildings but continues to try to increase the spectrum of admirers. John “Bertie” Cocking became his main asset.

The Promotional Prominence and Host of John Cooking, or Bertie

Already living in New Zealand, Cocking was more fed up with accounting than ever, and fell in with David Dale – a friend – that there must be something he was perfect at that could save him. To which Dale replied “well, I think you would make a great Manoel” (Barcelonian employee of the British series "Fawlty Towers").

John Cocking followed the advice. He studied the role and began performing in New Zealand restaurants. Shortly thereafter, a restaurant owner in Auckland hired him full-time and Cocking left the balance sheets for good. However, he created and adapted new roles.

It was with one of them, Bertie, that, in 1995, he proposed to Napier his acting services, suggesting that it become a kind of walking tourism delegation.

The idea immediately appealed to the city ​​councilor who felt the character embodied the historic soul of the city.

Without further hesitation, the mayor named Bertie ambassador to Napier and awarded Cocking a decent wage.

Bertie, Napier, New Zealand

John “Bertie” Cocking displays charm to a friend of Napier's.

The relationship of the local Art Deco Trust with Bertie has evolved into a strong dependency and, although Cocking is no longer paid today (probably because it benefits from other, more profitable forms of income) it is their alter-ego who introduces, mobilizes, animates and promotes Napier's Art Deco eccentricities.

Napier's Total Conversion to Thirties Glamor

Throughout the year, hosts dressed in the fashion of that time lead guided tours through the key points of the city's architecture and past. Extras, musicians, singers and other actors re-enact it in their bars, squares and gardens.

Small business owners took advantage of the packaging and opened stores specializing in contemporary clothing, furniture, music, painting and photography.

Art Deco Facade, Napier, New Zealand

Thematic building facade in Napier

They too wear matching clothes and make their contribution. As we explore the city's most emblematic streets and buildings, we also come across drivers behind the wheel of vintage cars that receive subsidies to get around Napier.

The heyday of this already organic show is the Geon Art Deco Weekend. Held on a weekend in February, the festival concentrates more than 200 events, hundreds of jalopy twenties and thirties, aerial acrobatics, jazz concerts, dances, picnics etc.

Coquette, Napier, New Zealand

Napier Art Deco Trust employee in costume to match the mood of the city.

It generates a veritable Great Gatsby fever because guests from the four corners of the world are infected.

There are thousands of fatal femmes under cloche hats, plush furs and charming dresses that smoke through large mouthpieces, and so many other festive incarnations of Jay, the blinding character in F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel.

A Caravan from the Thirties, at the Service of Napier's Promotion

Many of them exhibit trustworthy looks and behaviors but John Cocking does nothing else in life. Bertie and his occasional female partner quickly claim the spotlight.

We follow him to the lift in an Austin Seven maroon driven by a lady in a fancy mink, and every now and then we hear the ambassador's unmistakable honking again.

Behind us, seven other historic cars complete the procession, all guided by immaculate figures from the XNUMXs.

Showgirl and clunker, Napier, New Zealand

One of the extras from the XNUMXs – Art Deco by Napier, next to a jalopy.

At the end of a winding route, the entourage parks in line in front of a large cruise ship moored in the port of Napier. Moments of waiting and dialogue follow. Crew members of different nationalities and ethnicities disembark and start inspecting the cars and questioning the owners.

The Irresistible Appeal of Napier's Jalobs

Gradually, hundreds of passengers arrive by bus from the center of Napier, enrich the interaction and take countless photos of themselves with the jalopy and their owners.

Mechanical laypersons ask trivial questions and comments about years of manufacture and aesthetics.

But others are knowledgeable in the matter. They question the positioning of valves, cylinders and pistons and the owners unceremoniously open their hoods, encouraging thorough inspections.

We followed and photographed that curious Automobile Fair with renewed interest and, at intervals, we talked to some of the participants.

Barry Price is one of the most demure but assumes his positions bluntly:

“I live 60 km away and the money they pay me is barely enough for the fuel that this boy wastes … but I'm not old enough to be bothered with these things anymore. I come because I like it and we have fun”.

Extras receive cruise, Napier, New Zealand

Extras line up next to the jalopy in which they arrived at the port of Napier.

Twin City Stompers' Thirty Years Sound Band

Meanwhile, the Twin City Stompers install themselves against a container and add more meaning to their words.

Equipped with a trombone, a double bass, a mandolin and a megaphone that amplifies and box the vocalist's voice, the musicians play “When you'e smilin","All of me” and other famous themes from the time of Napier's reconstruction as passengers return to the cruise and fill their balconies.

Twin City Stompers, Napier, New Zealand

Jazz band Twin City Stompers plays and socializes with passengers on a cruise in the port of Napier.

Prolonged waves are exchanged.

And as the big boat pulls away from the dock towards today's Australia, it leaves Napier in the grip of the glamorous past that his hosts continue to renew.

Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

The Divine Earth Shard of the Banks Peninsula

Seen from the air, the most obvious bulge on the South Island's east coast appears to have imploded again and again. Volcanic but verdant and bucolic, the Banks Peninsula confines in its almost cogwheel geomorphology the essence of the ever enviable New Zealand life.
Miami beach, USA

The Beach of All Vanities

Few coasts concentrate, at the same time, so much heat and displays of fame, wealth and glory. Located in the extreme southeast of the USA, Miami Beach is accessible via six bridges that connect it to the rest of Florida. It is meager for the number of souls who desire it.
Miami, USA

A Masterpiece of Urban Rehabilitation

At the turn of the 25st century, the Wynwood neighbourhood remained filled with abandoned factories and warehouses and graffiti. Tony Goldman, a shrewd real estate investor, bought more than XNUMX properties and founded a mural park. Much more than honoring graffiti there, Goldman founded the Wynwood Arts District, the great bastion of creativity in Miami.
Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand's Cursed Wizard

Despite his notoriety in the antipodes, Ian Channell, the New Zealand sorcerer, failed to predict or prevent several earthquakes that struck Christchurch. At the age of 88, after 23 years of contract with the city, he made very controversial statements and ended up fired.
Nelson to Wharariki, Abel Tasman NP, New Zealand

The Maori coastline on which Europeans landed

Abel Janszoon Tasman explored more of the newly mapped and mythical "Terra australis" when a mistake soured the contact with natives of an unknown island. The episode inaugurated the colonial history of the New Zealand. Today, both the divine coast on which the episode took place and the surrounding seas evoke the Dutch navigator.
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.
Mount cook, New Zealand

The Cloud Piercer Mountain

Aoraki/Mount Cook may fall far short of the world's roof but it is New Zealand's highest and most imposing mountain.
Wanaka, New Zealand

The Antipodes Great Outdoors

If New Zealand is known for its tranquility and intimacy with Nature, Wanaka exceeds any imagination. Located in an idyllic setting between the homonymous lake and the mystic Mount Aspiring, it became a place of worship. Many kiwis aspire to change their lives there.
bay of islands, New Zealand

New Zealand's Civilization Core

Waitangi is the key place for independence and the long-standing coexistence of native Maori and British settlers. In the surrounding Bay of Islands, the idyllic marine beauty of the New Zealand antipodes is celebrated, but also the complex and fascinating kiwi nation.
North Island, New Zealand

Journey along the Path of Maority

New Zealand is one of the countries where the descendants of settlers and natives most respect each other. As we explored its northern island, we became aware of the interethnic maturation of this very old nation. Commonwealth as Maori and Polynesia.
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s - Calhambeque Tour

In a city rebuilt in Art Deco and with an atmosphere of the "crazy years" and beyond, the adequate means of transportation are the elegant classic automobiles of that era. In Napier, they are everywhere.
Tongariro, New Zealand

The Volcanoes of All Discords

In the late XNUMXth century, an indigenous chief ceded the PN Tongariro volcanoes to the British crown. Today, a significant part of the Maori people claim their mountains of fire from European settlers.
New Zealand  

When Counting Sheep causes Sleep Loss

20 years ago, New Zealand had 18 sheep per inhabitant. For political and economic reasons, the average was halved. In the antipodes, many breeders are worried about their future.
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Safari
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Herd in Manang, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 8th Manang, Nepal

Manang: the Last Acclimatization in Civilization

Six days after leaving Besisahar we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). Located at the foot of the Annapurna III and Gangapurna Mountains, Manang is the civilization that pampers and prepares hikers for the ever-dreaded crossing of Thorong La Gorge (5416 m).
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Architecture & Design
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Adventure
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
Big Freedia and bouncer, Fried Chicken Festival, New Orleans
Ceremonies and Festivities
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Big Freedia: in Bounce Mode

New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz and jazz sounds and resonates in its streets. As expected, in such a creative city, new styles and irreverent acts emerge. Visiting the Big Easy, we ventured out to discover Bounce hip hop.
Glamor vs Faith
Cities
Goa, India

The Last Gasp of the Goan Portugality

The prominent city of Goa already justified the title of “rome of the east” when, in the middle of the XNUMXth century, epidemics of malaria and cholera led to its abandonment. The New Goa (Pangim) for which it was exchanged became the administrative seat of Portuguese India but was annexed by the Indian Union of post-independence. In both, time and neglect are ailments that now make the Portuguese colonial legacy wither.
Meal
World Food

Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
Culture
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

The Pueblos del Sur Locainas, Their Dances and Co.

From the beginning of the XNUMXth century, with Hispanic settlers and, more recently, with Portuguese emigrants, customs and traditions well known in the Iberian Peninsula and, in particular, in northern Portugal, were consolidated in the Pueblos del Sur.
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines
Sport
Philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
Boat and helmsman, Cayo Los Pájaros, Los Haitises, Dominican Republic
Traveling
Samaná PeninsulaLos Haitises National Park Dominican Republic

From the Samaná Peninsula to the Dominican Haitises

In the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic, where Caribbean nature still triumphs, we face an Atlantic much more vigorous than expected in these parts. There we ride on a communal basis to the famous Limón waterfall, cross the bay of Samaná and penetrate the remote and exuberant “land of the mountains” that encloses it.
Christmas scene, Shillong, Meghalaya, India
Ethnic
Shillong, India

A Christmas Selfiestan at an India Christian Stronghold

December arrives. With a largely Christian population, the state of Meghalaya synchronizes its Nativity with that of the West and clashes with the overcrowded Hindu and Muslim subcontinent. Shillong, the capital, shines with faith, happiness, jingle bells and bright lighting. To dazzle Indian holidaymakers from other parts and creeds.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

Kiomizudera, Kyoto, a Millennial Japan almost lost
History
Kyoto, Japan

An Almost Lost Millennial Japan

Kyoto was on the US atomic bomb target list and it was more than a whim of fate that preserved it. Saved by an American Secretary of War in love with its historical and cultural richness and oriental sumptuousness, the city was replaced at the last minute by Nagasaki in the atrocious sacrifice of the second nuclear cataclysm.
Santa Maria, Mother Island of the Azores
Islands
Santa Maria, Azores

Santa Maria: the Azores Mother Island

It was the first in the archipelago to emerge from the bottom of the sea, the first to be discovered, the first and only to receive Cristovão Colombo and a Concorde. These are some of the attributes that make Santa Maria special. When we visit it, we find many more.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
shadow vs light
Literature
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
female and cub, grizzly footsteps, katmai national park, alaska
Nature
PN Katmai, Alaska

In the Footsteps of the Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell spent summers on end with the bears of Katmai. Traveling through Alaska, we followed some of its trails, but unlike the species' crazy protector, we never went too far.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Serra Dourada, Cerrado, Goiás, Brazil
Natural Parks
Serra Dourada, Goiás, Brazil

Where the Cerrado Waves Golden

One of the types of South America savannah, the Cerrado extends over more than a fifth of the Brazilian territory, which supplies much of its fresh water. Located in the heart of the Central Plateau and the state of Goiás, the Serra Dourada State Park shines double.
Solovestsky Autumn
UNESCO World Heritage
Solovetsky Islands, Russia

The Mother Island of the Gulag Archipelago

It hosted one of Russia's most powerful Orthodox religious domains, but Lenin and Stalin turned it into a gulag. With the fall of the USSR, Solovestky regains his peace and spirituality.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Characters
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Martinique island, French Antilles, Caribbean Monument Cap 110
Beaches
Martinique, French Antilles

The Armpit Baguette Caribbean

We move around Martinique as freely as the Euro and the tricolor flags fly supreme. But this piece of France is volcanic and lush. Lies in the insular heart of the Americas and has a delicious taste of Africa.
Religion
Annapurna Circuit: 5th - Ngawal a BragaNepal

Towards the Nepalese Braga

We spent another morning of glorious weather discovering Ngawal. There is a short journey towards Manang, the main town on the way to the zenith of the Annapurna circuit. We stayed for Braga (Braka). The hamlet would soon prove to be one of its most unforgettable places.
Executives sleep subway seat, sleep, sleep, subway, train, Tokyo, Japan
On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
Merida cable car, Renovation, Venezuela, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel
Society
Mérida, Venezuela

The Vertiginous Renovation of the World's Highest Cable Car

Underway from 2010, the rebuilding of the Mérida cable car was carried out in the Sierra Nevada by intrepid workers who suffered firsthand the magnitude of the work.
Ditching, Alaska Fashion Life, Talkeetna
Daily life
Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna's Alaska-Style Life

Once a mere mining outpost, Talkeetna rejuvenated in 1950 to serve Mt. McKinley climbers. The town is by far the most alternative and most captivating town between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
São João Farm, Pantanal, Miranda, Mato Grosso do Sul, sunset
Wildlife
Fazenda São João, Miranda, Brazil

Pantanal with Paraguay in Sight

When the Fazenda Passo do Lontra decided to expand its ecotourism, it recruited the other family farm, the São João. Further away from the Miranda River, this second property reveals a remote Pantanal, on the verge of Paraguay. The country and the homonymous river.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.