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.
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.
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 coastlines concentrate, at the same time, so much heat and displays of fame, wealth and glory. Located in the far southeast of the USA, Miami Beach is accessed by six bridges that connect it to the rest of Florida. It is manifestly 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.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Sculptural Garden, Edward James, Xilitla, Huasteca Potosina, San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Cobra dos Pecados
Architecture & Design
Xilitla, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Edward James' Mexican Delirium

In the rainforest of Xilitla, the restless mind of poet Edward James has twinned an eccentric home garden. Today, Xilitla is lauded as an Eden of the Surreal.
lagoons and fumaroles, volcanoes, PN tongariro, new zealand
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.
Indigenous Crowned
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

Behind the Venezuela Andes. Fiesta Time.

In 1619, the authorities of Mérida dictated the settlement of the surrounding territory. The order resulted in 19 remote villages that we found dedicated to commemorations with caretos and local pauliteiros.
Vegetables, Little India, Sari Singapore, Singapore
Little India, Singapore

The Sari Singapore of Little India

There are thousands of inhabitants instead of the 1.3 billion of the mother country, but Little India, a neighborhood in tiny Singapore, does not lack soul. No soul, no smell of Bollywood curry and music.
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
Djerbahood, Erriadh, Djerba, Mirror
Erriadh, Djerba, Tunisia

A Village Made Fleeting Art Gallery

In 2014, an ancient Djerbian settlement hosted 250 murals by 150 artists from 34 countries. The lime walls, the intense sun and the sand-laden winds of the Sahara erode the works of art. Erriadh's metamorphosis into Djerbahood is renewed and continues to dazzle.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Alaska, by Homer in Search of Whittier
Homer a Whittier, Alaska

In Search of the Stealth Whittier

We leave Homer in search of Whittier, a refuge built in World War II and housing two hundred or so people, almost all in a single building.
Masai Mara Reservation, Masai Land Travel, Kenya, Masai Convivial
Masai Mara, Kenya

A Journey Through the Masai Lands

The Mara savannah became famous for the confrontation between millions of herbivores and their predators. But, in a reckless communion with wildlife, it is the Masai humans who stand out there.
Portfolio, Got2Globe, Best Images, Photography, Images, Cleopatra, Dioscorides, Delos, Greece
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

The Earthly and the Celestial

Luderitz, Namibia
Lüderitz, Namibia

Wilkommen in Africa

Chancellor Bismarck has always disdained overseas possessions. Against his will and all odds, in the middle of the Race for Africa, merchant Adolf Lüderitz forced Germany to take over an inhospitable corner of the continent. The homonymous city prospered and preserves one of the most eccentric heritages of the Germanic empire.
Terra Nostra Park, Furnas, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal
Vale das Furnas, São Miguel (Azores)

The Azorean Heat of Vale das Furnas

We were surprised, on the biggest island of the Azores, with a caldera cut by small farms, massive and deep to the point of sheltering two volcanoes, a huge lagoon and almost two thousand people from São Miguel. Few places in the archipelago are, at the same time, as grand and welcoming as the green and steaming Vale das Furnas.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
Winter White
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Cove, Big Sur, California, United States
Big Sur, USA

The Coast of All Refuges

Over 150km, the Californian coast is subjected to a vastness of mountains, ocean and fog. In this epic setting, hundreds of tormented souls follow in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henri Miller.
kings canyon, red centre, heart, australia
Red Center, Australia

Australia's Broken Heart

The Red Center is home to some of Australia's must-see natural landmarks. We are impressed by the grandeur of the scenarios but also by the renewed incompatibility of its two civilizations.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
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.
View from John Ford Point, Monument Valley, Nacao Navajo, United States
Natural Parks
Monument Valley, USA

Indians or Cowboys?

Iconic Western filmmakers like John Ford immortalized what is the largest Indian territory in the United States. Today, in the Navajo Nation, the Navajo also live in the shoes of their old enemies.
UNESCO World Heritage
Castles and Fortresses

A Defending World: Castles and Fortresses that Resist

Under threat from enemies from the end of time, the leaders of villages and nations built castles and fortresses. All over the place, military monuments like these continue to resist.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Dominican Republic, Bahia de Las Águilas Beach, Pedernales. Jaragua National Park, Beach
Lagoa Oviedo a Bahia de las Águilas, Dominican Republic

In Search of the Immaculate Dominican Beach

Against all odds, one of the most unspoiled Dominican coastlines is also one of the most remote. Discovering the province of Pedernales, we are dazzled by the semi-desert Jaragua National Park and the Caribbean purity of Bahia de las Águilas.
Candia, Tooth of Buddha, Ceylon, lake
Kandy, Sri Lanka

The Dental Root of Sinhalese Buddhism

Located in the mountainous heart of Sri Lanka, at the end of the XNUMXth century, Kandy became the capital of the last kingdom of old Ceylon and resisted successive colonial conquest attempts. The city also preserved and exhibited a sacred tooth of the Buddha and, thus, became Ceylon's Buddhist center.
Flam Railway composition below a waterfall, Norway.
On Rails
Nesbyen to Flam, Norway

Flam Railway: Sublime Norway from the First to the Last Station

By road and aboard the Flam Railway, on one of the steepest railway routes in the world, we reach Flam and the entrance to the Sognefjord, the largest, deepest and most revered of the Scandinavian fjords. From the starting point to the last station, this monumental Norway that we have unveiled is confirmed.
patpong, go go bar, bangkok, one thousand and one nights, thailand
Bangkok, Thailand

One Thousand and One Lost Nights

In 1984, Murray Head sang the nighttime magic and bipolarity of the Thai capital in "One night in bangkok". Several years, coups d'etat, and demonstrations later, Bangkok remains sleepless.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
Boat and helmsman, Cayo Los Pájaros, Los Haitises, Dominican Republic
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.
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.