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 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 and 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.
hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Safari
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

Chobe marks the divide between Botswana and three of its neighboring countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. But its capricious bed has a far more crucial function than this political delimitation.
Yak Kharka to Thorong Phedi, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Yaks
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 11th: yak karkha a Thorong Phedi, Nepal,

Arrival to the Foot of the Canyon

In just over 6km, we climbed from 4018m to 4450m, at the base of Thorong La canyon. Along the way, we questioned if what we felt were the first problems of Altitude Evil. It was never more than a false alarm.
hacienda mucuyche, Yucatan, Mexico, canal
Architecture & Design
Yucatan, Mexico

Among Haciendas and Cenotes, through the History of Yucatan

Around the capital Merida, for every old hacienda henequenera there's at least one cenote. As happened with the semi-recovered Hacienda Mucuyché, together, they form some of the most sublime places in southeastern Mexico.

Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Adventure
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
MassKara Festival, Bacolod City, Philippines
Ceremonies and Festivities
Bacolod, Philippines

A Festival to Laugh at Tragedy

Around 1980, the value of sugar, an important source of wealth on the Philippine island of Negros, plummeted and the ferry “Don Juan” that served it sank and took the lives of more than 176 passengers, most of them from Negrès. The local community decided to react to the depression generated by these dramas. That's how MassKara arose, a party committed to recovering the smiles of the population.
Elephant statues by the Li River, Elephant Trunk Hill, Guilin, China
Cities
Guilin, China

The Gateway to the Chinese Stone Kingdom

The immensity of jagged limestone hills around it is so majestic that the authorities of Beijing they print it on the back of the 20-yuan notes. Those who explore it almost always pass through Guilin. And even if this city in the province of Guangxi clashes with the exuberant nature around it, we also found its charms.
Tsukiji fish market, Tokyo, Japan
Meal
Tokyo, Japan

The Fish Market That Lost its Freshness

In a year, each Japanese eats more than their weight in fish and shellfish. Since 1935, a considerable part was processed and sold in the largest fish market in the world. Tsukiji was terminated in October 2018, and replaced by Toyosu's.
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.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Sport
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.
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.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Zapatismo, Mexico, San Nicolau Cathedral
Ethnic
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

The Home Sweet Home of Mexican Social Conscience

Mayan, mestizo and Hispanic, Zapatista and tourist, country and cosmopolitan, San Cristobal has no hands to measure. In it, Mexican and expatriate backpacker visitors and political activists share a common ideological demand.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Sensations vs Impressions

Roça Bombaim, Roça Monte Café, São Tomé island, flag
History
Center São Tomé, São Tomé and Principe

From Roça to Roça, Towards the Tropical Heart of São Tomé

On the way between Trindade and Santa Clara, we come across the terrifying colonial past of Batepá. Passing through the Bombaim and Monte Café roças, the island's history seems to have been diluted in time and in the chlorophyll atmosphere of the Santomean jungle.
Street Scene, Guadeloupe, Caribbean, Butterfly Effect, French Antilles
Islands
Guadalupe, French Antilles

Guadeloupe: a Delicious Caribbean, in a Counter Butterfly-Effect

Guadeloupe is shaped like a moth. A trip around this Antille is enough to understand why the population is governed by the motto Pas Ni Problem and raises the minimum of waves, despite the many setbacks.
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.
Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Literature
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

Situated on the western edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park is one of the smallest but charming and richest in Europe. wild life of Tanzania. In 1933, between hunting and literary discussions, Ernest Hemingway dedicated a month of his troubled life to him. He narrated those adventurous safari days in “The Green Hills of Africa".
Hell's Bend of Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Nature
fish river canyon, Namíbia

The Namibian Guts of Africa

When nothing makes you foreseeable, a vast river ravine burrows the southern end of the Namíbia. At 160km long, 27km wide and, at intervals, 550 meters deep, the Fish River Canyon is the Grand Canyon of Africa. And one of the biggest canyons on the face of the Earth.
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.
Terraces of Sistelo, Serra do Soajo, Arcos de Valdevez, Minho, Portugal
Natural Parks
Sistelo, Peneda-Gerês, Portugal

From the “Little Portuguese Tibet” to the Corn Fortresses

We leave the cliffs of Srª da Peneda, heading for Arcos de ValdeVez and the villages that an erroneous imaginary dubbed Little Portuguese Tibet. From these terraced villages, we pass by others famous for guarding, as golden and sacred treasures, the ears they harvest. Whimsical, the route reveals the resplendent nature and green fertility of these lands in Peneda-Gerês.
Gangtok House, Sikkim, India
UNESCO World Heritage
Gangtok, India

An Hillside Life

Gangtok it is the capital of Sikkim, an ancient kingdom in the Himalayas section of the Silk Road, which became an Indian province in 1975. The city is balanced on a slope, facing Kanchenjunga, the third highest elevation in the world that many natives believe shelters a paradise valley of Immortality. Their steep and strenuous Buddhist existence aims, there, or elsewhere, to achieve it.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
Characters
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
Bather, The Baths, Devil's Bay (The Baths) National Park, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Beaches
Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda's Divine “Caribbaths”

Discovering the Virgin Islands, we disembark on a tropical and seductive seaside dotted with huge granite boulders. The Baths seem straight out of the Seychelles but they are one of the most exuberant marine scenery in the Caribbean.
knights of the divine, faith in the divine holy spirit, Pirenopolis, Brazil
Religion
Pirenópolis, Brazil

A Ride of Faith

Introduced in 1819 by Portuguese priests, the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo de Pirenópolis it aggregates a complex web of religious and pagan celebrations. It lasts more than 20 days, spent mostly on the saddle.
white pass yukon train, Skagway, Gold Route, Alaska, USA
On Rails
Skagway, Alaska

A Klondike's Gold Fever Variant

The last great American gold rush is long over. These days, hundreds of cruise ships each summer pour thousands of well-heeled visitors into the shop-lined streets of Skagway.
Beverage Machines, Japan
Society
Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
Fruit sellers, Swarm, Mozambique
Daily life
Enxame Mozambique

Mozambican Fashion Service Area

It is repeated at almost all stops in towns of Mozambique worthy of appearing on maps. The machimbombo (bus) stops and is surrounded by a crowd of eager "businessmen". The products offered can be universal such as water or biscuits or typical of the area. In this region, a few kilometers from Nampula, fruit sales suceeded, in each and every case, quite intense.
Crocodiles, Queensland Tropical Australia Wild
Wildlife
Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Australia

Tropical Queensland: An Australia Too Wild

Cyclones and floods are just the meteorological expression of Queensland's tropical harshness. When it's not the weather, it's the deadly fauna of the region that keeps its inhabitants on their toes.
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.
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