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Jan 16, 2024

Hawke’s Bay culture and wine wrapped into one

Visit Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand's Art Deco Capital, and you simply can’t escape the story of the 1931 earthquake that shaped the region. The post-quake rebuild gave the region the gift of Art Deco architecture throughout the cities of Napier and Hastings, and the rerouted rivers left in their wake unrivalled terroir, perfect for full-bodied red wines and complex Chardonnay.

Visit Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand’s Art Deco Capital, and you simply can’t escape the story of the 1931 earthquake that shaped the region.

The 7.8 magnitude quake levelled cities, rerouted rivers and lifted acres and acres of land out of the sea. The post-quake rebuild gave the region the gift of Art Deco architecture throughout the cities of Napier and Hastings, and the rerouted rivers left in their wake unrivalled terroir, perfect for full-bodied red wines and complex Chardonnay.

And while it was a singular moment in time that gifted Hawke’s Bay with two of its most famed visitor attractions, both the incredible Art Deco architecture and region’s award-winning wines can be enjoyed as one.

The Art Deco Trust in Napier are the guardians of the region’s Art Deco Architecture and also run tours for visitors who are keen to step back in time to the Great Gatsby era.

One of their most popular experiences is an Art Deco, Gin, and Wine Tour. This luxury package includes a pick-up from inner-city accommodation in a 1930s vintage car, followed by a scenic tour of Art Deco Napier.

Visitors can step back in time as they discover Hawke’s Bay’s remarkable history and revel in the glitz and glamour of the 1930s, before finishing the tour at one of the region’s most iconic Art Deco Buildings, the National Tobacco Building. Now home to The Urban Winery and specialist Chardonnay producer Tony Bish, the tour includes a visit to the ‘Egg’ Barrel room, a special wine tasting and a delicious platter at the Urban Winery, as well as a gin tasting at the National Gin Distillery next door.

Those looking for even more glitz and glamour and wine-related events will want to time their visit for February and Hawke’s Bay’s annual Art Deco Festival, which sees tens of thousands of people flock to the streets of Napier in their finest 1930s attire.

The festival itself is awash with events, including many of the region’s most iconic wineries. The Great Gatsby Party at Hawke’s Bay’s oldest winery Mission Estate – which suffered damage in the 1931 earthquake – is a highlight in the festival calendar and a fantastic fusion of culture, wine and the rich story of Hawke’s Bay.