Hawke's Bay Earthquake

The Hastings post office damaged after the 1931 earthquake
The Hastings post office damaged after the 1931 earthquake

Historical Context

New Zealand's worst ever natural disaster occurred on February 3, 1931, when a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck 15km north of the town of Napier in the Hawke's Bay region. The quake killed 256 people and left thousands injured. By the end of the month, 597 aftershocks had been recorded.

The effects were severe, most buildings in the Napier and Hastings city centers were destroyed completely. The local governments were initially overwhelmed by the task of rebuilding, and New Zealand's building codes were re-examined, which led to an overhaul in regulations and to the reinforcing of many buildings built in the 1930s and 1940s.

The reconstruction of Hawke's Bay towns took place at the height of the Art Deco movement, thus Napier and Hastings are recognized as having one of the finest collections of Art Deco buildings anywhere in the world.

Photo Info


Photographer: James Henry Daroux
Location taken: Hastings, New Zealand

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Related Events

  • 1931-02-03 New Zealand's worst natural disaster, the Hawke's Bay earthquake, kills 256 and injures thousands, devastating Napier and the Hawke's Bay region

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