Trip Start Aug 24, 2011
41Trip End Apr 01, 2012
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On February 3, 1931, most of Napier was leveled by an earthquake. The collapses of buildings and the ensuing fires killed 256 people. The center of the town was destroyed by the earthquake, and later rebuilt in the Art Deco style popular at that time. Some 4,000 hectares (9,000 acres) of today's city was undersea before the earthquake raised it up above sea level.
Although a few Art Deco buildings were replaced with contemporary structures during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, most of the center remained intact for long enough to become recognized as architecturally important, and beginning in the 1990s it had been protected and restored. Napier and the area of South Beach, Miami, Florida, are considered to be the two best-preserved Art Deco towns.
Beginning in 2007, Napier was nominated as a World Heritage Site with UNESCO. This is the first cultural site in New Zealand to be so nominated.