1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake Exhibition

1 Tennyson St, Napier

“The outline of the hill turned into a giant serpent as it heaved up and down. The shock wave swept across it, creating a monster crossing the skyline.” - NG Bailey

At 10:47am on 3 February 1931, a devastating earthquake struck Hawke’s Bay. In that moment it seemed the end of the world had come.

People were thrown off their feet; buildings shuddered and collapsed as the ground pitched violently. In central Napier, fires broke out within minutes and rushed through the city. Amidst the burning, falling buildings, the bright blue sky of a summer’s day was obscured by smoke and dust.

People could only watch as their home was destroyed around them. In desperation the injured screamed for help, others ran for the safety of the beach, or home to find their families.

In Hawke’s Bay, time from then on would always be divided into before and after the earthquake. The high number of casualties and the challenge of rehabilitation and reconstruction in the middle of the Depression tested the nation, the brunt of the burden borne by every person in Hawke’s Bay who strove to reclaim their home amid the trauma of extreme loss.

Objects and archives in the MTG collections are rich with the memory of the horror of that day, and of its aftermath. Visiting this exhibition is a must for those who seek to understand a place shaped by destruction on a scale unparalleled in New Zealand, of a story that has shaped a visible scar on Hawke’s Bay, and of the invisible scars - held in the memories of its places and people, still vivid over 80 years on.

The 'Survivors' Stories' film containing the personal accounts from Hana Cotter, Audrey McKelvie, Jim Clayton, and Lauris Edmond plays continuously throughout the day (note: this film has subtitles).

This is a permanent gallery.

Supported by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

When

Mon 30th May 2022, 9:30am

Tue 31st May 2022, 9:30am

Wed 1st Jun 2022, 9:30am

Thu 2nd Jun 2022, 9:30am

Fri 3rd Jun 2022, 9:30am

Sat 4th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Sun 5th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Mon 6th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Tue 7th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Wed 8th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Thu 9th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Fri 10th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Sat 11th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Sun 12th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Mon 13th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Tue 14th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Wed 15th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Thu 16th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Fri 17th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Sat 18th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Sun 19th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Mon 20th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Tue 21st Jun 2022, 9:30am

Wed 22nd Jun 2022, 9:30am

Thu 23rd Jun 2022, 9:30am

Fri 24th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Sat 25th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Sun 26th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Mon 27th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Tue 28th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Wed 29th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Thu 30th Jun 2022, 9:30am

Fri 1st Jul 2022, 9:30am

Where

MTG Hawke's Bay, Napier, Hawke's Bay / Gisborne

1 Tennyson St, Napier