Sunny Hawke’s Bay is great in summer with mostly fine weather and temperatures in the 26-30ºC range almost every day.
Each year in mid-February the city celebrates its architectural heritage from the 1932-1934 period when, due to the 3 February 1931 earthquake which demolished most of what stood then, the majority of replacement buildings were in the Art Deco style (quite a few were also in the Californian Spanish Mission style).
The result must be the world’s most concentrated collection of Art Deco buildings — the only other contender is Miami South Beach.
Every time we go, more work seems to have been done on smartening up facades and it’s a delightful experience just to walk around the streets. But when combined with a festival which relives the fashions, music and dance, and of course the cars of the era, it’s superlative!
Hundreds of vintage and classic cars line and roll through the streets, nearly all of them lovingly restored and groomed. The Art Deco era is considered as having ended in 1947 so cars more recent than that are frowned on, but a few exceptions are made to that restriction.
As well as the free street and foreshore events, there are dozens of shows in the evenings to attend such as: Bootleggers on the Beach, Great Gatsby Party, Gangsters and Flappers (“Deco dress essential, machine guns optional”) and Indigo Speakeasy Whiskey Club.
Apart from a few buildings on Elizabeth Street, Waikanae Town Centre architecture is mostly from the 1970s and uninteresting, But there are other possibilities for events out of the ordinary!