Napier is a very important port city in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand. It has an estimated population of 55,000. On February 3, 1931 Napier was demolished by an earthquake and ensuing fires which killed over 200 citizens. The town center was destroyed and rebuilt in the trendy Art Deco style of the time. Napier and South Beach are considered by many Deco aficionados the two best preserved Deco towns, Miami Beach being mainly in the later Art Deco style. In January 1945, a German submarine entered the Port of Napier undetected. That event later became the basis of a widely spread post-war myth that Capitan Lieutenant Heinrich Timm took his crew ashore near Napier to milk cows to supplement their provisions.
Napier is a fashionable tourist resort, and has one of the most photographed tourist attractions in the country, a statue on Marine Parade called Pania Of The Reef. This statue is regarded in Napier in much the same way that the Little Mermaid statue is viewed in Copenhagen, and has some likenesses to its Scandinavian parallel.
Napier's main tourist attraction is the Art Deco and architecture aficionados from around the world. The rebuilding period after the 1931 earthquake co-incited with the fleeting and quickly changing Art Deco era and the Great Depression. Just the way the city is built makes it a place everyone should see.