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International Tourists Return To Napier For Winter Art Deco Festival

Tickets to Napier’s annual Winter Deco festival have sold exceptionally well, attracting buyers from as far away as Australia and the United States.

The Spirit of Hawke’s Bay Parade will be led by a truly remarkable vehicle: a 1922 Fordson Model F Tractor that played a vital role in the aftermath of the devastating 1931 earthquake by transporting sailors and essential supplies throughout Napier. Pictured is the iconic 1931 photo of the tractor transporting Navy personnel down Shakespeare Road. This scene was recreated by the Navy in 2021.

Barbara Arnott, Chair of the Art Deco Trust, expresses her excitement for this year’s event, “We are confident that this Winter Deco will bring a much-needed boost to the local economy while lifting spirits. 

“The cancellation of the Art Deco Festival in February due to Cyclone Gabrielle came as a blow to many local businesses who were hoping for a return to some sort of normalcy post-Covid. The summer event has significant social and economic benefits for Hawke’s Bay, injecting millions of dollars into the region.

“So this year’s Winter Deco festival holds special meaning as we reactivate some of those summer events that were cancelled and show our support for communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle through fundraising activities. 

The Winter Deco programme includes the Spirit of Hawke’s Bay Parade, vintage games, classic 1930s entertainment, and a gold coin sausage sizzle to support the Cyclone relief fund.

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And while the event does not officially start until this Friday, visitors were making their presence felt about the Napier CBD. An enthusiastic group of festival goers from Auckland was making their way to Maidens and Fosters Auction house in search of porcelain and other collectables. “I love shopping in Napier, it’s such a pleasure being able to walk everywhere, although I might need a hand to get my haul back to the hotel” said one tweed-clad tourist.

Winter Deco in Hawke’s Bay offers both locals and visitors the chance to experience the region’s unique charm, renowned for its stunning Art Deco architecture, picturesque landscapes, wineries, and warm hospitality. The festival not only highlights the region’s cultural heritage but also supports local businesses, artists, and performers, further contributing to the community’s growth and vitality. 

Jeremy Smith, General Manager at the Art Deco Trust, is pleased with the programme of events, stating, “We have curated a fabulous lineup of free public activities for Winter Deco 2023. From the Spirit of Hawke’s Bay Parade to the Soundshell Shindig, there is something for everyone to enjoy.” 

The Soundshell Shindig, inspired by the New Napier Carnival of 1933, is a new event for 2023 that will transform the Soundshell into a nostalgic hub of games, food, and live entertainment, including the annual Winter Deco Fashion Flaunt.

“The Shindig will follow the Spirit of Hawke’s Bay Parade, which pays tribute to the bravery of our region in the aftermath of the recent disaster. Vintage cars, modern service vehicles, first responders, defence force personnel, and volunteers will make their way through the CBD, and we extend an open invitation to anyone who contributed to the relief efforts to join the procession,” says Jeremy.

For the full program of events, please visit

The highly anticipated Winter Deco festival is set to take place this weekend, from July 21-23. 


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