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By CAROLYN VEEN
Napier's bid for World Heritage site status for its
art deco buildings has fallen over because Art
Deco is not of outstanding universal value''.
According to the recently released World Heri-
tage Art Deco Report, Napier's art deco heritage is
first and foremost of outstanding value to all New
Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott admits she is not
disappointed with the outcome of the site status,
because the city's buildings are now protected,
preserved and promoted.
It is simply not just about buildings any more.
Lonely Planet and the BBC recently declared
Napier's GEON Art Deco Weekend as one of the
world's best festivals, and that has been
recognised by the thousands of visitors who come
here every February for our most famous of dress-
New Zealand already has three World Heritage
sites -- the Sub-Antarctic Islands, Te Wahipou-
namu in the South Island, and Tongariro National
Park. The first two are natural sites and the third
is a combined natural and cultural site.
Our community knows the value of art deco to
our city, recognise this heritage, celebrate it and
share it with the world. This is what it's all about,
and World Heritage status would not change
that,'' the mayor says.
She says the localised concentration of art deco
buildings is what distinguishes Napier from the
rest of the art deco world.
In that respect, it is superior to the rest of the
world because Napier doesn't have the big art deco
towers they have in New York, for instance.
The accessibility in Napier of the architecture,
the style, the festivals and the fun is what makes
a difference around the world.''
As a cultural site, Napier's art deco quarter
earned the prestigious position of being ranked
first on the New Zealand tentative list of World
Heritage sites in 2007.
Since then, she says the process has gone
through much iteration.
We were all aware that if the proposal did go
forward to the international committee, Napier
would have needed to put a whole of money into it.
I'm not disappointed about that, it's just how it
is. Art deco in itself is valued nationally and inter-
nationally, and that will carry on.''
Art Deco flies high
The Art Deco Trust has announced the
theme of the GEON Art Deco Weekend
2012 -- a salute to aviation.
Commemorating the 75th anniversary
of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the
February 16-19 event will feature many
events with an air force and general avi-
Art Deco Trust general manager Sally
Jackson says new events have been intro-
duced to the programme marking 75
years of the air force, including a special
concert and a celebration dinner at the
Mission Estate Winery.
The Air Force Central Band will take
a high-profile position marching within
the Vintage Car Parade and in the Sound
Len Searle, representing the Napier
Aero Club and working in co-ordination
with the Art Deco Trust, says people can
expect to see the largest number of vin-
tage airplanes ever seen in Napier.
It will be an amazing sight.''
As Hawke's Bay's largest annual event,
the festival attracts about 30,000 people
Wing Commander Bill Blaikie of the
RNZAF says it is an excellent oppor-
tunity for the public to come out and see
the air force, and mark the auspicious
occasion. There will be a large variety of
vintage airplanes -- warbirds, the Red
Checkers, six Tiger Moths, a P51 Mus-
tang, and an extremely large number of
privately owned vintage planes.
The public will be given a fantastic
opportunity to view the planes both in
the air and on the ground. There will also
be good opportunities to get up close to
the machines and meet and chat with the
pilots themselves,'' adds Ms Jackson.
GEON's Central Regions general man-
ager Neville Smith -- also representing
the Royal New Zealand Navy as Lieuten-
ant Commander Neville Smith (Hon) --
says the traditional events of the Art
Deco Weekend will be maintained,
including the important presence of the
The Royal New Zealand Navy has an
extremely close link to Napier, as the
HMS Veronica was in Napier port at the
time of the Hawke's Bay earthquake in
1931 and, just as the HMS Canterbury
was in port in Lyttelton at the time of the
Christchurch earthquake, provided
urgent support to the region.''
Organised by the trust, the annual
weekend is a not-too-serious celebration
of Art Deco style. The event attracts
thousands from all over the world.
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