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Cool Hawke's Bay festival brings Art Deco era jazz to life

June 13, 2007
Cool Hawke's Bay festival brings Art Deco era jazz to life

The Bluewater Hotel Deco Decanted and Jazz Festival steps out in Hawke's Bay Wine Country from mid September to mid October. Hawke's Bay Tourism says it's a cool celebration which has been resheduled toline up with the Rugby World Cup for 2011.

Bluewater Hotel Deco Decanted Weekend provides an opportunity to live the classic lifestyle of the Art Deco era whilst enjoying quality jazz from some of New Zealand's best performers.

Located on the east coast of New Zealands North Island, Hawkes Bay Wine Country is New Zealands leading food and wine region. With over 2200 hours of sunshine, Hawkes Bay is a year-round holiday destination with an eclectic mix of visual and sensory experiences.

Napier, the Art Deco City, is world-famous for its Jazz Age Architecture which rose from the rubble and ashes of a disastrous earthquake and subsequent fires which devastated the city in 1931.

Hawke's Bay Tourism says visitors from around the world delight in Napiers decorative and colourful buildings which speak of the optimism and confidence of the early 20th century and of the imagination and determination of a small kiwi town as it tackled the task of recreating itself during the Great Depression.

The Art Deco Trust offers guided walking tours of Napiers Art Deco Quarter, and a stylish retail shop.

These Guided Walks are held twice daily year-round, except on Christmas Day, and are held rain or shine. No bookings are necessary. All walkers receive an informative Art Deco Walk booklet. Complimentary refreshments and a video screening are available afterwards.

MORNING WALKS: start at the Napier Visitor Information Centre, Marine Parade (next to the Sound Shell) at 10.00am, and finish at the Art Deco Shop. COST: $10 per person (children free).

AFTERNOON WALKS: The original Afternoon Walks last 2 hours and include some interior visits and a 30 minute introductory slide presentation. They start and finish at the Art Deco Shop, commencing at 2pm. COST: $15 per person (children free).

Hawke's Bay has been a destination for a long time. Near the ninth century AD, Maori arrived in Heretaunga or Hawkes Bay, and settled in the river valleys and along the coast where food was plentiful.

Maori believe that they came to Heretaunga by canoe, travelling down the coast from the north, landing at Wairoa, Portland Island, the Ahuriri Lagoon at Westshore, and at Waimarama. Their culture flourished, along with gradual deforestation of the land, making this one of the few regions of New Zealand where sheep could be brought in without felling the bush first.

In the 16th century, Taraia, great-grandson of the great and prolific chief Kahungunu, established the large tribe of Ngati Kahungunu which eventually colonised the eastern side of the North Island from Poverty Bay to Wairarapa.

Captain James Cook and the crew of the HMS Endeavour were probably the first Europeans to set eyes upon Hawke's Bay in October 1769. Cook named the bay after Sir Edward Hawke, First Lord of the Admiralty.

In 1851, wine came to Hawke's Bay when French Catholic missionaries arrived to settle at Pakowhai. They brought with them the first vines to plant for their communion wine. Hawke's Bay is New Zealand's oldest wine making region and leads the way in the production of award winning reds. Hawke's Bay Tourism says there is plenty to do for families visiting Hawkes Bay Wine Country, from swimming in summer with the dolphins at Marineland, to sliding and riding on more than 15 rides and attractions at Splash Planet in Hastings.

The welcoming sunshine is perfect for outdoor activities and those based around water. The new Ocean Spa water complex in Napier is great for children and adults alike, with warm salt water open air hot pools and a family friendly caf that overlooks the ocean. For the older kids check out SK8 Zone skateboard bowl and jumps.

Jungle Junction in the seaside suburb of Ahuriri is a safe indoor multi-level playland for children up to the age of 10. It offers a drop off service, hosts birthday parties and caters for large groups.

Opossum World is an interactive and educational experience, which tells the story about how New Zealands opossum population eats through 21,000 tonnes of foliage each night! The centre helps to keep the opossum population down and helps New Zealands eco system by selling many opossum products.

Classic Sheepskins tannery, five minutes drive from Napiers city centre, offers free factory tours following the step-by-step process from tanning to manufacturing.

Other attractions include the Hawkes Bay Museum, which provides an interactive experience of Hawkes Bays history.

The National Aquarium of New Zealand, at the southern end of Marine Parade, is a modern complex, hard to miss with the building shaped like a stingray. The aquarium has two major tanks the reef tank and the ocean tank filled with an array of exciting sea life. At set times during the day divers enter both tanks to hand feed the fish. Other options at the aquarium include group sleepovers for children and birthday parties.

The old Napier Prison tour is worth a look, as is the Silky Oak Chocolate Factory and Museum. Te Mata Peak, high above Havelock North, with views across Hawkes Bay should be high on any familys must do list.

While in Havelock North, visit Arataki Honey, one of the worlds major bee keeping operations with over 17,000 hives. For something different, take time out for a tour of Pernel Fruitworld in Hastings and you might get to meet the grower, or lose yourself in the 8 kilometres of paths cut into the corn at the Amazing Maze 'n' Maize.

Classic Deco transport courtesy Hawke
Classic Deco transport courtesy Hawke's Bay Tourism