We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
137 posts
32 reviews
Save Topic
Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

Came to Napier mainly to see the architecture and, I admit, should have done more research in advance, but... Is it too much to expect that the tourist office would have a free handout for a self guided tour of the buildings (ie just a simple map pointing out where they are, not a doctoral thesis on them), instead of trying to flog guidebooks or guided tours?

New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,393 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

As you say you should have done a little bit of homework and if you had you would have found the Art Deco Trust which is located in one of Art Deco buildings at the other end of town from the iSite. You can take a self guided tour but the map costs $7.50, This, IMO, is a small price to pay to experience the wonderful architecture of the city and to get the background information needed to understand what you are viewing . The iSite should have given you this info, maybe they did, I'm assuming you wanted a free map listing all the buildings. In defence of them, if they gave out free maps there would be no point in having a Trust. The Trust helps preserve the culture of the city, without them the city wouldn't be the attraction it is. From their website-

"The Trust drives Napier’s preservation movement and its volunteer guides interpret this famous city centre for visitors from all over the world. All the guides relate the unique story of Napier, its destruction and rebirth, providing educational entertainment on an enthusiastic and personal level"

www.artdeconapier.com/pages/self-guided-tours

I'm not sure if they do or don't, but I would hope that iSite does sell the self-guided maps on behalf of the Trust(this would at least save a walk to the other end of town; although there are plenty of Art Deco buildings to view on the way)

Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
137 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

Thanks for replying. Yes I know about the Trust. Since I am traveling with young children I can't take the tour, and I don't have much time to myself. I just wanted someone to point me to some nice buildings really. Anyhow, we had a short stroll this evening around the centre and I saw some. I'm sure I missed some too, but that's life. The kids wanted to be brought swimming so I was outnumbered! I do realize that tourism information is not designed with travelers like me in mind. Pre-kids I'd have been right into taking a two hour guided walk. I'm sure it's a great tour and that the Trust is very important. From my point of view though, they obstructed rather than facilitated my engagement with Art Deco Napier, if it is indeed because of them that no free map is distributed. I think it is a pity if they have to rely on book sales for funding.

Edited: 5:28 am, January 05, 2012
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
87,464 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

I don't quite know why you expect that you should be provided with a really good map and not have to pay for it. I thought the map from the Art Deco Trust was well worth the money.

Wellington, New...
Destination Expert
for Wellington, Bay of Islands
Level Contributor
10,102 posts
222 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

Taking the kids swimming in the pool would have cost more than $7.50 I am sure.

Still I am glad you derived some pleasure from the buildings you did see.

From a personal point of view and I know I am a philistine but in general art deco especially the architecture leaves me cold.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
9,393 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

"I think it is a pity if they have to rely on book sales for funding"

No they don't but it all helps especially when it's a community project and self funding with very little help from outside sources. Without the Trust there would be no "Art Deco Napier", pretty buildings yes, but most visitors would be none the wiser to the history of the city. And even some of those lovely buildings would have been destroyed had the city not taken notice of what it had and formed a plan, and a trust.

Sydney Australia
Level Contributor
8,096 posts
97 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

"I don't quite know why you expect that you should be provided with a really good map and not have to pay for it. "

I think Goldenmean's expectation might be because if you visit Goulburn where Goldenmean is from, the information centre hands out such things for free. In fact the free heritage walking or driving tours provided include the interpretive information as well. IME the same is true for most Australian destinations, particularly in the inland. It's designed to keep people in town longer so they spend some dollars rather than pass through.

I have to say though, that in most cases it's a fiercely competitive situation for the Aussie towns. Napier on the other hand has no competition locally and almost no competition internationally. There may also be an (understandable) assumption locally that the art deco is everywhere and therefore is obvious so no need to point it out unless you want a certain level of detail or are particularly interested... in which case (and I agree) it is fair enough to have a small charge. NZ$7.50 is far from excessive.

Perhaps for newbie visitors is can be a case of not knowing what you don't know.

"From a personal point of view and I know I am a philistine but in general art deco especially the architecture leaves me cold."

yeah me too, once. But my daughters have always loved it and so when we visited Chicago we took their Downtown Deco tour. Once I understood more about the style and it's origins and symbolism and decorative features I warmed to it considerably. The deco walking tours weren't running when we visited Napier but we did take an excellent vintage car tour and it made such a huge difference to our experience of Napier that now when we are travelling our Napier experience is the rationale for taking tours with local people as much as we can!

I am determined to return to Napier with my (adult) family one day to play mini golf on the gorgeous prominade. Napier struck me as an awesome family destination. We loved it. I hope your family is really loving it too Goldenmean :o)

Cork, Ireland
Level Contributor
137 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

Well. I seem to have stimulated a little discussion at least. Snodge- you are so right. You get it.

Those who think I am simply too tight to spend 7.50 will likely be reassured to note that the children had their swim at the beach at lovely Perfume Point, FOC, and also played in the fabulous playground there. It was completely delightful.

But to be serious, some kiwis do seem to begrudge tourists access to their stuff. (We didn't pay for it, after all.) But we have spenabbott than 10,000 bucks on this family holiday, which is supporting NZ businesses and employment..... Give us a bit of a break, please.

New Zealand
Level Contributor
5,161 posts
292 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

While I can understand the need for the Art Deco Trust to make money to continue its activities, Snodge makes a good point. During a recent visit to Guildford in Western Australia, I walked around one of the heritage trails. There were coloured plaques along the route which were informative and easy to follow. A sign at the local visitor centre gave details about where each trail went and how long it took. This arrangement meant visitors didn't need a map and could see something of Guildford even when the visitor centre was closed. Yes, the plaques cost money, but how about getting sponsorship or a lottery grant? I also did end up spending money in Guildford, so the heritage trail did benefit the local economy.

Rarotonga, Cook...
Destination Expert
for Rarotonga, Waiheke Island, Southern Cook Islands, Auckland Central
Level Contributor
14,206 posts
112 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

Nothing comes for free in this life. Someone, somewhere ends up by paying the price for the resources we enjoy and cherish, be it clean air, or an attractive city. This includes the public being urged to buy another lotto ticket so that more grants are available for community projects.

Personally, I like the idea of a Trust managing a valuable legacy for the benefit of the public. I also wouldn't begrudge paying $7.50 for an informative handout towards a self-guided tour. I would also find $9.50 a small price to pay to retain Napier's lovely heritage if I knew that this sum was contributing towards a brief but free handout provided by the Trust and supplementary to their main brochure. The concept of user pays springs to mind within the rhetoric. If joker4147 is reading this thread maybe he can shed light onto the situation for us?

Napier, New Zealand
Level Contributor
1,768 posts
142 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Just a little rant about Art Deco Napier

Hi all, I Have only just caught up with the thread,lots of interesting comments, first let me tell you all I am a printer and I work for the company that is not only the Major sponsor of the 'Art Deco Weekend' but also produces "all" of the Art Deco Trust' printed matter, the cost to produce these things like brochures,maps ect is not cheap, The Trust spends thousands of dollars every year on printing, I would imagine that they do make a small profit on each item and quite rightly so as they have a number of staff that work behind the scenes to not only maintain the Image of our Beautiful City but also to make sure that anyone that is interested has the chance to be well informed.. The Trust also relys on the support from local citizens and businesses and for the record that support is huge,If not for this support there would only really be two alternatives

1 the Trust closes which means no more tours,no information, countless buildings would be torn down to make way for modern marvels and our city

would loose a lot of revinue from tourism as people travel from all over the counrty and world just to see it as it is now

2 the trust would have to increase the prices of all its activities and printed matter to keep going

either of these alternatives would be unacceptable

so for the small price we have to pay for these items to kepp our city the way it is is worth its weight in gold

Goldenmean I do understand what you are saying and why, Personally I have no interest in "Art Deco" as such but I would hate to see our City change, as it so much to so many people also had I known you were coming I would have offered to take you around the city myself at no charge as I have done before for other people, perhaps next time a quick post on this forum to let the locals know of your plans and we would have been of more help

cheers john