There’s something a bit magical about this place

By   Pip   -  March 15 / 2022

Written by Napier City Councillor Sally Crown


I adore our city centre.

It is the hub I spend most of my time working and playing (eating) in. Being asked to write a tribute slash guide to it makes me a bit nervous as I could write a series.

Not wanting to miss anything, anyone, or any place out. If you decide to visit anywhere based on my suggestions, I hope you also discover other gems on your adventures. There’s plenty to be had. 

Café’s often serve as offices for meetings from breakfast time onwards. Hapī is a firm favourite with their organic goodies, warming tonics and welcoming team. Plus, there is the added-bonus of being able to pop into Chantals to grab what you might have missed at the supermarket. Meetings over a long black at Georgia, Ajuna or Poppies are equally as good as swinging by Mōrena to grab and go. Weekend brunch sessions however are often alfresco thanks to our canine whānau member and Mister Ds is a hit for all with its wee courtyard (and cheesy eggs). 

But it’s not all about food. Being blessed with a big whānau I’m often in need of a pressie to wrap (Dollar King for that!) and send off around the motu (country). My favourite treasure spots include Creative Arts Napier, The Department of Curiosities and Fine Things, Tennyson Gallery, Two Lippy Ladies, Wardini Books, Spex, MTG shop or a voucher for a Napier experience; Art Deco Tours that stretch from Marewa to the top of Mataruahou, pottery classes or painting sessions. A good rummage around our op-shops like the SPCA Shop on Emerson Street West or the Cranford Hospice Shop on Dickens never goes astray either and makes me feel a little less guilty if the treasure is one I’m keeping for myself. 

Back to food, who doesn’t love a lunchtime haunt that is cheap, cheerful and fast! Sushi, Kilim, Aroy and Bollywood Stars are often saviours that break up the day and give colleagues and I a chance to stop and be sustained. Our visitors are spoiled for choice of occasion restaurants when looking for a dinner outing. Bistronomy, Matisse, Central Fire Station Bistro, Hunger Monger or my absolute favourite Pacifica are only some of the offerings that spring to mind. 


Sally with her wee dog Joanna Lumley

A unique feature to our city is of course our architecture and location. Having risen, transformed by the forces of Ruaumoko. The determination, collaboration and innovation of the whānau of Napier in the 1930s built a personality into our city that still sees visitors choose to visit and experience us to this day.

Admiring our Art Deco buildings, strolling down Marine Parade, taking in the sights of fountains, the viewing platform, manicured gardens, the Soundshell and Moana Nui a Kiwa (Pacific Ocean) it’s easy to be charmed by our wee spot on the edge of the coast. Add in the people though, mates on the basketball court, bikers along the path, families having a bbq, dogs chasing sticks and it really does feel a bit magical.

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