Napier is internationally renowned for Art Deco architecture. It's one of the main drivers of tourism for the region, especially during the annual Tremains Art Deco Festival which officially opened on Wednesday.

Now in its 30th year, the first-ever festival had just seven events but this year there will be more than 200.

The festival attracts thousands of people from all over the world, many bringing along their vintage cars.

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Event director Glen Pickering said the Art Deco Festival spirit came from hard times in the Great Depression.

"They wanted to have fun and have a big party and that is essentially what the festival is," he said. "It's fun and it's frivolous, it's music and entertainment."

He said Art Deco made Napier unique with "amazing" architecture after the majority of
Napier was destroyed in the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.

This year's theme is music, with an international cast presenting the opera Madame Butterfly, just one of many events throughout the weekend.

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"There is something special about this festival – it is so inclusive and so accessible. There are free events and ticketed events, so there is something for everybody."