Clock is tickety-boo following makeover

By Roger Moroney

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Tori Thomas (left) and Chrissy Ormond were visiting from Otamauri, west of Napier, and were delighted to take in the prettiest timepiece in the Bay. Photo/Duncan Brown
Tori Thomas (left) and Chrissy Ormond were visiting from Otamauri, west of Napier, and were delighted to take in the prettiest timepiece in the Bay. Photo/Duncan Brown

A colourful and unique Christmas gift to the people of Napier nearly 60 years ago has had a revamp after a string of "what's happened to it?" remarks by people on Facebook.

The floral clock on Marine Parade has had a pruning, planting and design makeover in the wake of Napier Deputy Mayor Faye White late last year spotting online conversations reminiscing about the giant clock.

"The online conversation was about how the clock had basically lost its lustre since its inception in the 1950s," Ms White said.

Many of the comments were from people who had grown up in Napier but since moved away, and the clock had become part of their memories of living in the city.

The clock had been gifted to the people of Napier by Mr and Mrs AB Hurst in February 1954 and the couple specifically requested that it have a Marine Parade location. Mr Hurst was a member and vice-president of the Thirty Thousand Club which had been formed to promote Napier as a tourist destination and was also part of the town planning committee after the 1931 earthquake.

There had been a world-wide fashion for creating floral clocks during the 1950s and Christchurch and Auckland also adopted the idea at the time, using American designs. The Napier clock was "planted" and set to run in December 1955 at a dedication ceremony.

It was initially positioned in front of what is now the War Memorial Conference Centre but was shifted a short distance away, and facing south toward the Sound Shell, after the forecourt of the building was extended and renovated in 1995.

Mrs White said she brought the issue of online concerns up with Napier City Council chief executive Wayne Jack, and he subsequently raised it with staff.

The clock face, dominated by a 3.4m long hand and a 2.72m small hand, was re-designed and replanted and last week was set ticking again.

It is set to start automatically at 6.30am and shuts off at 6.30pm.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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