Owners bring two historic sites back to life

By Tracey Chatterton

2 comments
STANDING STRONG: Napier Post Office. PHOTO/DUNCAN BROWN
STANDING STRONG: Napier Post Office. PHOTO/DUNCAN BROWN

Two business owners are being praised for bringing two old buildings into the future.

The Napier Post Office and the Hastings Power Station Building have been refurbished to become areas of vitality within Napier and Hastings, the Historic Places Hawke's Bay has said.

Both buildings have had a huge amount of resources poured into them to each emerge with a significant presence within their streetscapes while complying with the new earthquake standards.

The Historic Places Hawke's Bay Committee is aware and sympathetic to the need for buildings to have an economic use, and Gerald Grocott and Chris Hart - owners of the Post Office and Wallace Development Company Ltd, owner of the Power Station Building - are to be commended for their investment that allows our history to be used and celebrated.

Buildings such as this could have seen the wrecker's ball but have been saved for future generations to enjoy alongside modern architectural gems in our region, the committee said.

The Post Office, completed in 1930, was one of the few buildings to survive the earthquake but was gutted by fire. It was built using Oamaru stone and Coromandel granite. The three-storey building on the corner of Hastings St and Dickens St in Napier was originally owned by the government.

The Power Station Building was built in 1912 by the Hastings Borough Council to house a diesel-powered DC power station supplying Hasting and Havelock North. The power station was mothballed in 1927 when the national grid reached Hawke's Bay but was brought back into service in 1931 on the day of the Hawke's Bay earthquake to maintain water and electricity supply.

The power station was taken over by the Power Board in 1934, and it remained on standby to serve during the power shortages of World War II.

It was still on standby in 1961 and it is not known exactly when the plant was finally decommissioned.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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