There will be no UNESCO World Heritage Site status for Napier. The World Heritage Art Deco Report has concluded that Art Deco itself is not of outstanding universal value, therefore World Heritage status for Napier's unique concentration of Art Deco buildings will not be pursued.

The criteria says a place must be of "cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity. As such, the permanent protection of this heritage is of the highest importance to the international community as a whole".

The Department of Conservation submitted an application for the status in 2007.

The report on the application rejected the Art Deco architectural movement as having special significance, rather than referring specifically to Napier's collection of buildings. But it acknowledged the buildings were world famous in New Zealand, saying Napier's Art Deco heritage is, "first and foremost of outstanding value to all New Zealanders".

Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott said the rejection did not matter, the buildings were already protected, preserved and promoted.


"Our community knows the value of Art Deco to our city," she said.

Art Deco General Manager, Sally Jackson said each year the Art Deco experience in Napier became bigger and better. "The total Art Deco package offered in Napier cannot be replicated anywhere else and we treasure this," she said.

The buildings, and Napier's celebration of them have already gained international status. Lonely Planet and the BBC recently declared Napier's GEON Art Deco Weekend as one of the world's best festivals, confirmed by the thousands of visitors, many from overseas, who visit every February.