A historic Art Deco-style building, constructed in Napier after the 1931 earthquake, is being restored to its former glory.

The project to refurbish and strengthen the former Bank of New South Wales building in Hastings St is being led by Napier's Halcyon Project Management (HPM).

Alison Dangerfield, Heritage New Zealand's central region area manager, said the building had been identified for heritage listing and Heritage NZ was currently completing this process.

It was built in 1933-1934 as part of the central Napier rebuild programme.


"It has architectural importance and was built in a stripped, classical style," she said.

"The building has classical features but the design of them was pulled back as a reflection of the times and without the flamboyant, formal classical features, but as a suggestion of the classical features."

Dangerfield said it strongly contributed to the historic central Napier city area.

"It comes within the Art Deco period so although it doesn't have some of the Art Deco modern design as other buildings might, it has been designed in the stripped classic style," she said.

"Quite often banks and insurance companies were designed in this way to lend gravitas, even in the Art Deco period, to the institution that was going in there."

She said Heritage New Zealand was "very pleased" to see the restoration work taking place, adding that all New Zealand buildings needed repairs and maintenance regularly.

HPM's director Rodney Howard, who has returned to his native Hawke's Bay after being away for 20 years, said this was a personal project to breathe life back into an old building.

He said the company will anchor the top tenancy with the remaining tenancy filled by Prophecy Networks Ltd and Vodafone.


"Further serviced office space will become available on the top floor in early November," he said.

"We believe it is important to support the Napier City Council, Heritage NZ and the Art Deco Trust in preserving these buildings for future generations."

Design Group - PMA's Chris Ainsworth, who is the architect for the project, said it was great to have a chance to revitalise a heritage building in Napier, adding that the project's biggest challenge had been dealing with the brickwork, and they had been mindful to keep as much of the heritage aspect of the building as possible.

The project is due to be completed this month.