This week, on November 9, it was the first anniversary of an adverse weather event in 2020 which caused extensive flooding and around 20 slips on Napier Hill (Mataruahou).
A considerable number of houses (around 30) were left uninhabitable, and one man, artist Freeman White, had a lucky escape from a landslide.
Slips on the Napier Hill have taken place on regular occasions, and some have been worse than others.
On August 9, 1904, a large earthquake was felt in Napier – known as the Cape Turnagain earthquake and estimated to be a 6.8 magnitude.
A report said in Napier it was the most severe earthquake ever experienced there (at least by Europeans) and Hastings was not spared either.
In addition to chimneys being cracked or destroyed, and some brick buildings suffering damage, there also occurred a significant landslide from the bluff onto Breakwater Rd.
The slip narrowly missed a cabbie named McIvor – whose horse unfortunately bolted, and he was thrown from his cab, luckily only sustaining some bruises. No passengers were on board.
Two bicyclists and several pedestrians managed to escape the slip to safety on the beach.
Next year, in 1905, it would be the turn of heavy rain to cause mischief on the Napier Hill.
In May 1905 a slip on Napier Hill occurred during heavy rain and crashed into a house on Carlyle St, partially wrecking it.
On Milton Rd a slip occurred on August 4 where some boulders came crashing into the residence of Mr S Woodcock, destroying two rooms.
With the hill's cliff face looking decidedly unstable, a decision was made by him and a tenant of a nearby cottage, Mr A Bailey, to vacate.
No sooner had they done this then just before 8pm, the cliff collapsed with "resounding thunder" and the cottage was swept across the road and wrecked, while Mr Woodcock's house was carried a metre or so, and "twisted and partly upset." (Shown in the photo.)
In a sequel, Mr Woodcock took legal action against a neighbour, J F Ludwig, who he claimed directed his stormwater over the hill, thereby causing the slip. Mr Ludwig believed the landslide was caused by the 1904 earthquake and the heavy rain of August 1905.
The sum of compensation sought was £200 by Woodcock – but only £25 and costs of £21 were awarded to him.
Breakwater Rd would be the stage for two big slips during 1930 and 1931.
Douglas Barr, who had just purchased a five-seater Chevrolet sedan, picked up at 8.05pm on May 15, 1930, 18-year-old Clare Kauter from her lodgings at the Girls' Friendly Society. Travelling at 15 miles per hour (24km/h) they went in the direction of Breakwater Rd.
The harbour board's watchman, who was talking to a watersider and a harbour board employee while looking in the direction of the Bluff cliff face, heard a "terrific roar" and saw the cliff face fall.
The watchman rang the police, a doctor and ambulance. He had seen Douglas Barr coming around the corner on Breakwater Rd.
The harbour employee and watersider meanwhile rushed to the car. Such was the force of the landslide; the body of the car was completely wrecked, and the front portion torn off the chassis.
They could see Douglas Barr was already deceased. The brunt of the landslide hit the passenger side, all that was visible of Clare was her head and white fur, but she was showing signs of life.
The police wasted no time in arriving and tried to remove Clare, but with no implements and the cliff still collapsing, it took time. Before she was placed in the ambulance, she however passed away.
In the descriptions in the newspapers, they said Douglas was killed by "one large stone, fracturing the skull", while Clare "was badly crushed, almost every bone in her body being broken".
It was reported it was known this part of the cliff was unstable as a large crack had appeared along the face some months ago.
Many will know of the collapse of the Bluff hill's cliff face during the February 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.
That no one was killed in this slip was somewhat of a miracle, although at the time it was thought many had been. Boulders, described as being 15 tons (15,240kg) were seen rolling out to sea. The seawall near the breakwater port was covered by the debris (as it remained).
It was thought one man was buried in his car in the slip and listed as missing. He was wanted in connection with a £800 theft, but he was himself trying to give everyone the "slip" and was caught up with and made a court appearance in May 1931 and found guilty.
The earthquake slip was so large it was going to be a massive task to remove the debris.
Men worked during March 1931 to clear any problem areas at the top of the Bluff, and then a track was created to the Breakwater wharf.
The spoil from the slip was used to fill in parts of the Marine Parade.
It wasn't until the 1960s that the earthquake slip was cleared.
Michael Fowler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a contract researcher and commercial business writer of Hawke's Bay history. Follow him on facebook.com/michaelfowlerhistory