A commemoration of the Hawke's Bay earthquake which killed almost 260 people has been hold in hot and dry conditions nearly identical to those which prevailed on the tragic morning 89 years ago.
The commemoration took place Monday in the Hastings city centre, starting at 10.40am with the clock tower bells ring just seven minutes later to mark another anniversary of the huge quake which happened at 10.47am on February 3, 1931.
Reports from the time say conditions at the time were favourable for the spread of fire following the quake. It was a hot, fine day following a dry spell of weather, and in Napier fires which started in two shops moments afterwards were fanned towards "the Hill".
Although the toll is now being disputed, the number killed by the quake is recorded at 256, including 161 in Napier, 93 in Hastings and two in Wairoa.
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The region's main commemoration has been held annually in Hastings for several years, and follows a survivors afternoon tea which was hosted by the Napier City Council, Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Hawke's Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, Art Deco Trust, New Zealand Red Cross and Napier Boys' High School at the school on Sunday.
A small number of survivors were present at the tea party and guest speaker was author and historian Michael Fowler.
The Hastings CBD commemoration included the laying of wreaths at the clock tower in memory of the lives lost.