Ahuriri is now one of the most desirable residential and commercial locations in Hawke's Bay.

It was not always this way, as it was primarily an industrial and fishing area.

Many will remember the oil tank farms on Hardinge Rd operated by the Shell and Mobil oil companies.

Mobil was the site pictured closest to the entrance to the port, and Shell tank farm can be seen further along Hardinge Rd.

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In between the two tank farms in the photo is a council reserve, and Deep Sea Fisheries.

The Napier City Council reserve was once a sewage and outfall works built in 1915 with the resulting discharge outfall near the mouth of the Ahuriri estuary. The sewage disposal into the estuary stopped in mid-1974 and was shifted to Awatoto. Part of the disused sewage holding tank, I understand, is still under the present East Pier carpark, and was used as base for its construction.

Nearby Perfume Point, which is at the tip of the section at the entrance to the Port Ahuriri, had received its name because of the outfall and sewage discharge.

A name change was proposed from Perfume Point to East Pier Point in 2015 by the New Zealand Geographical Board, but the Napier City Council voted unanimously to retain the name.

Deep Sea Fisheries had vacated their site around 1988. This land was once the property of the Hawke's Bay Harbour Board but was to be settled to Napier City Council during local government reorganisation in late 1989.

East Pier was built on the site of the former Deep Sea Fisheries site in 1992, with the adjoining East Pier Hotel opened in May 2015.

Harbour View Lodge was built later, also in the 1990s in this area.

The former Shell bulk oil storage site was vacated also around 1988 and Napier City Council wanted to keep it as a permanent open space to create an open vista from Bridge St.

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Some of Shell Oil's buildings remained after the tanks were removed and the council tried to lease them because they were being vandalised. The site was later turned into a carpark in the 1990s.

In 1994, Napier City Council planned to develop the Mobil Oil site next to East Pier, which they purchased in 1993, into a recreational reserve with Napier Mayor Alan Dick describing this as a "once in a lifetime opportunity" and that the council had not purchased this site "to be a property developer".

The 1.45 hectare development site went from Perfume Point to the Hawke's Bay Sports Fishing Club, and was developed in the present Perfume Point Reserve from around 1996.

Napier City Council announced as a visionary statement during 1994 that they estimated in five years' time the whole Ahuriri area embracing Hardinge Rd, Waghorne St, the Iron Pot and West Quay areas will be transformed into a "vibrant mix of residential and commercial development".

Michael Fowler (mfhistory@gmail.com) is a contract researcher, commercial business writer of Hawke's Bay history.