A scene from the Hawke's Bay earthquake clean-up in Napier 90 years ago has been recreated using a restored tractor and trailer and Navy personnel who were in town for Art Deco celebrations.
The inspiration came from a photo of crew of HMS Veronica on the trailer near the intersection of Shakespeare Rd and Browning St in February 1931, and Havelock North man Wayne Clark's restoration of the 1922 Fordson Model F Industrial tractor which towed them.
In the background was the badly-damaged Post Office and Land and Deeds offices, later the site of new government offices still standing, but with a variety of tenants and occupants.
The photo is held by the Alexander Turnbull Library and last week, was created with the original tractor and trailer, and about 15 officers and crew from HMS Manawanui which had berthed at the Port of Napier for its role in the commemorations.
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At the time of the earthquake the Veronica was moored at Ahuriri, having arrived just three hours earlier and becoming effectively the government's first responder after the earthquake struck, including establishing crucial communications with the outside world.
Retired Lieutenant Commander and former Hawke's Bay regional naval officer Neville Smith said the original photo would have been taken as crew came over the hill from Ahuriri to help in rescue and recovery.
With the Art Deco Festival cancelled, and its theme being "Salute to the Services", Manawanui crew were keen to take part in the replication.
The historic photo has been around for many years, and last Friday's reproduction included cars from the era, along with people in Art Deco dress.
Navy public affairs manager Scott Sargentina said the Navy and the crew were "only too happy" to play the part, especially in light of the cancellation of events in which the Navy would have been involved.