Napier ... the city where time stands still.
But only in some places.
For in Marewa, just before 12.25pm, it was also 12.45pm and 2.10pm.
Meanwhile, in the Napier CBD, it was 4.48pm...at 12.33pm.
As many visitors to the city will gleefully and almost romantically remark while looking at the Art Deco buildings, on that architectural front it is as if time stood still in 1930.
Which is a nice analogy — but of course time marches on.
Most of the time.
For as one reader pointed out in a text, there are a few sites across the city where time has indeed decided to stand still.
One of the non-ticking clocks is crafted with a tinge of Art Deco design and stands on the green belt at the corner of Latham St and Georges Drive.
On three sides it reads 12.45pm and on the fourth side it reads 2.10pm — permanently.
Meanwhile, another slice of absolute Art Deco, the Dome (aka the old T&G Building) is stuck on 4.48pm.
Meaning that for one minute of the day it is absolutely correct.
For the other 1439 minutes it is not.
Not a moving hand in sight, although it was splendid to see the great minute hand of the
Floral Clock on Marine Parade, which has been ticking away (on and off) since 1955, slowly on the ticking move.
The only downside was that when I glanced at the great clock it was showing
12.21pm ... while my very efficient little wristwatch was indicating it was actually 12.07pm.
As historian Michael Fowler wrote in a tale about the flowery clock, they were very
fashionable around the world in the 1950s, so after a trip overseas Arthur Hurst and his
wife Bosquet put together a plan to gift one to the city.
It took several months to install and the superintendent of the Napier City Council
Reserves Department, Mr L Lannie, remarked he was sure it would be appreciated by the
He also noted "it will need a lot of maintenance", and going by the lack of current timing
he appears to have hit the mark there.
Over Pandora way, off Meeanee Quay, there stands what could arguably be described as
the most unappealing looking clock in the Southern Hemisphere.
Yet while not pretty, it was close to the mark ... on one side.
At 12.18pm the good side was showing 12.20pm ... just a couple of minutes out.
However, the other side was showing 10.40am.
I am unsure as to its actual title so have dubbed it the Fifty-Fifty Clock.
Just before the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake the Napier Post Office was opened, and it had a clock attached to the side of the building, which at that time was a very modern approach.
It famously stopped at the time of the disaster ... 10.47am.
While the original has gone there is still a double-sided clock up there today.
At 10.32am one side showed 3.30pm and the other side 2.37pm.
No issues though with the Taradale Soldiers Memorial Clock which was built in 1923.
At 12.35pm on the day I checked it out it was looking absolutely splendid.
It was also showing 12.35pm on all sides.
It was ticking along rather nicely, and is also in tune to letting off the chimes.
Further down the road stands another large timepiece, atop the ANZ building.
It however, like a couple of its clockwork chums in Napier, was asleep.
Across the rivers in Hastings the grand central of clocks, the Hastings Clock Tower, was
right on time on all four of its picturesque sides.
It went up in 1935 after the 1931 quake destroyed the original clock which had stood at the corner of Russell and Queen Sts since 1909.
Its chimes live on however, in today's clock.
And a little further south, in the centre of Havelock North Village, the very pretty old
timepiece attached to what is now the i-Site information centre was also tick-tocking to
the tune of finely tuned cogs and gears, and whatever else resides inside it to keep it up
with Father Time.
At 1.02pm it showed ...1.02pm.
So no one has to seek out information from within as to what the time is in Havelock North.
In what is surely a sign of the times, the other form of timepieces spotted across the landscape, the digital variety, were all pretty much spot on.
No winding required.
It's fair to say times change.
Once upon a time fewer people could afford to wear a watch so needed great public
clocks to keep them up with the day's play.
And cars did not have clocks built in like today.
And there were no mobile devices which carry the time ... in every part of the world.
When contacted, the Napier City Council said the issue with the non-working Georges Drive clock, which was built in 1956 to commemorate the Manchester Unity centenary, was being looked at.
It had been worked on a few years ago after the hands stopped turning.
Other non-tickers around town were in privately-owned buildings so their futures were effectively up to the owners of those buildings.
Will they catch up with current times again?
Time will tell.
And remember ... even a stopped clock tells the right time, twice a day.