Napier Art Deco Festival organisers say next year's event is likely to be as big and successful as ever, despite the impact of the Covid-19 crisis forcing the trust that runs it to scale down.

Art Deco Trust chairman and historian Michael Fowler confirmed job losses would occur, but there would be no compromising on plans for the 32nd annual celebrations on February 17-22, 2021.

The thousands who flock to Napier's globally-renowned celebration of the architecture and times of the 1931 Hawke's Bay Earthquake are 97 per cent from within New Zealand, according to surveys.

Crowds of up to 40,000 have been estimated for past Saturday-afternoon Napier CBD parades.


The major issue is the availability of funding, but Fowler says sponsors are sticking with the trust, including the major support from the Napier City Council.

But there are significant downturns coming through the rest of the year, particularly related to cancellation of cruise liner stopovers, Fowler said.

In May, the trust announced the restructuring proposals and cancellation of this year's Winter festival – which had been held annually since its founding as Deco Decanted in 2003 and which would otherwise have been held on July 17-19.

Fowler said this week that after consultation with employees and a detailed appraisal of the trust's current and forecast financial positions, its board decided on changes that will see six roles disestablished and three new roles established.

"The changes will ensure the trust is able to maintain its focus on preserving and protecting Napier's art deco buildings and continue its promotion of the city's unique heritage, despite the significant financial impacts of Covid-19," he said.

Its retail store on the corner of Tennyson and Herschell streets, just metres off Marine Parade, will continue to operate, as will art walks and vintage car tours.

He said that with traditional sources of funding no longer so readily available and with the dramatic loss of international visitors from the region, the trust had, like so many others, had to "adapt to survive".

The trust was optimistic it would succeed with an application to the Government for financial support as a strategic tourism asset.


"That would make a big difference to our immediate circumstance," he said. "However, funding is not guaranteed, and it doesn't alter the fact we need to make changes to the
way we operate."

"These changes mean the trust will be able to weather the unprecedented effects of the global pandemic and scale up once international visitors return to our shores," he said.