As the Japanese advanced southwards during World War II in February and March of 1942, fears of an invasion meant defence measures and protection against an air strike were taken.

It was thought by the government that the four main cities would likely be targets first.

The next order of vulnerability identified was "coastal boroughs situated on or adjacent to the coastline". Napier and Hastings were included as being part of this group.

A meeting was held in Napier in late February 1942 to discuss the building of air raid shelters, but unfortunately no one thought to invite the Hastings