Captain Cook was probably the first European to arrive here. He sailed into Hawkes Bay in October 1769 and again in 1773. He named the bay in honor of Sir Edward Hawke, First Lord of the Admiralty. The traders arrived in 1831 only to be followed by a succession of Anglican and Catholic missionaries. The first flock of sheep arrived in 1849 and the first New Zealand winery began in 1851 thus forming the backbone of the Hawke’s Bay economy. The first orchard was planted in 1892 and the local horticultural industry was established. The port at Napier became a transportation hub. The wool, wine, produce and logging industries continue to this day.
The earthquake of 1931 destroyed Downtown Napier. When the area was rebuilt, it was designed in the fashionable style of the time: Art Deco. Today, Napier is the Art Deco capital of the world!