Climate Change News

Terrible Earthquake Disaster at Napier-Hastings and Surroundings [Video]

Ted Coubray, 1931

As a custodian of historical records, Archives are invaluable because they contain images and information about places that may no longer exist and show how things used to be. At 10.47am on a summer’s day in 1931, a devastating earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale hit the Hawke’s Bay.

The precise time of the quake, on 3 February 1931, is known because the Napier Post Office clock stopped as it struck. Despite the heroic efforts of locals and sailors from a visiting Royal Navy ship, HMS Veronica, the death toll quickly reached 256, and thousands more were injured. The quake remains one of New Zealand’s deadliest natural disasters.

Napier and Hastings collapsed in ruins and had to be rebuilt. Scenes of the terrible devastation were filmed and shown in news bulletins around the world. This film, shot by Ted Coubray, shows the aftermath of the earthquake with collapsed buildings, rubble …

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