Friday, 12 December 2014

Marine Parade Sea Wall

Napier's first sea wall was built in the 1860's.  It was designed to prevent regular flooding of houses, shops and streets on Marine Parade known then as Beach Street.  In 1877 a huge wave knocked two cottages off their foundations, flooded many shops and smashed the front of the Court House.

Again in 1888 the sea wreaked havoc breaking parts of the wall scouring away the road and damaging every house along the street.

It was recommended by the council's overseer that a permanent  wall, that was at lease four feet wide and made of concrete (not wood) by constructed.  It should have an "apron" to alter the course of the water away from its foundation.  Some of the wall was built by the prisoners from the prison (that use to be on Bluff Hill).  It was  finished in 1889.

Now that the area was protected from the sea the council were able to develop the area.  An esplanade like back in England at resorts there was one of the plans.  It included footpaths, gardens and seats.  Norfolk pines were also planted in the 1890s.

Before the 1931 earthquake the stoney beach came right up to the wall.  After the quake some of the beach was restored with rubble from the ruins.  The grassed land (as well as other land) in the first photo has this as its foundation.

In 2013 the council put a storm water drain in the area.  Today one can see the foundations of the wall (through a special viewing frame) that has helped protect Napier from the sea ever since.