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1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake anniversary: Where to pay your respects

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The aftermath of the 1931 Napier earthquake.

Services are being held in Napier and Hastings to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of New Zealand’s deadliest natural disaster — the 1931 Napier earthquake.

Saturday, February 3, will mark 93 years since the earthquake flattened parts of the region and left a lasting impact on many families.

The 7.8-magnitude quake began at 10.47am and was followed by several aftershocks.

The death toll was at least 256 including 162 in Napier, 93 in Hastings, and two in Wairoa.

Napier service

Napier City Council is planning a commemoration service at Waiapu Cathedral at noon during the anniversary.

It will double as a remembrance service for families affected by last year’s cyclone.

“The resilience of Napier people in 1931, looking after each other then moving on to rebuild, has been seen again in the actions of so many over the past year,” Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said.

“The service is an opportunity to share some moments of reflection. The impacts on our city and people’s lives continue to be felt today.”

Commander Fiona Jameson and Lieutenant Commander Paul Eady, representing the Royal NZ Navy, will ring the Veronica Bell.

“The bell will be rung eight times in commemoration of those who lost their lives, followed by a minute’s silence, and eight times for those who emerged from the dust and ashes and took on the work of rebuilding our city,” Wise said.

The bell is from HMS Veronica, which was in port at the time of the earthquake.

Hastings service

Every year on February 3, Hastings commemorates the anniversary of the earthquake.

A special ceremony will be held next to the Hastings Clock Tower in the city centre at 10.30am.

Stories of how the event reshaped Hastings will be told and wreaths placed at the clock tower in memory of the lives lost in the earthquake.

The clock tower bell will ring at 10.47am, the exact time the quake struck the region.

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