Ahuriri is steeped in history. One of the earliest settled areas in Napier and of deep cultural and spiritual significance to Maori, its shallow but sheltered waters offered safe mooring for sailing ships in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Formerly the site of Hawke’s Bays main port, the earthquake of 1931 forced its relocation to its current site at the Port of Napier.
Many of the buildings that once occupied industrial activities for Port Ahuriri have been redeveloped and now house a variety of commercial, residential, industrial and recreational users.
Although renewed, the historical features of those buildings have been preserved to help give Ahuriri it’s special character. The distinctive saw-tooth roof lines, buildings located right on the street boundary, subdued colour scheme and large scale is what sets Ahuriri apart from other areas in Napier.
The Old Customhouse
Built in 1895, this was the third Customhouse at Port Ahuriri, Napier. It was purchased and restored by the Napier Harbour Board in 1988. The Old Customhouse Trust was formed in 1989 to administer and maintain this historic building. The sign mounted outside the building explains its history.
The Old Customhouse is available for rental and is ideally suited to small group meetings or displays. The “Long Room” can comfortably seat thirty people and there is direct access to kitchen and toilet facilities from this room. A Museum with an extensive collection of both Customs and maritime artefacts and photographs are housed in the Old Customhouse.
The Old Customhouse Trust Deed set up the charitable trust with the objects:
- To maintain the Customhouse building
- To make the Customhouse available for use by local organisations at a low cost
- To display historic items for the enjoyment of the public
- To promote the maritime history of the Port of Napier
This is carried out by the Trustees and the group of Volunteers who open the Customhouse to the public. Summer: Every Sunday, 11am – 4pm. Winter: First Sunday of the month, 11am – 3pm (Easter to Labour Weekend). 2019 Winter hours: 11am - 3pm on Sunday 5 May, 2 June, 7 July, 4 August, 1 September, 6 October.
The Volunteers have recently catalogued the contents of the Customhouse and through their efforts the Customhouse is a tourist attraction. Community Groups wishing to hire the rooms $25 a session.
For any further information please email us.
Established to encourage the retention, preservation and use of buildings in the Art Deco and related styles, the Art Deco Trust offers guided walks or self-guided maps.
The Self Drive Tour Map incorporates historic Ahuriri (home of Rothmans Building), as well as central Napier and beyond to Havelock North and Hastings.
Guided Ahuriri Heritage Walks
Departs from 9 Nelson Quay, Ahuriri at 11am*. 1.5 hours | $19
*from 20 October – 31 March only
Self Guided Walks
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to wonderful walks in Ahuriri. Stroll along the waterfront boardwalk, take in the local heritage buildings, or enjoy a nature walk around the estuary. For more details on Ahuriri walks contact Napier i-SITE.