Start writing about almost any place on the coast of New Zealand and it’s not long before a historic figure steps into the picture – Captain James Cook.
In the picture of the Port of Napier, James Cook made the first faint stroke of the brush, when, on 14 October 1769, his ship ‘Endeavour’ stood off the Napier bluff after a run down the coast from Portland Island at the northern extremity of what later became known as Hawke Bay.
Whilst Napier was declared a Customs Port of Entry in 1855, it wasn’t until The Napier Harbour Board Act, 21 October 1875 was passed before the Napier Harbour Board was born. Many acrimonious discussions were held over a period of years on the viability of moving the port from the Ahuriri spit to its current location, beneath Bluff Hill. The decision to move followed a public poll held in January 1885. The completion of the initial breakwater in 1886 was the birth of the deep water port as we know it today.
The Port of Napier Ltd was born of port and waterfront legislative reform of 1988 – 89, which spelt the end of Napier Harbour Board as an entity.
- 1876 – The vessel Caberfaioh berthed in the Inner Harbour with full shipment of hardwood piles.
- 1879 – Captain France Amades, master of the steamer Pretty Jane, was granted the first Pilot’s Exemption Certificate for the Port of Napier.
- 1886 – Completion of the Breakwater Harbour
- 1893 – Breakwater wharf was completed
- 1895 – Opening of the timber constructed Glasgow Wharf.
- 1919 – the pilot launch “Ponui” was purchased from an Auckland firm.
- 1931 – Earthquake destroyed both the town and port.
- 1933 – 1,000,000 carcases of lamb exported for the first time.
- 1950 – The East Coast Farmers’ Fertiliser Company (now Ravensdown) was formed and works commenced shortly after to construct on-port storage.
- 1973 – Construction commenced for on-port pulp storage for Pan Pac Forest Products Ltd
- 1975 – Purchase of new tug “Maungatea”.
- 1989 – Following the Government’s port reform process, Port of Napier Ltd commenced operation.
- 1990 – First mobile container crane purchased.
- 1994 - Container Depot established on port.
- 1995 – Purchase of second mobile container crane.
- 1997 – Opening of new wharf “Cassidy Quay”.
- 2000 – 50 years since first fertiliser company established, now operating as Ravensdown Fertilizer Co-operative Ltd.
- 2002 - Purchase of 3rd mobile container crane and new tug “Ahuriri”.
- 2003 - Pan Pac Forest Products celebrate 30 years in operation.
- 2006 – Purchase of 4th mobile container crane
- 2009 – Completion of No.4 Wharf berth re-development and reclamation.
- 2010 – Launching of new tug “Te Mata”.
- 2012 – Purchase of 5th mobile harbour crane