The Trust's attitude had been to always been to save the buildings through tourism because nobody took us seriously when we said that these concrete boxes were important.

People were sure that science, education, technology and mass production were going to solve their problems.

There has been a suggestion that the rebuilding of Napier in a modern style pushes New Zealanders into a greater acceptance of modernism than you would find in many other countries, even though we were quite isolated in those days.

It wasn't until the 1980s when we lost several really good buildings to another building boom that we woke up to the value of what we had.

We knew that we had to bring in overseas tourists taking photos of them and admiring them before anybody would believe us.

The fact that we were unique and that there was a huge opportunity for Napier to not only save some important heritage but to benefit economically from tourism.

In any New Zealand town, even small country towns, you will find at least one Art Deco house. These were not built by intellectuals using an avant-garde architect as you might have found in the United States. These were built by builders using handbooks for young married couples who didn't have any intellectual pretensions at all.

There was going to be no more poverty, no more ignorance, no more disease. Art Deco reflected that confidence, vigor and optimism by using symbols of progress, speed and power.