This photograph of the Napier breakwater was taken in 1897. Breakwater harbours, built in open coastal waters, were expensive and therefore controversial. For decades there was debate among Hawke’s Bay residents. The inner harbour advocates wanted to go on using the small inner harbour at Ahuriri, and to load overseas ships by using lighters. The breakwater supporters wanted to build a large, modern breakwater port similar to those at Ōamaru and Timaru. One was begun in the 1890s, but a ratepayer poll suspended it in 1909 and it took another poll 25 years later to get it finished for overseas shipping, following the Napier earthquake.
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