Spirit of Napier


Frank Szirmay



  • Fountain


  • Bronze
  • Concrete
  • Fountain/water feature mechanism


  • H11,000 x W6500mm approx

Frank Szirmay, ‘Spirit of Napier’ (1971), Foreshore Reserve, Ahuriri Napier

Image: Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021


Unveiled in late December 1971, the statue represents Napier rising from the ashes of the devastating 1931 earthquake.

“It also shows the prosperity won in Napier since the earthquake. The statue, standing in the Gilray Reserve, was given to Napier by the late Dr. Thomas Gilray, a former superintendent of the Hospital.

Finance was provided from the Gilray Estate $8,000, a donation from Mr L.E. Harris (now Sir Lewis) - Brooklands $5,000, and $14,000 contribution from subdivisions set aside for expenditure on public reserves.

The centrepiece was lifted into place on 7 December 1971, but was not unveiled until December 22 of that year.

150 people attended the ceremony and the chairman of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, Mr W.N. Sheat, of Wellington, unveiled the statue.

The Mayor of Napier at that time, Sir Peter Tait said the sculpture had been aptly named and depicted the rebirth of the city.”