The National Cafe (est. 1928) was a dimly-lit narrow room with exhausted red carpeting, Formica tables and vinyl-upholstered chrome-legged chairs. A row of cylindrical glass lampshades dangled from the high ceiling, vinegar and Worcester sauce bottles stood in cruet sets on each table. The waiter was 89 years old. The menu offered steak and chips, egg and chips, sausages and chips, fish and chips and baked beans on toast. I ordered steak and chips.
In Napier, on the first day of my visit, 2000 passengers from the cruise ship “Dawn Princess” garbed in cruise-wear and dangling cameras wandered down the main street, or succumbed to the blandishments of touts dressed in striped blazers and boaters keen to sell them “an authentic Art Deco experience”. This seemed mostly to involve rides in open-top vintage cars or traipsing behind a tour guide like a gaggle of school children on a not very interesting field trip.