HB Earthquake 1931

Hawke's Bay Earthquake 1931 - Photo Gallery

Photo:  Heretaunga Street Hastings.  Some buildings have been demolishe

Photos of the Hawke's Bay Earthquake 1931 held in the Archives of Hastings District Libraries.  Click on the main photo to scroll through photos.

Details of these photos are available on the Library Catalogue - search the Local History Images collection.  Terms of Use

Hawke's Bay Earthquake 1931

Tuesday 3 February 1931 - a typical calm hot Hawke's Bay summer day. At 46 minutes and 46.3 seconds after 10.00am Hawke's Bay was devastated by two violent shocks in quick succession, followed for days by after shocks.

The earthquake of magnitude 7.8* was recorded all around the world. *Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS). There were many casualties - 256 were killed, 2 missing, over 400 hospitalised with serious injuries.

1931 Hawke's Bay Earthquake - Library Resources


  • The Local History Images collection has over 100 images of the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.  Search the Catalogue for these.


  • Hastings Library has newspapers on microfilm covering this period.
  • Some recent newspaper articles have been catalogued.


The following are some of the books held in the Hastings District Libraries on the 1931 Hawke's Bay Earthquake, listed with the most recent at the top.

From disaster to recovery : the Hastings CDB 1931-1935 by Michael Fowler, 2007

Quake : Hawke's Bay 1931 by Matthew Wright, 2001, second edition 2006

1931 Hawke's Bay Earthquake - Online Resources

Below are some of the online resources available on the 1931 Hawke's Bay Earthquake and its aftermath:

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand (1966)

Photos of 80th Anniversary Earthquake Commemoration

Image: Pipers marched down Heretaunga Street heralding the commemoration ceremon

Thursday 3 February 2011

A moving commemoration ceremony was held in Hastings to mark the 80th anniversary of the 1931 Hawke's Bay Earthquake. 

Remembering those who died, those who survived and those who rebuilt our towns. 

Click on the photos to view enlargements.

1931 Hawke's Bay Earthquake - Casualty List

In memory of those who lost their lives in Hastings and District

"Their sun went down before it was noon"

Hastings District Library staff have compiled a list of Hastings casualities from various sources.


Did you know that Hawke's Bay is one of the most seismically active regions in New Zealand? Are you prepared?

Hawke's Bay Emergency Management website

GNS Science Te Pū Ao


Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management


Hastings, Heart of Hawke's Bay
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