The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 45
" The town of Napier is a pretty little place, the commercial entrepot of a large pastoral and agricultural district. The greater part of it stands on the seashore, and excepting page 63 the Ahuriri Bluff, which was once an island, is backed by miles upon miles of low, flat rich land, backed in turn by low hills, which rise, however, into the Rhuaini Range of great height, snow-covered in winter, and is the boundary of the Hawke's Bay and Auckland districts.
"Napier supplies capital accommdoation for travellers, and possesses one of, if not the, largest hotels to be found in the colony. It is named "The Criterion." Of others, the Masonic, immediately opposite, takes equal rank, and there are many others of good repute. Hastings Street is the main thoroughfare of the town, and is flanked by shops, in which all kinds of wares are vended at reasonable prices. Hotel charges for travellers are about the same as elsewhere, say, 10s per day.
"The various religious denominations are represented by places of worship, well built and commodious, and the principal banks have established branches in the town. There is a Mechanics' Institute, where strangers are made welcome, and in the large edifice known as the Government Buildings, will be found the Post and Telegraph offices. Napier has also a Town-hall, and a very well organised and equipped fire-brigade, a steam fire-engine being part of their appliances. The interests of the place are guarded and promoted by two newspapers, the Herald (morning), and Telegraph (evening).
"The main trunk line of railway, that will eventually connect with Wellington, extends southwards sixty miles, and passes through rich country, dotted here and there with rising hamlets, sheep stations, farms, &c. Trains travel at the rate of 16 miles per hour, stoppages included. A stay of a day or two at Napier, and a run up the railway, would be profit and pleasure combined, as well as a grateful relaxation after the fatigue of sea travelling."