Although the epicentre of the earthquake of 3 February, 1931 was to the north of Napier, Central Hawke's Bay was not spared. The main damage in Waipukurau was the bulging in the stage wall at the Municipal Theatre, the loss of the top part of the soldiers monument and damage to the clock on the Post Offfice. The Tavistock Hotel also sustained considerable damage. In Waipawa there was damage to the Limbrick Buildings, the bakery and tearooms, the Jewellers and the Gasworks. Mr S Burkin's Boot Repairer's shop was totally destroyed and Mr Burkin subsequently died from the injuries he received. Over 900 chimneys around the district were destroyed. Central Hawke's Bay played a pivotal role in the evacuation of earthquake refugees from Napier and Hastings. The hospital emerged relatively unscathed from the earthquake and bed were found for patients of the ruined Napier hospital and earthquake casualties. A base camp for refugees was established at the racecourse and within a fortnight more than 500 refugees were accommodated there.
(Information courtesy of: Abbot's-Ford: A History of Waipawa by Margaret A Gray. 1989. CHB Print, Waipukurau and Waipukurau: The History of a Country Town by Patrick Parsons. 1999. CHB Printers & Publishers, Waipukurau. A Waipukurau rotary Club's Millennium Project)