Heritage buildings an ‘anchor point’
What do public loos, a solemn World War II memorial and a colourful mosaic mural have in common?
The buildings have all been deemed as having heritage significance by Auckland Council. They are among 63 places added to the council’s heritage schedule under the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.
The public can have their say on the plan until submissions close on February 28.
The council’s team leader of built heritage John Brown says it is important to make sure heritage value is not lost in Auckland.
‘‘They [heritage buildings] provide that anchor point in the environment to always refer to and take ownership of. It’s about recognising that we all have a role as custodians and that it’s something that we do in partnership with the city of Auckland.
‘‘We’re looking to protect these places of value that make Auckland unique.’’
Mr Brown says about one quarter of the listed properties are owned by the council and the rest are privately owned or public institutions. About 10 per cent are modern buildings like the Graham St council building and the Khartoum Place women’s suffrage memorial in the CBD.
All will be given national importance under the Resource Management Act, he says.
But there are guarantees buildings
no will stay on the list after public submissions are taken into account by the Unitary Plan’s independent hearings panel.
Mr Brown says there will be numerous hearings over the next two years before a final decision is made by the panel.
The Khartoum Place mem- orial is likely to be a contentious contender.
The National Council of Women of New Zealand and the Zonta Club called for Khartoum Place to be protected in the district plan in 2010 after attempts by the council and the city’s arts fraternity to remove it.
In 2010 the council’s arts and architecture community wanted it removed so the Auckland art gallery’s multimillion-dollar upgrade could be accessed by an open staircase leading from the gallery to Lorne St through Khartoum Place.
Four years earlier Dick Hubbard’s council wanted to redevelop the area but, after public outcry, Mayor Hubbard stepped in and saved it.
NCWNZ Auckland branch president Julie Fairey says the women’s council will be ‘‘ever-vigilant’’ to secure the mural as a heritage item.
‘‘There are people who think it shouldn’t be there so we will be submitting to the notified plans. We know that there are people who would like to see it removed. They see it primarily as a matter of art not as a matter of heritage.
‘‘For the NCW the memorial, regardless of artistic merit, has heritage and cultural value and it was specifically designed to be in that place. To move it potentially would destroy it.’’
Onehunga Historical Society secretary Cyril Skilton is pleased the Onehunga buildings have been recognised.
‘‘Any area should have some of its history physically on show. The history is part and parcel of the making of the community.
‘‘If you don’t remember the past the chance of it becoming a coherent community is harder to come by.’’
Past protector: Auckland Council heritage team leader John Brown stands in front of the recently protected Aotea Sea Scouts hall in Onehunga.
Disputed display: Supporters of the Khartoum Place Women’s Suffrage Centennial Memorial, built in 1993, would like to see it protected in the long term. The mural was part of nationwide centenary celebrations marking New Zealand becoming the first self-governing country to grant women the right to vote in 1893. It honours the Auckland women who worked towards women’s suffrage. It was designed and produced by ceramicist Jan Morrison and artist Claudia Pond Eyley.