Looking after our heritage
Heritage Wairarapa was launched by Wyatt Creech, chairman of Heritage New Zealand last Sunday at Papawai Marae.
The new organisation is dedicated to informing, advising and educating about the extensive and unique heritage of the Wairarapa. There is a lot to celebrate and educate about. In 2018, a Paul Dibble sculpture will help us remember the 60,000 troops who went through the Featherston Camp. The related Anzac Hall has been refurbished. Greytown Town Hall is conserved. Martinborough is following suit.The old and the new working compatibly together. All good and there is more.
However, Heritage NZ (formerly New Zealand Historic Places Trust) is now part of a government department because of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014. It is no longer autonomous. Power lies with district councils who have control over what is deemed heritage and what can be done with or to heritage places. The three Wairarapa district councils each have heritage lists and rules operating under the Combined District Plan. Heritage Wairarapa wants to work with the three councils and with other organisations to ensure the heritage of our region is given proper consideration and there is a solid link between the community and its governance.
Top of the agenda will be to check heritage lists are complete and appropriate.
Second may be to consider how and why new earthquake legislation affects heritage. Many socalled ‘earthquake prone’ buildings have been around for well over 100 years and survived numerous earthquakes. Returns on main street businesses are marginal at best. Remediation work can cost six figures, an initial engineer’s report $5000. There is potential for our main streets to be devastated – not by earthquake but by legislation. So, the new organisation will be both celebrant and watchdog.
The launch of Heritage Wairarapa is a new beginning in our caring for heritage and our community.
David KernohanMNZMis a retired architect and author of
David Kernohan, Kay Paget, Amiria Te Whaiti and Frank Minehan of Heritage Wairarapa.