The following text appeared the The Christchurch City Council Draft Heritage Strategy 2019-2029.
Councillor Andrew Turner has generously granted us permission to reproduce it here.
Our heritage, our taonga
Our heritage, our taonga defines us. It is who we are, where we have come from and it guides what we will become. It contributes to our own personal sense of belonging and identity and anchors us to our communities and our city. Heritage connects us: to this place, to each other, to the past and to those who will follow us.
Our heritage is precious and valuable. It has social, cultural, educational, recreational and commercial benefits. It contributes to our cultural wellbeing and brings visitors to the district. We are guardians of our taonga, charged with caring for these treasures and passing them on to our children.
The devastating environmental, social and cultural impact of the Canterbury earthquakes has changed the district forever. They are a part of our story. We now have an opportunity to look to the future of our heritage and to treasure and celebrate the heritage buildings and places we still have left. This strategy provides an opportunity to celebrate our heritage in a much broader, more inclusive and more meaningful way. We have a chance to work together to celebrate the taonga tuku iho (heritage) of our six papatipu rūnanga and understand what this place means to them. It also provides an opportunity to hear from Pasifika and other cultures and communities about how they have contributed to the story that is Christchurch and Banks Peninsula, and to build on the work done by previous generations and the knowledge and legacy they have built. It also lets us celebrate the local distinctiveness which gives our communities their identity, and remember all that has been lost through memories which we can share and weave together to bind our stories and places and connect us.
This strategy has been developed in partnership with Ngāi Tahu and through extensive engagement with our communities. It affirms our city’s desire to understand, celebrate and protect its heritage. We have a responsibility to future generations to safeguard our rich and diverse taonga. We can only do this if we work together in a spirit of partnership, collaboration and engagement to understand and appreciate what our heritage is, and why it is so important.
Deputy Mayor of Christchurch
Banks Peninsula Ward Councillor