The official launch of Historic Places Aotearoa by the Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, took place in Wellington today at Government House. It is a turning point for New Zealand’s heritage and marks a new beginning for local advocacy. The opportunity for communities to be more active in having a voice in preserving their heritage for future generations is a return to the original spirit of heritage protection in New Zealand.
Historic Places Aotearoa Incorporated is a grassroots organisation that works outside of government and will be run by its members. Through membership of the national body (HPA) there will be Regional Societies formed in every corner of New Zealand. These Regional Societies will be composed of people who have heritage at their heart and want to see our historic buildings, sites and cultural landscapes protected and conserved.
Historic Places Aotearoa was formed to fill the gap that the review of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Toanga Bill, currently before Parliament, will create. The Bill will disestablish the current New Zealand Historic Places Branch Committees thus cutting adrift hundreds of volunteers who over a period of more than fifty years have given their time, energy and enthusiasm to heritage protection.
Historic Places Aotearoa Patron, Dame Anne Salmond, said:
“From this moment, there will be two powerful voices for the protection of historic sites and buildings in New Zealand. The New Zealand Historic Places Trust (to be renamed Heritage New Zealand), is a Crown entity supported by government funding and charged with upholding the Historic Places Act.
Historic Places Aotearoa is a non-government organisation which is able to advocate for historic sites and buildings without fear or favour. As two organisations dedicated to the same cause, NZHPT and HPA will almost certainly work closely together.”
The inaugural President of Historic Places Aotearoa, Anna Crighton of Christchurch said:
“HPA will retain the ‘eyes and ears’ of those hundreds of volunteers in the regions which could have been lost through the disestablishment of the current system. This is especially important in light of the threats to heritage we have all seen, especially in Christchurch.”
“Christchurch and Canterbury’s heritage has been particularly hard hit with the earthquakes and this could easily happen in other parts of New Zealand. A strong voice to advocate for vulnerable heritage from not just earthquakes but also from man-made destruction through inappropriate development, is immediate and necessary.”
“With the support of our members, our new organisation will be promoting and encouraging the establishment of best practice for heritage protection and conservation throughout New Zealand.”
For more information contact -
Historic Places Aotearoa