Sutton Heritage House and Garden, 20 Templar Street, Richmond. Open 2–4.30pm, Sunday 7 March 2021. Entry is by koha.
Artist Bill Sutton’s house opens to the public
The home of Bill Sutton, one of Canterbury’s best known painters, will open to the public for the first time on Sunday 7 March. A decade on from the Christchurch earthquakes, and 21 years after Sutton’s death, the Sutton Heritage House and Garden will be offered as an artist’s residence and studio in conjunction with Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and the Ilam School of Fine Arts. When not in use by visiting artists, it will be available for visits by the public, community talks, seminars, workshops and art exhibitions.
The opening of the Sutton Heritage House and Garden is the realisation of the vision of former owner, Neil Roberts, who purchased the house following the artist’s death to ensure its preservation and with the intention of gifting it to the city for use as an artist’s residency. Following the 2011 earthquakes, Roberts’ plan was frustrated by the red-zoning of the section of Richmond where the house is located at 20 Templar Street. Roberts had no choice but to sell the property to the Crown but, following several years of uncertainty, and aided by the powerful advocacy of Dame Ann Hercus, an agreement was reached to retain the house and garden and designate the adjacent land as Sutton Park.
The Sutton Heritage House and Garden Charitable Trust was formed in 2018 to administer the house; ownership of the house and associated land was transferred to Christchurch City Council in 2020. Having suffered minor earthquake damage, the house has been fully restored with only minor adaptations required to allow for public use.
Sutton’s house and studio was designed for the artist by his friend and colleague at the School of Fine Arts, Tom Taylor. Completed in 1963, it is a notable example of mid 20th-century modern design and a rare example of a house designed to meet an artist’s specific requirements. It includes a large, north-facing studio where Sutton painted many of the works for which he is so well known. The rambling garden reflects Sutton’s philosophy of ‘nature knows best’.
Members of the public are invited to view the house and garden on Sunday 7 March, 2–4.30pm, following an opening ceremony by Mayor Lianne Dalziel. Entry is by koha. Because of the small size of the house and garden, numbers will be restricted to a maximum of 40 persons within the house at any one time.
Sutton Heritage House and Garden, 20 Templar Street, Richmond. Open 2–4.30pm, Sunday 7 March 2021.
"...The Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) will be repealed and replaced with new laws this parliamentary term, Environment Minister David Parker confirmed today.
"...The three new Acts will be the:
Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA) to provide for land use and environmental regulation (this would be the primary replacement for the RMA)
Strategic Planning Act (SPA) to integrate with other legislation relevant to development, and require long-term regional spatial strategies
Climate Change Adaptation Act (CAA) to address complex issues associated with managed retreat and funding and financing adaptation.
“Planning processes will be simplified and costs and times reduced,” he said.
"... Other key changes include stronger national direction and one single combined plan per region. And there will be more focus on natural environmental outcomes and less on subjective amenity matters that favour the status quo. Better urban design will be pursued.
Under the NBA there will be a mandatory set of national policies and standards to support the natural environmental limits, outcomes and targets specified in the new law. These will be incorporated into combined regional plans prepared by local and central government and mana whenua.
“The existing 100-plus RMA council planning documents will be reduced to about 14.”
These changes will build on the National Policy Statement for Urban Development released last year that directs councils to make room for growth both ‘up’ and ‘out’.
David Parker said the National and Built Environments Act, as the core piece of legislation replacing the RMA, will be progressed first.
“Given its significance and complexity, a special select committee inquiry will consider an exposure draft of the NBA Bill from mid-year. This will include the most important elements of the legislation, including the replacement of Part 2 of the RMA.
“I expect that the complete NBA and the SPA will be formally introduced into Parliament by the end of 2021, with the NBA passed by the end of 2022,” he said.
The Government is delivering on its promise to reform the Resource Management system based on the comprehensive review carried out last year.
The lack of heritage policies in party manifestos a fortnight from the country’s General Election is disappointing, says the country’s independent voice for heritage Historic Places Aotearoa.
President James Blackburne says that, to date, only the Greens and New Zealand First have released a heritage-related policy.
“The other parties have either not formed a policy or are yet to present one. We find this extremely disappointing.
“Heritage is an intrinsic part of our country and the communities within it. It makes us who we are and makes us unique globally.
“With potential changes to the Resource Management Act looming, we are conscious and concerned that heritage will take a back seat,” he said.
“Heritage has an economic value for the New Zealand economy. New Zealand is not just about clean and green. Heritage is what a lot of people come to see and is an important part of domestic and international tourism. Heritage tourism visitors not only stay longer, they spend more money.”
Historic Places Aotearoa, which represents member organisations around the country, believes heritage should be visible, valued, indispensable and protected.
“We would like to see the parties offer the VIP treatment for heritage with funding and support for key public initiatives including a national heritage plaques programme, heritage awards and festivals.
“We believe funding should be boosted for key government initiatives such as Heritage Equip support to private building owners, Lotteries grants and tax incentives for heritage projects, and for the heritage team itself at the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.”
Mr Blackburne said heritage agencies needed support with heritage prioritised for protection, planning and funding via local and central government.
“We need to create an environment where heritage becomes indispensable to the economic and social wellbeing of our communities. And we need strong legislation to protect privately and publicly owned heritage sites, as well as making provisions for sympathetic new development in character areas.
“Let’s hear what the parties are offering… and fast.”
Let the good times roll – Heritage wallpaper collection now online
One of the largest collections of historic wallpapers in the Southern Hemisphere – and the first Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga collection to be made available online – will go live today (September 1).
Over 650 samples of heritage wallpaper spanning from the 1870s through to the 1970s will be made available through the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga website, enabling people from all over the country – and world – to browse the unique collection at the click of a mouse.
“We really want to hear what people think about Wellington Central Library,” says Director Central Region, Jamie Jacobs. “If it is given Category 1 recognition it will be the first heritage place listed from the 1990s.” “In terms of architecture alone, the library is significant as an authentic example of postmodern architecture,” says Dr Jacobs.
The listing report is available to read at www.heritage.org.nz, with public submissions welcome until 13 October.
Chance find highlights early New Zealand cash shortage
A chance find on a Bay of Islands beach has shed light on colonial New Zealand’s economy.
A tradesman’s token – a small ‘coin’ minted for an Auckland ironmonger and trader – was found by 11-year old William Edwards of Kerikeri, while out on a post-lockdown stroll at Whangaruru with his dad Bill.
Bill Edwards, the Northland Manager for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, immediately identified the mysterious coin which was found on the beach as a relic from New Zealand’s early trading past.
“The token has a value of one penny stamped on it, and bears the inscription ‘S.Hague Smith Merchant Auckland Ironmonger’ on one side, with a likeness of Prince Albert – husband of Queen Victoria – on the other,” says Bill.
“We know that Samuel Smith arrived in Auckland in 1859 and established himself as an ironmonger and ship owner there, so the coin must date from around that time. We also know that a small trading post operated nearby, and so it makes sense to assume that the token was connected with that.”
By a strange coincidence, Smith’s brother John was one of the founders of the Thames School of Mines; a heritage property which is today cared for by Heritage New Zealand PouhereTaonga.
According to the Te Papa website, British coinage was made legal tender in 1858, though New Zealand’s Colonial Government did not have the authority to strike its own coins. Lower denomination currency used in day-to-day trading was in short supply and so an alternative was needed.
“Some business owners kept accounts for their customers and tried to get around the shortage of loose change by offering credit while others gave change in the form of postage stamps and matches,” he says.
“Other entrepreneurs, like Mr Hague Smith for example, developed their own ‘currency’ – tokens usually valued in penny or half penny denominations that could be redeemed at their outlets.”
The tokens encouraged people to return to the store. Customers, however, were frustrated by the fact that they couldn’t use them in other stores. And if the business failed, the token became worthless.
“Although tokens were never legal tender, they were an important part of the economy. According to Te Papa, which has a number of these tokens in its collections from all over the country, it was estimated that in 1874 half of the copper coins circulating in New Zealand were tradesmen’s tokens,” he says.
Almost 60 traders in New Zealand are understood to have issued their own tokens between 1857 and 1881, however use of tradesmen’s tokens declined after 1876 when a large supply of imperial coinage became available. Tokens were eventually phased out in the 1880s.
The coin was a chance find – literally lying on the sand waiting for someone to pick it up.
“We didn’t dig for it, which is important to note, as under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act it is illegal to undertake earthworks which could destroy an archaeological site without an archaeological authority,” he says.
“As an archaeologist, I know the importance of context when an artefact is found – understanding how it sits within an archaeological site can provide us with all sorts of information, which the archaeological authority process enables us to capture.
“The coin was a one-off find, however, with no archaeological context at all – so in this case it was fine for us to pick it up.”
Former Kaeo Post Office building listed as a Category 2 historic place
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga has added the former Post Office in Kaeo to the New Zealand Heritage List Rarangi Korero as a Category 2 historic place.
The listing formally identifies the landmark building as a place of heritage significance.
Kaeo has a long history of postal service dating back to 1857.
“Postal services began operating here only 17 years after New Zealand’s first Post Office was established in Kororareka-Russell in 1840,” says Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Northland Manager Bill Edwards.
“Based in the general store of lumberman and former convict William Spickman, the Kaeo sub-post office was only one of four in Northland. Spickman and his successors provided postal services to the community for over 50 years before Kaeo’s ‘official’ Post Office building was completed in 1912.”
Miriam Gibbs became Postmistress in 1876 after the death of her husband, Richard, who had been the second Postmaster. The transfer of the role to his wife appears to have been seamless.
Located next to the current Post Office building, Miriam operated her general store business and postal service for 12 years before she sold the store and moved the service to a side lean-to at her house.
“Miriam was by no means the only Postmistress in New Zealand. The Post Office was a pioneer in women’s employment in New Zealand, although women were paid less than their male counterparts,” says Bill.
“They were also required to resign if they got married – which seems incredible by today’s expectations. Interestingly, Miriam was one of several women in Kaeo who signed a nationwide petition in 1893 seeking the right for women to vote in parliamentary elections; legislation that was later passed that year.”
Besides managing mail, Kaeo’s postal services included collection of Government duties, taxes and fees; payment of pensions and advances; and operating as agents for Government bodies like the Public Trust.
“Post Offices were important hubs, and increasingly became symbolic of community progress. A major period of new post office construction in New Zealand took place between 1900 and 1914, and the Kaeo Post Office building was constructed within this ‘boom’ time,” says Bill.
Originally designed as a single-storey building, plans were finalised in 1911 for a two-storey timber structure designed in the Edwardian Baroque style, which drew on architectural features of classical influences like Rome.
“In Kaeo the architecture was executed a little differently from many places in that the Post Office was built from wood – a decision influenced by the abundance of timber in Northland,” says Bill.
Timber was supplied locally, and the building itself was constructed by Kaeo builders Joseph and Wesley Hare.
The result was an amenity that ticked all the boxes – including community pride. One observer wrote that its rimu and totara linings, when polished, ‘looked more like a handsome piece of furniture than a public office’. The new building opened for business in May 1912.
The Kaeo Post Office with its telegraph bureau room, large mail room and a small telegraph exchange represented state of the art technology, while the Postmaster’s residence upstairs included a sitting room, two bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen and scullery.
“The earliest occupant was postmistress Emily Adams. At this time, the Post and Telegraph Department was one of the largest employers in the country with more staff than the rest of the public service combined,” says Bill.
“In 1916, the New Zealand Post and Telegraph Association passed a remit supporting equal pay for female employees – a principle that the Public Services Commissioner agreed with ‘where the duties are equal’. At a time when jobs were filled in greater numbers by women due to men enlisting to fight in the First World War, this proposal was supported by many men who believed it would lead them to being preferred over women for the same position.”
Besides social change, the Post Office reflected changes in technology. In 1920, a new telephone exchange opened with 42 subscribers. The manual switchboard was operated predominantly by female employees – some as young as 14 years old. The telephone exchange became a coordination centre in requesting assistance for childbirths, medical emergencies and fires.
During the Second World War, the Post Office fulfilled vital functions for servicemen and residents connecting servicemen at nearby Army, Navy and Air Force camps. Many parcels for local servicemen stationed overseas also passed through the mail room.
The Postmaster at the time, Percy Miller, was generally the first to be notified of a local soldier’s death, and it fell to him to visit bereaved families to inform them of their loss.
“After the Second World War, the Post Office continued to be a community hub with staff undertaking informal roles including translation between te reo Maori and English for older Maori residents drawing their pensions,” says Bill.
Mail volume at Kaeo peaked in the 1970s, and the Savings Bank made for a busy workplace. During the global fuel crisis of 1979-80, Carless Day stickers were issued from here as part of government efforts to economise consumption. Weddings were carried out, and the manual telephone exchange – which included some party lines – remained in use until November 1989; the last of its type to be used on the mainland.
“Changes during the Fourth Labour Government of the 1980s impacted the service as functions of the Post Office were divided into three State Owned Enterprises – New Zealand Post, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand and PostBank. The writing was on the wall for Kaeo Post Office – as it was for many small Post Offices around the country,” he says.
“Kaeo Post Office closed for business in May 1989.”
It wasn’t the end of the road for the local landmark, however. In 2012, the building was refurbished to commemorate its centenary, and has held an important community role as a library and community centre operated by Far North District Council.
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga is delighted with the Government’s continued commitment to heritage in Budget 2020 and last Thursday’s cultural recovery package announced by Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Jacinda Ardern.
The country’s lead heritage agency receives $11.364 million in support to recover from the impact of COVID-19. This total includes the $6 million allocation announced in the Budget on 14 May to help ease financial pressures arising from increased insurance, information technology, property management, accommodation and staffing costs, and prepare a business case for the seismic upgrade and refurbishment of the Category 1 listed Turnbull House in Wellington.
“The cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic,” the Prime Minister said at Te Papa in Wellington last Thursday.
“Museums, galleries and heritage sites closed, and individual artists and arts organisations like dance and theatre companies saw their incomes decimated almost overnight.
“Funding announced today will help them get back on their feet. New jobs will be created, and the sector will innovate and connect with new audiences.”
The funding is a huge boost for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga to continue its ongoing management and development of the visitor experience to nationally important heritage properties it cares for on behalf of the nation, says Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Chief Executive, Andrew Coleman.
“The confidence and support from the Government reflects our standing as this country’s lead heritage agency and the commitment and expertise our staff have in continually achieving positive opportunities and outcomes for heritage,” says Mr Coleman.
“These are significant, prominent heritage properties that we look forward to caring for and enhancing so they become must-visit properties for New Zealanders and international visitors.”
Historic Places Aotearoa Welcomes Government Tax Changes
Historic Places Aotearoa (HPA) applauds the Government for including depreciation of earthquake strengthening in its COVID-19 stimulation packages, and providing real incentives for commercial heritage building owners.
HPA President James Blackburne said this initiative would be welcomed by commercial heritage building owners facing the burden of earthquake strengthening.
"The depreciation rate of two percent diminishing value is a good first step. We are looking forward to the Government's new heritage initiatives.
"Work on heritage buildings can be quickly made ‘shovel ready’ and this applies to strengthening. This meets the Government’s intention in their Stimulus Bills.”
Mr Blackburne commended Minister Grant Robertson for acting on the Cullen Tax Working Group's recommendation, and the Opposition's Paul Goldsmith for supporting the Bill.
Whanganui District Council councillor Helen Craig welcomed the changes, which the council and local heritage organisations had lobbied long and hard for, due to the city’s significant heritage town centre.
“A full range of incentives are needed to support heritage building redevelopment due to high costs versus the value of buildings, especially in provincial New Zealand.
“New Zealanders value their heritage but it's rapidly deteriorating and at risk due to age, changing demand and use for inner city spaces, and earthquake strengthening requirements."
Heritage restoration advocate Dame Anna Crighton concurred.
"As chair of a heritage trust restoring two commercial heritage buildings, I can state the changes to depreciation is a prudent and worthwhile practical help.
"Depreciated strengthening supports the ‘adaptive reuse’ of heritage buildings. We can look forward to seeing vibrant heritage buildings in our cities and provincial main streets."
The Government now allows commercial building owners, including heritage building owners, to depreciate the capital cost of earthquake strengthening by 2 percent in diminishing value.
In addition, this will be an incentive for Heritage Building "Adaptive Reuse" Projects where the original use is changed ie, a government building interior is converted to lawyers offices with full IT support.
(The change was made in Section 39 of the COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Act 2020 Public Act 2020 No 8. Date of Ascent March 2020.)
Media Contact: James Blackburne President Historic Places Aotearoa Moblile: 027 481 8093
Celebrate our national day on 6 February and visit 15 staffed properties that Heritage New Zealand cares for. Entry is free, with special events planned at some of the properties.
There's some amazing stories to share, so come along, be part of our heritage and make a day of it with family and friends. Pick up a copy of our special Waitangi Day commemorative booklet.
10am - 4pm, free admission
Site of the largest signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. See the table on which the Treaty was signed and imagine the huge gathering of over 3000 people and hundreds of waka on that day.
Flags flying! Display: The Story of our Flags.
10am - 4pm, free admission
Home of James Reddy Clendon, and his second wife Jane. Their home and story sheds light on the early colonial politics of Northland. James Clendon was one of the few Europeans who signed the Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Waitangi.
Flags flying! Display: The Story of our Flags
Pompallier Mission and Printery
10am - 5pm, last admission at 4.30pm. Free admission
Explore the Printery and Tannery building and beautiful gardens. Guided tours of the site at 11am and 2pm. Browse in our French–themed shop and enjoy coffee and croissants from our pop-up café (own cost), with views across the bay. Flags flying! Display: The Story of our Flags.
Kerikeri Mission Station - the Stone Store and Kemp House
10am - 5pm, last admission at 4.30pm. Free admission
Perfect place for a family day out, Kerikeri Mission Station has it all. Guided tours of the site including Kemp House at 11am and 2pm. Numbers limited.
The Honey House Café and the Stone Store shopping experience are operating as usual.
Flags flying! Display: The Story of our Flags.
Te Waimate Mission
10am - 5pm, last admission at 4.30pm. Free admission
Explore the Mission House at New Zealand's first farm. Bring a picnic to have under the trees. A great family day out in a beautiful historic place.