Whanganui’s heritage on the world stage
In a first for New Zealand, Whanganui has been accepted into the League of Historical Cities – an international affiliation of cities developed to recognise the values that historical urban areas bring to local and international communities.
Whanganui is the sole member city in New Zealand and one of only four others in the Pacific region. Notable member cities around the world include Athens, Istanbul, Kyoto and Melbourne.
Membership of the League provides opportunities to foster relationships with other historic cities, sharing principles and practices that will ultimately strengthen our cultural landscape.
“This is extremely exciting to be grouped with these cities,” says Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall.
“International recognition of Whanganui’s unique heritage is testament to the work that the community has put in to preserving and enhancing the city’s historical cultural values.
“The river has shaped the history of the city and its people and has inspired oral, visual and written creative expression over many centuries, mixing both indigenous Māori and European settler culture. It hasn’t always been a smooth sailing but it’s important to acknowledge the history and preserve our heritage.
“We now look forward to creating international connections, sharing experiences, and using those to leverage economic and social benefits from our heritage assets. Our membership provides a platform to maximise economic returns from the city’s heritage base.”
Whanganui District Council Heritage Advisor, Scott Flutey, says, “As one of New Zealand’s oldest cities, Whanganui has many heritage buildings and attractions – including marae, homesteads, memorials and civic buildings – that provide a strong sense of place and identity.
“The concentration of signiﬁcant heritage buildings combined with our rich cultural identity is especially profound,” he says. “Membership of the League further supports the need for a Whanganui Heritage Strategy, which is to be developed this year.”
For more information about the League of Historical Cities visit: http://www2.city.kyoto.lg.jp/somu/kokusai/lhcs/about/outline.html