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Opotiki’s heritage unveiled by major study

Opotiki’s heritage unveiled by major study

Historic town centres such as Opotiki’s are being increasingly valued for their unique and irreplaceable historic buildings and places.

Opotiki’s heritage unveiled by major study For immediate release: Wednesday 29 June 2005 Unknown aspects of Opotiki’s heritage are being uncovered by a major study of Opotiki’s historic town centre.

The project, which involves conservation architects, historians and an archaeologist, started in April and will be completed by the end of this year. It will provide an overview of the town’s historic development, with more detailed research on individual places. Its goal is to ensure Opotiki’s heritage is kept safe for future generations.

The project has thrown up some real challenges for the team, says historian Lyn Williams. “Previous floods in Opotiki have destroyed many early building records for the town centre, so identifying the date of construction and the architects for historic buildings is a research challenge.”

One exciting find was the discovery in the Hamilton Library of original plans for one of the town’s earliest buildings, Patterson’s Building in Church St. A street plan of Opotiki dating back to the 1860s has also provided information on the town’s original planning and people associated with allotments in the town centre at that time.

The study has thrown up a number of intriguing questions, including the identity of the architect who designed the Rostgard’s Building, and probably others in Opotiki’s main street and town centre.

Architect Jane Matthews, a team member, says several buildings that date from around 1910 incorporate very similar and distinctive decorative detailing. “Because of their similarities, we think that they were probably designed by the same architect – but we don’t know his name,” she adds.

Historic town centres such as Opotiki’s are being increasingly valued for their “unique and irreplaceable” historic buildings and places, she points out.

The Opotiki community will be updated on the project’s progress in a display at the Opotiki Library on Friday 8 July. They are also being asked for help in “filling in the gaps” of knowledge. “We would love some help with the questions the research has turned up.”

The research project is a joint effort by Opotiki District Council, Environment Bay of Plenty and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

To find out more, please call Bron Healey, resource planner, at Environment Bay of Plenty on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267).

CAPTION: Historic town centres such as Opotiki’s are being increasingly valued for their unique and irreplaceable historic buildings and places.

ENDS

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