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Opotiki’s special heritage 'best of its kind'

MEDIA RELEASE


Opotiki’s special heritage ‘best of its kind’

For immediate release: Monday 3 April 2006

Opotiki’s town centre is one of the best surviving examples of its kind in the upper North Island.

That’s the conclusion of a major heritage study carried out last year by a team that included conservation architects, an historian and an archaeologist. Opotiki District Council, Environment Bay of Plenty and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust supported the project, which also involved the local community.

The team undertook the first-ever in-depth assessment of the town centre’s historic heritage researching the history of specific buildings and structures, many of them built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as archaeological sites. They also recommended actions for protecting the heritage resource in future years.

The study rated highly the survival of the original town layout, the number of intact groups of historic buildings, and the broad range of building types. Historic trees and the archaeological resource were also considered fundamental to the town’s strong heritage value.

Opotiki mayor John Forbes says the report highlights what is valuable and unique about Opotiki. “We who live here have always had an appreciation of this heritage because it surrounds us every day. Now, we can see our heritage in a wider context and seek partners for its protection and management.”

Architect Jane Matthews, who was part of the project team, says the research has provided “an amazing resource” that helps the Opotiki community understand “what is there in the town centre and what is special about it”.

The study benefited from the considerable input by local residents and groups through a series of meetings, an open day, and interviews. Historian Lyn Williams, who carried out historic research for the study, says: “We really appreciate the interest of the Opotiki community, and the time they have given to this valuable project.”

Copies of the report are available from Marion Henton at Environment Bay of Plenty on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267). While the hard copy costs $40, the CD version is free of charge. The report can also be viewed at the Opotiki District Council offices and the Opotiki Public Library.

ENDS

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