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Otago heritage champion receives Bluestone Award

Otago heritage champion receives Bluestone Award

Otago archaeologist and heritage advocate Dr Jill Hamel has been named the recipient of the 2013 Dunedin Heritage Festival Bluestone Award.

The award was presented in Dunedin last night at the annual New Zealand Historic Places Trust R.A. Lawson Lecture, as part of the Dunedin Heritage Festival. The award, sponsored this year by the NZHPT, recognises the outstanding contribution of an individual, business or organisation to the promotion and preservation of Dunedin’s heritage.

Owen Graham, NZHPT Otago/Southland Area Manager, says the selection of Dr Hamel was consistent with the spirit and intent of the award, which was established by the DCC in 2009.

“After 40 years of committed archaeology and historic heritage research Dr Hamel is still actively involved in projects to preserve and protect Dunedin’s historic heritage.”

In presenting the Bluestone Award, prominent New Zealand architect Ian Athfield, highlighted some of Dr Hamel’s significant achievements, including her long involvement with Otago high country pastoral leases as a contract archaeologist and historian for the Department of Conservation. This work pioneered the heritage assessment on pastoral properties across Otago and Southland.

Dr Hamel was also the driving force behind efforts promoting the protection, retention and upgrading of the 37.5km of historic seawalls encircling the Otago Harbour. She pioneered, with the co-operation of Dunedin City Council, the construction design technique now used for all seawall repair and restoration work.

Originally qualified as a botanist and zoologist, Dr Hamel began her studies in archaeology in 1966 and completed her PhD in 1977. Her extensive field based historic assessment and archaeological surveying and authoritative reports (more than 175 published and un-published works) have contributed immensely to the knowledge and understanding of early Dunedin, Otago and New Zealand. Her 2001 publication The Archaeology of Otago has become a standard field guide for the region.

Dr Hamel this week also received a Certificate of Meritorious Service from the NZHPT in recognition of her contribution to New Zealand archaeology and historic heritage and long standing association with NZHPT as a member since 1976, including as Chairperson of the Otago Regional Committee from 1981 until 1984.

The Dunedin Heritage Festival, which this year celebrates the city’s architectural heritage, continues over the weekend with many events centred around the University of Otago and the historic home of Olveston.


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