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The Cult Of Heritage


New Zealand has a unique heritage in its historic buildings and sites that is increasingly valued as we become a mature nation.

In response to this growing interest, a book has just been published, titled Common Ground? Heritage and Public Places in New Zealand. Edited by Dr Alex Trapeznik, executive director of the Centre for Public History at the University of Otago, the book is this country's first detailed guide to historical and cultural heritage management. It addresses a wide range of heritage issues and is well-illustrated.

Chapters are written by specialists in a number of areas - history, architecture, archaeology and planning. Auckland architect Jeremy Salmond discusses heritage terminology and conservation planning. In a chapter titled 'From Shrine to Shop', Gavin McLean looks at the changing uses of historic places in the past century. Tourism has now turned heritage into a money-making business, with heritage trails and historic houses with shops and cafés. Other chapters provide a historical overview of the heritage movement in New Zealand from 1890-2000, conservation charters and plans, and legislation affecting heritage issues.

It is not only buildings that are of historic interest, but also the landscape itself. Two chapters explore heritage and the landscape, one focusing on archaeological sites, and the other looking at the physical environment of the landscape and the historical events that have shaped it.

The book also serves as a practical guide to assessing the heritage significance of specific places. The final chapter provides a brief guide on how to research historic places to obtain maximum information in a limited time, and build up a case for heritage significance.

Common Ground? is published by the University of Otago Press, and is both scholarly and accessible. It is a useful guide for public historians, architects, conservators, planners, policy-makers, archaeologists and museum workers, as well as owners of heritage properties and heritage supporters generally. The book's foreword is by Dame Catherine Tizard, as chairperson of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.


Contents: 1. Public History, Heritage and Place 2. Where Sheep May Not Safely Graze: History of the heritage movement 3. From Dead Ducks to Historic Buildings: Heritage terminology and conservation planning 4. Sense or Nonsense: Heritage legislation 5. From Shrine to Shop: The changing uses of New Zealand's historic places 6. Heritage and the Big Picture: Reading a cultural landscape 7. History at Ground Level: Reading an archaeological site 8. Building a Case: Assessing significance

About the Editor Alexander Trapeznik teaches History at the University of Otago and is executive director of the University's Centre for Public History. Contributors: Ian Barber, Michael Kelly, Gavin McLean, Jeremy Salmond, Alexander Trapeznik, Greg Vossler Foreword by Dame Catherine Tizard, Chairperson, New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Common Ground? Heritage and Public Places in New Zealand Edited by Alexander Trapeznik ISBN 1 877133 91 4, 172 pp Due October 2000, $39.95

CONTACTS For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact Philippa Jamieson, Publicist, University of Otago Press tel (03) 479 9094, fax (03) 479 8385 email

OR contact the editor directly: Dr Alex Trapeznik, Centre for Public History, University of Otago Tel (03) 479 8641, fax (03) 479 8429 email:

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