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New Zealand’s Heritage Goes On-Line

New Zealanders’ understanding and appreciation of our country¹s heritage places will take a huge step this month when the statutory Register of Historic Places, the only official record of our rich and diverse heritage, goes on-line.

For over 30 years, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, the nation¹s leading heritage agency, has been compiling and maintaining the Register, which today lists more than 6,000 heritage and wahi tapu sites and areas. While full reports on each place could always be consulted at Trust offices, many of them have not been readily available elsewhere until now.

In May 2000 the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. Helen Clark, announced that as part of the Government's Cultural Recovery Package, funds would be made available to the Trust to upgrade the quality of the National Register with the goal of making it more accessible. Three heritage researchers were appointed to check register entries and to prepare reports on heritage places.

The result today is a website featuring nearly 1,000 heritage places - archaeological sites, buildings, gardens, bridges, cemeteries, shipwrecks etc. - with full reports for about 300. The site, like the Register on which it is based, is a work in progress. Throughout 2002, and beyond, many more Register entries, reports and photographs will be added to the site.

The Register is to New Zealand¹s heritage places what the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography and the Encyclopedia of New Zealand are to its people and history. The issues at its heart are central to larger questions about our history and national and regional identities: what are the places that are so important to us that their continued existence must be assured? By recognising through statutory listing the importance of the Treaty House, Waitangi, the Kerikeri Mission Station, Parliament Buildings, Wellington, and more than 5,900 other places, the Register is a remarkable effort to answer such questions.

The on-line Register will be officially launched at 5.00 p.m. on Tuesday March 19th simultaneously in Kerikeri, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Oamaru, and at 12.00 p.m. the following day in Invercargill.

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