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Launch of On-line Register of Historic Places

19 March 2002 Hon Judith Tizard Speech

Launch of On-line Register of Historic Places

Website: http://www.historic.org.nz/Register/register.html

Welcome to all of you who have come together today in Old Saint Paul’s to celebrate the launch of Rarangi Taonga, the on-line Register of Historic Places, Historic Areas, Wahi Tapu and Wahi Tapu Areas.

This is a landmark event for New Zealand, as it marks the full entry into the public domain of the only official national record of our rich and diverse heritage.

For the first time in the more than 30 years that it has been compiled, the Register will be readily available to all New Zealanders via the Internet.

Our understanding of ourselves, and of our place in the world, can only be enhanced through the greater understanding the Register will bring of the places that have helped shape us as a nation, and that stand today as icons of our story.

Arts and cultural activities allow New Zealanders to express their aspirations as a nation, as well as being a growing source of work.

We formed this government with the belief that a well developed arts and cultural sector was integral to the vision we have for New Zealand.

We envisaged vibrant arts and cultural activities which all New Zealanders could enjoy and through which a strong and confident cultural identity can emerge.

To address a severe under-funding problem in the arts, cultural and heritage sector, we put a rebuilding programme in place. The Cultural Recovery Package in May 2000 saw $86 million injected into the sector, with ongoing funding increases of $20 million a year in the following three years.

The rebuilding programme that has been taking place over the past two years has produced remarkable achievements for New Zealand’s arts, culture and heritage.

A key achievement is much-improved access to New Zealand’s heritage through on-line projects such as Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, the National Library’s Papers Past project, the forthcoming Encyclopedia of New Zealand, and Rarangi Taonga.

I believe strongly that making key public history documents, such as the Register, available on-line will contribute powerfully to the cultural growth of New Zealand. A strong sense of culture facilitates a creative outlook and mindset, and is therefore one of the driving factors in a country’s development.

Through the Internet, the full potential of the Register to communicate the range of stories about our heritage places can now be realised. They are fascinating stories that we can be proud of, because they are our stories, and the Register will help us make that connection.

We will come to the Register for different reasons, with different levels of interest and different levels of knowledge. The achievement of the Register website will be to cater to those differences, and to provide the answers we seek.

I congratulate the New Zealand Historic Places Trust for the work that has gone into preparing this website, and making it available to the New Zealand public.

The Register today is the sum of over 30 years of recognising and recording our heritage places.

As such, it is a remarkable work of scholarship, and a tribute to the many New Zealand Historic Places Trust staff and volunteers who have ensured its continuing role as our national list of treasures, Rarangi Taonga.

It is a great honour to have the guardianship of such a document entrusted to oneself, and I commend the New Zealand Historic Places Trust for their care and nurturing of our national Register.

I look forward to navigating my way through this fascinating website, and learning the stories behind the places that are important to all of us. I know my understanding of our country will be deepened through this, and my respect for the value of our heritage places increased.

I invite you to do the same, and to let Rarangi Taonga, the on-line Register, bring the nation’s heritage to your fingertips.

Thank You.

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