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United Nations day for Cultural Heritage

United Nations day for Cultural Heritage

United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage had been a significant year in terms of focusing on the importance of preserving our cultural heritage for future generations, said Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Judith Tizard this morning.

Judith Tizard joined Te Atiawa tangata whenua, National Commission for UNESCO Chair Margaret Austin, Race Relations Conciliator Joris de Bres and children from Te Kura Kaupapa o Nga Mokopuna at a dawn ceremony in Wellington’s Civic Square to mark the end of the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage.

“We are a unique nation, building a future on a foundation of biculturalism and the ongoing enrichment of our cultural heritage by the many groups of people who live here,” said Judith Tizard.

“This year has been an opportunity for conversations about how we protect and nurture the tangible and intangible aspects of New Zealand’s heritage, and about how we respect each other’s cultures.” The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO in partnership with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Te Puni Kokiri co-ordinated a range of activities promoting awareness of cultural heritage throughout the year.

Judith Tizard said in its first three years the government had contributed in a number of ways to ensuring the places, records, symbols, objects and institutions that maintain and promote New Zealand’s national identity are respected and supported.

“We ensured financial stability for our major cultural institutions and set up the Regional Museums policy to help house collections of national importance. We have also helped to improve New Zealanders’ access to our heritage with 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, the on-line Register of Historic Places, Historic Areas, Wahi Tapu and Wahi Tapu Areas.

“We will continue to support the diversity of our cultural heritage and encourage conversation about who we are as New Zealanders. Our future success as a small trading nation in this globalising world depends upon using all our people, all our creative capacity and all our cultures. To do that we must have confidence in who we are.

“A strong cultural heritage is a key to that confidence,” said Judith Tizard.

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