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New Zealand to host World Heritage Committee

22 February 2006

New Zealand to host World Heritage Committee

New Zealand will host the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee in Christchurch in June 2007, Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today.

The nine-day World Heritage Committee meeting will be attended by approximately 600 participants and observers from the 178 State Parties to the World Heritage Convention.

“This is an enormously exciting opportunity for New Zealand to showcase our unique natural and cultural heritage, and that of Pacific Island nations,” Mr Carter said.

“Given the diversity and unique cultural heritage represented in the Pacific region, it is significantly under-represented in the number of World Heritage sites,” Mr Carter said.

The UNESCO World Heritage Convention provides for the protection of landscapes and cultural places of outstanding universal importance – the best in the world for the type of heritage represented.

The World Heritage Committee comprises representatives from 21 countries that are State Parties to the World Heritage Convention. New Zealand is currently a member of the World Heritage Committee and Ngati Tuwharetoa Paramount Chief Tumu te Heuheu heads New Zealand’s delegation. New Zealand also represents the Pacific region on the Committee.

New Zealand has three World Heritage sites: Tongariro National Park, Te Wahipounamu or Southwest New Zealand, and the Subantartic Islands of New Zealand.

The Department of Conservation is currently leading a process to establish a New Zealand list of new tentative World Heritage sites for submission to the World Heritage Committee.

Further Information go to www.doc.govt.nz/Conservation/World-Heritage/index.asp

ENDS

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