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Government commits funding to Carter Observatory

22 September 2008

Government commits funding to Carter Observatory

The government has committed over $39,000 to Wellington's Carter Observatory as part of a redevelopment of the facility.

The funding comes from the Tourism Facilities Grant Programme which supports projects that enhance the understanding and enjoyment of New Zealand by overseas visitors.

Mr O'Connor said the government is pleased to help support the refurbishment which aims to create an international-quality visitor attraction and astronomy education resource.

"The new facilities will attract significantly more visitors to create a world-class, self sustaining education and unique cultural tourism experience," said Mr O'Connor.

"The new project will educate visitors about New Zealand's pioneers in astronomy and weave this into stories of interpretation of Maori cosmology and astronavigation. It will showcase the science, culture and heritage of the Southern skies and tell uniquely Kiwi stories of astronomy.

"This ties in well with the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015. The two underlying principles of the Strategy are kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga. We not only have to ensure we manage our natural and cultural resources for the benefit of future generations but also that we share our knowledge and beliefs with our visitors.

"The Strategy also identifies the need to provide a world class visitor experience. This is one that provides visitors with a rich experience of our cultural, environmental and social values through quality interpretation and opportunities to learn and engage. This new educational facility will do just that and the government is proud to be funding part of the project," said Mr O'Connor.

The Carter Observatory attracts some 15,000 people per year of which 61 percent are international visitors.

Mr O'Connor commended the Wellington City Council for their vision and foresight in tackling the new project, working with other stakeholders to ensure the refurbishment is complete in time for summer.

"I look forward to hearing how the project is progressing and seeing the completed renovation later this year," he said.

ENDS

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