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Project Recognised for Heritage Contribution

Project Recognised for Heritage Contribution

The New Zealand Archaeological Association has acknowledged a motorway project for its sensitivity to heritage issues. In its biennial award for public archaeology, the association recognised contributions to site protection and raising public awareness of archaeology.

Transit New Zealand, in association with project alliance partners Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner, Fletcher Construction and Higgins Constructors, is the recipient of a 2002-2003 award from the Association for their sensitive undertaking of the massive motorway extension project in Grafton Gully.

Association President Garry Law said, "While ultimately destructive, the project rescued a large amount of information about early colonial Auckland."

"The Grafton Gully Project serves as a model of how to go about urban development in a way which values our heritage."

The features which made the project notable included the full integration of heritage issues in the project from the planning stage and full cooperation from construction crews and all specialists working on site. The project team implemented effective on-site archaeological monitoring which ensured that archaeologists were contacted even if remains were unearthed in their absence.

Public access to the archaeological remains is facilitated by displaying artefacts in the site information centre which effectively functions as a temporary site museum with signs and posters to explain the finds and the archaeological process.

Tangata whenua were also a critical part of the heritage team from the outset and helped the process.

Among the significant archaeological finds is the former Phoenix Foundry which was unearthed but could not be preserved in-situ. However, there are plans, initiated by tangata whenua, for reconstruction of part of the furnace on an adjacent site. Other finds, which could not be preserved but have been recorded, covered a wide range of industries which formerly occupied Grafton.

"It is the first time the Association has recognised a development project this way. I hope it is a standard that will be followed by others," says Mr Law.

The Association has made a second award to the Cornwall Park Trust Board for its visitor centre upgrade.

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