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Heritage Toolkit Full Of Success Stories

A toolkit developed by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga to provide councils and community stakeholders with information and strategies encouraging the retention, preservation and reuse of heritage buildings is being launched today [Sept 15].

Saving the Town is a user friendly guide to rehabilitating and repurposing historic buildings to enable them to enjoy a ‘second life’ as commercially viable assets, as opposed to being demolished.

The toolkit includes successful case studies from around New Zealand including cities and small towns that have taken steps to preserve and repurpose heritage buildings – and which are enjoying the economic and social benefits that these historic buildings now bring.

The toolkit takes a ‘can do’ approach to older buildings that have reached the point of no return – where the choices are either rejuvenation and repurposing, or demolition. Saving the Town includes case studies that illustrate how things can change when the ‘red carpet’ is rolled out, rather than the ‘red tape’.

“Historic buildings give towns and cities their unique identities. They are familiar and often well loved by local communities both for their architectural beauty and for the stories they tell about these places,” says the Director of Organisational Development at Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and writer of Saving the Town, Dr Glen Hazelton.

Dr Hazelton was a key figure in the successful redevelopment and revitalisation of the Warehouse Precinct in Dunedin when working for the Dunedin City Council.

“When retained and reused, these buildings provide communities with a point of difference, and can result in substantial benefits. These buildings can become drivers of broader positive change including economic growth.”

Besides Napier – a standout example of a city with a unique and lucrative point of difference based on its Art Deco built heritage – other success stories include case studies from such diverse places as Auckland, Christchurch, Oamaru, Reefton, Whanganui, Dunedin and Invercargill.

“In addition, Saving the Town includes information about a range of strategies, programmes and practical initiatives that people can use to be proactive about encouraging the retention, preservation and reuse of older buildings – whether they’re owners, potential investors or regulators,” says Glen.

“The toolkit is based on the premise that positive outcomes are possible – even in the challenging environment we find ourselves in today. It avoids taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach but instead acknowledges that each location will have its own individual dynamics and issues to address – as well as its own advantages and opportunities that can potentially be leveraged.”

Saving the Town is available online – www.heritage.org.nz/resources/saving-the-town

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