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Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations Announces 2024 Theme And Introduces The New Committee.

The Oamaru Victorian Celebrations Committee was elected at their AGM on 13 March. This year the committee is comprised of a mix of new and existing members. Those elected are Wendy Jones, Joanne Rose, Marjin Dogterom, Cyndi Christensen, Natalie Wilson, Carolyn Lewis and Graeme Simpson.

Returning again, Everall Deans as event coordinator.

List of officer roles:

Co-Chairs-Wendy Jones, Cyndi Christensen

Secretary-Joanne Rose

Treasurer- Marjin Dogterom

Committee-Graeme Simpson, Carolyn Lewis, Natalie Wilson

Pictured left to right: Joanne Rose, Natalie Wilson, Everall Deans, Cyndi Christensen and Wendy Jones. Missing are Marjin Dogterom, Carolyn Lewis and Graeme Simpson. (Photo supplied)

Success of the 2023 Celebration featured the theme “Migration Stories” and in addition to Victorian events, many new events saw the programme grow from 70 different offerings to over 100 different events filling 150 time slots. As a result, the final programme included more Victorian-themed events than in previous years, while broadening the Celebrations' appeal to a wider range of community groups. While the Committee retained the Victorian theme for events near the Heritage Precinct. The other 100+ events were hosted at the Library, art gallery, artisan studios, museum, cafes, churches, schools, and heritage sites and offered exhibitions, performances, displays, demonstrations, tours, talks, and other educational opportunities. A highlight was Musical Theatre Oamaru’s production of “That Bloody Woman” based on the 19th-century suffragette movement led by Kate Sheppard. Several service clubs raised funds as part of the Celebrations.

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The momentum from last year's event will carry on this year with “Growing for Gold”

The 2024 theme “Growing for Gold” was chosen as it has universal application for this year's events and activities. Oamaru and through the district in the 19th century was quite literally and figuratively- growing for gold.

As a gateway to the Otago goldfields, Ōamaru grew as a supply town for miners seeking ‘the colour’ that physically underpinned the gold standard supporting the British currency. Golden limestone was extracted from the ground, and used to build imposing banks that converted gold ore into credit for commerce worldwide. Farmers grew the golden grain tha breweries made into liquid gold - beer and whisky - to fuel the increasing population. More ‘gold’ was added to the economy as overseas markets grew for wool and frozen meat produced here.

Times may have changed, but that ‘gold’ is still there, in the magnificent buildings, businesses, and people that make Ōamaru so iconic.

We are happy to talk with anyone interested in getting involved, whether to offer an event, become a volunteer and assist at an event. In particular we would love to hear from schools. Please email ovhcommittee@gmail.com.

Join us between 14-17 November at the Ōamaru Heritage Celebrations 2024 as we recognise this legacy through our theme of Growing for Gold.

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