Heritage workers' service lauded

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 23/11/2012

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The end of an era for a group of heritage workers has been acknowledged in Nelson with a special "thank you" function.

The winding up of the Nelson branch of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, and its trans ition back to where it started as part of the Nelson Historical Society, was the perfect occasion to recognise the workers "great service to heritage", the trust's central region area co-ordinator, David Watt said.

He said the change, which has led the Nelson branch of the trust committee to merge with the Nelson Historical Society, resulted from Government legislation that had also triggered a name change for the heritage trust to Heritage New Zealand.

One of three members of the former committee to receive a merit award yesterday for years of dedication, Elizabeth MacCreadie, said the committee's five elected members had collectively given 100 years of service to the trust.

Ms MacCreadie - who chaired the former committee - joined in 1976 along with Steve Bagley who was also presented with a merit award yesterday.

Dawn Smith received a merit award for her "huge contribution to regional heritage", while Rose Biss, Barry James, Debbie Daniel-Smith, Min White, Alec Woods and Peter Rawson all received Certificate of Appreciation awards.

Ms MacCreadie said in 1956 the Nelson Historical Society was asked to form a branch of the historic places trust, which had been set up the previous year. After an early role introducing plaques to mark key historic sites in the region, in the 1970s the trust began to register buildings.

Features unique to the region, including hop kilns, early churches and the Albion Square buildings, were given recognition.

Ms MacCreadie said it was fitting that yesterday's function was at Fairfield House because it was once threatened with demolition.

"Like Broadgreen, Isel House the Nelson School of Music and the Theatre Royal, it is now well used and appreciated for its heritage values."

There are now 250 registered historic places through Nelson and Tasman. Registration of the Queen's Gardens as an officially recognised historic place was a first for New Zealand.

Tasman District Mayor Richard Kempthorne and Nelson city councillors attended yesterday's function, which Ms MacCreadie said was indicative of the closer relationship developed over the years between the two councils.

"Both councils now have in place strategies and policies which recognise the value of their heritage estate."

Mr Kempthorne said Tasman was a relatively "young" area compared to Nelson city but it still held valued heritage structures. One project he wanted to see recognised was the historic Gables building in Waimea West.

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City councillor Derek Shaw thanked the committee on behalf of the city for all the work it had done.

- The Nelson Mail

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