'Living stuff' celebration of heritage

Southland Heritage Month

MICHAEL FALLOW
Last updated 13:35 19/02/2013
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
Southland Heritage Month oganisers Rachael Egerton, left, and Cathy Macfie with a display at the Invercargill Public Library.

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The insider story on muttonbirding, film footage of 1950s-70s rural Southland life, a potentially knee-deep walk retracing the footsteps of pioneers - and a celebration of bootmaking, why not? - feature among the activities for the first Southland Heritage Month.

Next month's events expand the focus of the popular Rural Heritage Day events of past years.

A forum last April led heritage groups to become better co-ordinated beyond a single annual event. A key strength of such co-operation was that it gave "critical mass" to smaller organisations, working away really hard, but finding promotion difficult, said organiser Rachael Egerton.

The month's activities would help shift stereotypical views about heritage, she said. "It reinforces that it's about things people are doing today, that they got from their grandparents and want to carry on and pass on to the next generation."

The only way to achieve this was to get the next generation involved.

"And I think this is the way to do it.

"The living stuff is much more appealing to young people."

Young people would need to get cracking for one of the first events, a poster or 3D model reflecting "My Heritage, My Culture", with entries due at the Invercargill City Library by February 26.

A multicultural food festival on March 16 at the James Hargest Senior College gym would highlight that the south's cultural heritage was a dynamic, changing thing "and that there are new people adding flavour and colour to that", Miss Egerton said.

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