New look for Heritage This Month

Welcome to a new look Heritage This Month. With the New Zealand Historic Places Trust's name change to Heritage New Zealand, we thought it was time to refresh the look of Heritage This Month. After hearing from you in our readers' survey, we've gone with a format that allows more flexible use of some of the great images we have, as well as a single column approach that will make reading easier.

We will be continuing to make improvements over the coming months, and as always value your feedback.

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150 years since the Battle of Gate Pa

Image courtesy of the Gate Pa 2014 Commemorations facebook page.

Commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gate Pa / Pukehinahina took place in Tauranga on Tuesday. The battle was notable as one of the heaviest British defeats of the New Zealand Wars. Thirty-one colonial troops died at Gate Pa, while the number of Maori warriors killed is estimated at 20.

A special ceremony on the site where the battle took place was attended by the Maori King, Te Arikinui Tuheitia Kiingi Paki, His Excellency the Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, Chief of Defence Force among other representatives from Government, Iwi and the community.

Tom Roa, Ngati Apakura elder and Chair of Nga Pae o Maumahara, the group established to commemorate and raise awareness of the wars that took place 150 years ago in Waikato and Tauranga, notes the significance of the timing.

"On Anzac Day, we remembered those soldiers who gave their lives in the two world wars and later this year we commemorate 100 years since World War One. But as we look towards the 150 year commemoration of Gate Pa, we remember them all, those who fell on home soil and those who fell on foreign soil. Moe mai koutou i te moenga roa," says Roa.

The day’s events began at 6am with a dawn blessing at the Gate Pa Reserve, with a full military service held at 9am at the Mission/Otamataha Cemetery and at noon a powhiri for the Maori King, visiting iwi and dignitaries. Several pou were also unveiled.

The commemorations began last year by remembering the crossing of the Mangatawhiri Stream 150 years ago by colonial soldiers, which marked the start of the Waikato War, and the battle of Rangiriri. They continued this year with ceremonies for the battles of Waiari and Rangiaowhia, followed by Orakau at the beginning of this month.

In June the last major battle in the sequence, Te Ranga (also in the Tauranga region), will be commemorated.

"As New Zealanders, it's important to remember that this journey has brought us all together as we looked back at this significant turning point in the history of our country. It's given us all the opportunity to reopen the portals and bring our fallen back in spirit and farewell them again 150 years later with the dignity they deserve, soldiers and warriors, Maori and Pakeha," says Roa.

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100th anniversary of Oruawharo training camp recognised on ANZAC Day

A special ANZAC commemoration at Oruawharo, set within the Takapau Plains of Central Hawke’s Bay, remembered the training camp at the site that 100 years earlier attempted to prepare more than 6000 New Zealand soldiers for war,

Oruawharo Station and homestead dates to the 1850s when John Johnston bought the Oruawharo run. The Oruawharo homestead was built in 1879. In the summer of 1914 Oruawharo was host to the largest territory training camp in New Zealand in the first World War, with many of its trainees shipped to the battlefields of Europe not long after their stay.

At the commemorations on ANZAC Day organised by the Takapau RSA, keynote speaker retired Brigadier Roger Mortlock (pictured) acknowledged that New Zealand was not well prepared for war, and the Oruawharo training camp was less than ideal preparation for the horrific realities of war that awaited the New Zealand Army.

“It was a grand experiment by a deeply inexperienced army. The level of military knowledge, in New Zealand, was so low that they ‘borrowed’ instructors from the British Army at a ratio of one British instructor to about every 100 New Zealanders,” he told the crowd.

“Of course, these borrowed instructors were unlikely to have realised that the machine gun had come of age and was to be King of the Battlefield causing, before the war was over, millions of casualties.”

Owner of Oruawharo Peter Harris says there was a large turnout at the service, and was honoured for it to be held on his Category I registered property.

“The service at our property shows there is increased interest in the history of Takapau and the importance of ANZAC by the people of Central Hawke’s Bay.”

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Taonga returns home

A taonga gifted to a Ngapuhi rangatira in recognition of his mana and power is coming home.

An engraved silver medal, given by Governor King of New South Wales to rangatira Te Pahi of the Bay of Islands in 1806, went under auction in Australia recently and was purchased by Te Papa and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

“The medal is an extremely important artefact associated with a very early high-level interaction between Maori and Pakeha,” says Heritage New Zealand’s Northland Area Manager, Bill Edwards.

Te Pahi – an entrepreneurial rangatira, who sought out the Governor with a view to pursuing commercial and other opportunities with the British – was the first significant Maori leader to visit New South Wales.

The Governor – mindful of the fact that Te Pahi lived at a safe anchorage often used by English, French and American whaling ships – was keen to convince Te Pahi that an association with Europeans would bring many benefits.

“Governor King gave the medal to Te Pahi in 1806, when he and his four sons stayed with King at Government House during a three-month stay,” says Bill.

King also presented Te Pahi with other gifts including iron tools, livestock, seeds and even a small prefabricated house to erect in a safe place for the use of European visitors to the Bay of Islands.

While he was in New South Wales, Te Pahi also met Rev Samuel Marsden who was so impressed by his “strong and comprehensive mind” that he began to plan the establishment of a Church Missionary Society mission under Te Pahi’s protection at Hohi.

“December this year marks the 200th anniversary of the foundation of the mission at Hohi, so the return of the medal to New Zealand is perfect timing,” says Bill.

Sadly, Te Pahi never saw the establishment of the mission. Te Pahi died from wounds suffered in fighting between his people and those of Whangaroa as a result of the Boyd affair, in which the ship was attacked as utu for the mistreatment of Te Ara, a local rangatira who had been a member of the Boyd’s crew – and for which Te Pahi had been mistakenly blamed.

“Te Pahi so impressed the British with his keenness for trade and his shrewdness in all respects that, despite the Boyd episode, colonial confidence in advantageous relations with Maori was maintained,” says Bill.

“The Te Pahi medal is a very important taonga directly linked to the international diplomatic relationship between King and Te Pahi, which eventually saw the establishment of New Zealand’s first permanent Pakeha settlement.”

Photo: Te Pahi’s medal.

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“Reel Life” wins at Museum Awards

The New Zealand Film Archive's Jane Paul and Heritage New Zealand's Zoe Roland with their awards (credit: John Cowpland / alpapix)

Reel Life in Rural New Zealand – a creative partnership between Heritage New Zealand and the New Zealand Film Archive has won the Most Innovative Public Programme category in Museums Aotearoa’s 2014 NZ Museum Awards.

The awards were made at a ceremony in Hawke's Bay on Thursday 3 April.

The film programme toured rural communities in March 2013, with five historic woolsheds from the Hawkes Bay, Tararua and Wairarapa serving as the unique venues. Seldom seen amateur footage and government newsreels from the Film Archive featured farming history, shearing gangs, kiwi inventions dating back to 1913, and some of the unique rituals of country life. Over 1200 people including 300 school students came to the screenings.

Heritage New Zealand Canterbury/West Coast Area Coordinator Zoe Roland, who was the driving force behind the project, says the concept was an effective way to raise awareness of both film and heritage.

"The woolsheds tour gave locals and many people from further afield a rare chance to appreciate these historically significant woolsheds and the role they have played in local communities.”

Further partnerships with the Film Archive are already underway, with a recent successful event showcasing film footage of homes and gardens in the Wairarapa at the historic Longwood Homestead.

Heritage New Zealand Central Region Area Coordinator David Watt says the partnership with the Film Archive has been a perfect fit for Heritage New Zealand.

“It’s given us the opportunity to connect local communities with their heritage through a really accessible medium. We hope that understanding these special places will create a greater impetus to care for them.”

Reel Life was one of two NZHPT projects up for honours at the awards, which showcase the best exhibitions, public programmes and innovative projects from museums and art galleries throughout New Zealand. High Street Stories was a finalist in the Best Museums Project category.

Ellen Pullar from the New Zealand Film Archive says the partnership has been very special.

“Films allow the past to come to life again, and experiencing this with the local communities, in buildings that have been there for generations, is really special."

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Do you recognise this man?

The photo of this New Zealand World War One Medical Corps soldier is just one of several in the Kemp House collection, though staff have no information about him – or many of his brothers-in-arms whose photos are also in the collection.

“We would love to hear from anybody who might be able to identify this particular soldier or any of his mates – and who might even be able to provide information about them and their possible connection to Kemp House,” says the Kerikeri Mission Station’s Visitor Services Coordinator, Katrina Matete.

The photos of the soldiers came to light as part of preparation for a new exhibition in the Stone Store Attic – Gifts for King and Country: Ernest Kemp WWI Exhibition.

Ernest – the great grandson of missionaries James and Charlotte Kemp, who helped establish the Mission Station in 1819 – served in the Mounted Rifles Brigade in Egypt, Jordan and Palestine during the First World War. In 1974, at the age of 86, he generously gifted Kemp House to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. 

“Ernest was one of thousands of young New Zealand men and women who left their families and homes to serve overseas,” says Katrina.

“As New Zealand prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One we felt it was appropriate to highlight his war experiences as part of that commemoration – particularly in light of his later service of gifting his family’s home to the nation.”

The exhibition will feature framed photographs from the Kemp House collection including images of Ernest’s cadet training at Wanganui Collegiate through to his war service, which follows his journey through the Middle East while also looking at the 31st Reinforcements Mounted Rifles Brigade.

Gifts for King and Country: Ernest Kemp WWI Exhibition runs until 12 May.

If you have any information on the soldier in this photograph please contact Katrina Matete at

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Alberton's final 150th fling

Scottish dancer Bonnie Von Trott of Mt Albert was snapped by photographer Blair Hastings in mid-dance with Alberton in the background – nicely capturing the celebratory mood of Alberton’s Garden Gala on Sunday 30 March.

Over a thousand people turned out in force to enjoy the Garden Gala – the final in a series of events celebrating Alberton’s 150th anniversary. The Gala featured a range of boutique food producers and craftspeople, as well as several dance groups.

For all you mums in Northland…

Northland mums have the opportunity to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday 11 May in style with a special High Tea at the Kerikeri Mission Station’s Honey House Café. The café – nestled on the banks of the Kerikeri River behind Kemp House – provides the perfect river backdrop.

“We’ll be serving a delicious assortment of finger sandwiches, delightful mini treats and traditional home-baked scones on an elegant cake stand – and tea or coffee served in our special bone china," says Kerikeri Mission Station’s Visitor Services Coordinator, Katrina Matete.

To book tickets phone (09) 4079236 or email

…and for all you mums in Auckland

A special Mother’s Day concert at Highwic – Harps and Flowers for Mother’s Day – will feature a range of Auckland's best young musicians.

“Concert-goers can enjoy a glass of wine or fruit juice before the concert, and take the opportunity to explore Highwic,” says Highwic Manager Cheryl Laurie.

Performers include harpists Louise Andrew and Olivia Kyle (pictured) of the Aotea Youth Symphony, as well as Amanda Kirk and Chloe Irwin-Whitney who are known throughout Auckland for their special duet singing together.

To book tickets phone (09) 4792361 or email

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Lest We Forget - the songs they sang

The historic Wainuiomata Pioneer Church (Category 2), built in 1866, was the venue for a wonderful Anzac Day afternoon of entertainment of World War One and Two songs that the Kiwi Concert Party were famous for.

A quartet of Wellington and Hutt Valley musical show singers including Heritage New Zealand’s Central Region Area Coordinator, David Watt, resplendent in Air Force uniform, brought forth their talents with such memorable numbers as “Bless Em All”, “Keep the Home Fires Burning”, “ We’ll Meet Again”, “Blue Smoke”, “This is the Army”, “ Maori Battalion”, “Land of Hope and Glory”, “ A Long Way to Tipperary” and many more, with full audience participation.

Caring for chapters from our past

A new short clip on YouTube shows how a selection of rare books from the Te Waimate Mission collection is being restored by Auckland-based book conservators, Spiral Path Book Studio. The work has been funded by a grant from the Stout Trust.

The video was created by Nicole van Heerden of Huia Films, and features Paul Taylor from Spiral Path demonstrating some of the conservation techniques he used on the Te Waimate collection.

“The collection is an important library of books owned by early New Zealand missionaries and their families,” says Heritage New Zealand's Heritage Advisor Collections, Rebecca Apperley. 

Numbering almost 700 volumes in total, the book collection represents the largest-known single collection of Church Missionary Society (CMS) and missionary-owned books in New Zealand, with 400 predating 1850. Many were donated by missionary descendants when Te Waimate Mission was acquired by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1959.

“These books are particularly important in light of the upcoming bicentennial of the establishment of the first Church Missionary Society mission at Hohi. Many of the original owners of these books – identified through bindings, monograms, inscriptions and signatures – were associated with the Hohi mission, and other missions established by the CMS,” she says.

Among the taonga are A Treatise on Land Surveying (1819) signed by missionaries Richard Davis and ‘Mr Puckey’, which bears witness to the need for missionary land acquisition.

“Because of the age, rarity and significance of these books, this conservation project is very important,” says Rebecca.

View the video here.

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Wave the Red Duster

Each year in September New Zealand acknowledges the Merchant Navy when ‘The Red Duster’ the Naval Flag, is paraded at the National War Memorial in Wellington. The Red Ensign has been the symbol of British and Commonwealth merchant ships for 150 years.

At the launch of Nelson Heritage Week on 13 April, Nelson Mayor, Rachel Reese, unveiled an interpretation board and paid tribute to the merchant navy for its support to the City of Nelson down the years. Heritage New Zealand Central Region General Manager Ann Neill and Area Coordinator, David Watt, joined the crowd for the unveiling.

Despite inclement Sunday weather for the Heritage Week launch, hundreds of Nelsonians  joined together at the Boathouse to learn about the maritime history of Nelson, the history of the Boulder Bank with photo displays from NZHPT, the presence of a magnificent ocean going waka in port and how its crew navigate it. Unfortunately, due to wind and tidal conditions it was not possible to proceed with planned boat trips to the Boulder Bank.

The Department of Conservation who organised the Heritage Week boat trips jointly with Heritage New Zealand is now planning the event around Conservation Week later in the year.

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Otago Harbour Walls to be showcased

Representative sections of the Otago Harbour Walls will be protected and showcased with timber boardwalks and interpretation if the Dunedin City Council is granted consent for a major road widening project on the Otago Peninsula.

The harbour walls are a Category 1 Historic Place. Described in the registration report as a ‘massive example of this type of vernacular stonework in New Zealand,’ the walls were constructed from the 1870s onwards using a mix of private contractors for the Provincial Council, the Portobello Road Board, local farmers and prison labour. 

As well as being registered by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, the harbour walls are protected in the Dunedin City Council’s District Plan - meaning resource consent is needed to alter the walls. The Council has therefore been going through the resource consent process as part of its plans to widen Portobello Road, the main road on the Peninsula. This will require reclamation into the harbour and burial of the existing historic harbour walls.

“Being very aware of the importance of the road widening project for the safety of road users, pedestrians and cyclists, Heritage New Zealand has been working with the Dunedin City Council to find ways to mitigate the impacts of the project on heritage values,” says Heritage New Zealand Otago/Southland Area Manager Jonathan Howard.

Based on this work the Council now proposes to retain four high significance sections of wall representing different periods of wall construction and avoid the need for reclamation by constructing boardwalks to take pedestrians and cyclists.

"This approach will enable walkers and cyclists to better appreciate the exposed historic seawalls. Contemporary hand placed stone walls along those sections where reclamation is to be undertaken will honour the traditional construction methods and high quality of the historic walls," says Jonathan. 

Due to the thorough consultation process adopted by the Council and its willingness to explore alternatives to total burial of the walls, Heritage New Zealand was in a position to support the application for resource consent and recently backed the project at the Council hearing.  A decision on the resource consent is expected soon.

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West Coast Heritage Restoration and Earthquake Roadshow

Heritage New Zealand in partnership with Heritage West Coast, Westland, Grey and Buller District Councils will be visiting the West Coast in May to hold a series of public presentations and drop-in sessions assisting people with issues around the earthquake strengthening of our valued heritage buildings. The presentations will cover:
• Current legislation around earthquake engineering
• Repairs and methodology
• Economic costs
• Successful  examples of strengthening
• Avenues for funding

Where building owners have them available, please bring to the drop-in sessions any documentation you have on the building such as construction drawings, specifications, details of alterations or previous strengthening.

More information and a full list of venues and times can be found here.

Photo: Municipal Chambers (former), Westport.

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Strengthening your earthquake prone heritage building

The Wellington City Council is hosting a meeting for building owners to discuss issues and concerns about their building and how Council may be able to help with advice and funding on Thursday 8 May at 7pm at Newtown Hall, on the corner of Daniell and Constable Streets, Newtown.

Information covered at the meeting will include:
• How to get funding towards a strengthening project for your building
• Practical solutions to strenthening and adding appeal to your building
• Insurance facts about earthquake-prone buildings.

If this time doesn't work for you and you'd like to talk to Council, either email or phone Vivien Rickard on (04) 803 8695 or 021 2278695.

Find our more about the Council's Built Heritage Incentive Fund here.

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Orakau 150th commemorations

Some images from the Orakau 150th commemorations. Photos by Amy Hobbs. For the full gallery of images visit - and like - the Heritage New Zealand Facebook page.