Photo, Ian Anderson.
More than 60 people turned up to a meeting to establish a new heritage and culture group earlier this month, filling to capacity the back bar at the Bridgehouse.
Organiser Dave Parker says he was astounded at the response.
Two members of Heritage New Zealand (formerly the NZ Heritage Places Trust) spoke to attendees via Zoom, and Mr Parker says the new group will seek that organisation’s advice when it comes to registering places of historic value.
During the meeting, 15 people volunteered to serve on the committee for the new group, which will be known as the Mahurangi Heritage and Culture Group.
The 15 will be supported by a further 12 area representatives, who will advise on heritage issues related to their particular area.
In addition to the main committee, a number of sub-committees are planned. The first was formed on the night and was designed to protect the weir that crosses that Mahurangi River at Warkworth.
Auckland Council plans to remove the weir and Mr Parker said one of the first tasks of the new group is to work with Heritage New Zealand to ensure it achieves heritage status and is retained.
Mr Parker asked for a show of hands for who supported retention of the weir and says every hand in the room went up.
After the meeting, Mr Parker said Warkworth’s Wilson Cement Works – the first place to manufacture cement in the southern hemisphere – was an example of another historic site that needed protection and restoration.
Mr Parker said many who volunteered to serve on the group’s committee were direct descendants of pioneering families in the area.
“These were hardworking families who laid the foundation for where we live. People don’t want to see things destroyed, because it’s destroying part of their history and part of their family heritage,” he said.
Mr Parker will chair the new committee. Deputy chair is Noelene Quigley-Price, secretary is Sara Napier and treasurer is Maxine Hatful.