Heritage Month brings history to life

Just where does heritage fit in our modern world? The look and feel of Invercargill – and other urban Southland centres – is a hot topic at the moment with the future of many  heritage buildings hanging in the balance.

Southland Heritage Month in March is the perfect opportunity for people to take a closer look at some of Invercargill’s finest heritage buildings and continue the debate around what part the past plays in our future.

An action-packed month of events and workshops bursts into life on March 3 with Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga CEO Andrew Coleman talking about a vision for built heritage in Southland at the opening night event at the Southland Museum and Art Gallery. He will focus on the importance of recognising the value and potential of Invercargill and Southland’s heritage buildings and streetscapes.

Mr Coleman said there were many positive opportunities for heritage preservation, with examples of innovative projects in Dunedin a glimpse of what was possible. “It is over to all of us to make the case for the preservation, conservation and protection of our vulnerable heritage and I know that this can be done,” he said.

Passionate debate around buildings, such as the former nurses home on Dee St in Invercargill, showed that heritage mattered to people, Mr Coleman said.

Heritage South Chair Rachael Egerton said the opening talk would set the tone for a fascinating series of events and workshops covering built heritage, caring for heritage and the popular History of Your House and Keeping Alive our Family Heritage’workshops.

The Built Heritage Workshop is aimed at providing a forum for building owners and other people concerned about the future of heritage buildings to discuss the visions they have, their concerns and experiences, and to ensure a positive outlook for Southland’s heritage.

The popular Heritage Dance returns on March 17 at the Grand Hotel with the theme for 2018 being World War II. The theme for the equally popular Pop-Up Museum is Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand.

A Heritage Buildings Open Day in Invercargill is likely to be a huge attraction, she said.

A focus on storytelling as a vital tool for bringing heritage to life complemented the Enriching Southern Heritage theme.

Events in Invercargill and around Southland – including the 150th Southland A&P Show, Riverton Heritage and Harvest Festival and Central Southland Vintage Machinery Club Harvest Day – meant the month had a truly region-wide feel to it, she Egerton said.

For more information on Southland Heritage Month events and workshops contact Lindsay Polmear by email (southlandheritagemonth@gmail.com) or on 027 6185464. See also the Shows and Events section on this website.