News | 20 October 2021

Heritage Week is just a matter of time

Wellington Heritage Week is back for its fifth year, with over 60 events, tours, exhibitions and activities showcasing the wide-ranging history of the region.

Heritage Week Exhibition Memories of Newtown's Adventure Playground 1974 by photographer John McWilliam
Memories of Newtown's Adventure Playground 1974 by photographer John McWilliam

Wellington City Council is a proud sponsor of the event, and a number of Council’s facilities and services will be featured over the week from Monday 25 to Sunday 31 October – including a tour of Council’s Archives, tours at Bolton Street and Karori Cemeteries, an exhibition in the Courtenay Place Lightboxes, and a visit to the restored Futuna Chapel.

Mayor Andy Foster says Heritage Week is a celebration of our capital city stories recounting events, profiling the people who took part in them and their legacy that we still enjoy today.  

“The history of Pōneke Wellington is made up of many multicultural influences, political input, commercial successes, and significant direct investment in important heritage icons that have made Wellington into an engaged, active, vibrant and diverse capital.

“Council is proud to have contributed to the city’s heritage with policy, projects and grants including the Built Heritage Incentive Fund, assisting owners of heritage buildings to undertake conservation and seismic strengthening work.

“One of the many success stories from that fund is the Futuna Chapel restoration work on the Stations of the Cross which is open to visitors during Heritage Week – just one of the many must go to events that I will be attending myself. 

“I am also pleased to announce that Heritage Week marks the launch of the digitisation of Redmer Yska’s Wellington: Biography of a City,” adds the Mayor.

The book, first published in 2006, spans 170 years of the city’s history from early settlement, through political, commercial, cultural and infrastructure development, the 1918 flu epidemic, wars, depressions, the visiting Beatles, and many of the early Mayors and Councillors.

After permission was kindly given by the author, publisher and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, every page was hand scanned by Wellington City Libraries’ Local Historian Gábor Toth, and is going live on Recollect to coincide with the festival.

“Knowing, understanding and preserving our history and heritage is an important part of our identity – locally, nationally, and globally,” says Gábor. 

“This book is of high heritage value as a detailed, interesting and well-researched record of the complex and compelling history of Pōneke Wellington – and digitising it for the library’s database means it will now be available to everyone.”

Since its inception five years ago, Wellington Heritage Week has grown from 20 events to over 60, and is so popular most events get booked up early on – which Festival Director David Batchelor says shows the potential of the local heritage and culture sector.

“The independent festival has become a staple cultural event in the region’s calendar, and a platform to celebrate our local communities. With the Council’s support, we aim to grow the festival’s national tourism profile to support businesses in line with the successful Napier Art Deco Festival,” says David. 

You can find the full festival programme on the Wellington Heritage Week website.