Message from Councillor Anna Crighton
Heritage Week is to celebrate its 10th birthday this year. And looking back at its humble beginnings, it is certainly heartening to see how every year the events have grown in number and the public awareness has increased to such a level that "heritage" as we know it, is well and truly alive and loved in our city.
In 1992 John Dryden, the City Council's Environment Planning Manager, was aware that environment promotion programmes were traditionally aimed at the natural environment thus excluding the built environment. He was keen to promote the latter and promotion for the retention and re-use of heritage buildings seemed to be a good place to start, hence the first Heritage Week.
Over the years we have "matured" in our outlook on heritage. We started with saving facades only, then whole buildings, followed by the addition of significant interiors and features and finally heritage streetscapes where critical mass of heritage buildings gives us the total picture.
Through Heritage Week we have discovered new aspects of our city through the different themes. Highlights occurred in the following years. In 1996 "New Uses for Old Buildings" was a conscious effort to make developers and owners aware of the exciting uses they could put heritage buildings to without demolishing and building new.
The following year "History, Preservation and Progress" included another first - a full day seminar on the history and conservation of domestic interiors. The history of interior design is allied closely with architecture, the fine and decorative arts, even social and economic history.
In 1998 "The Gothic Revival" theme celebrated the centenary of Benjamin Mountfort's death, a fitting tribute to an architect who epitomised the gothic style in our early colonial architecture.
the theme "Taking the Past into the Future" was chosen to
allow reflection on issues pertinent in debate of the time but importantly
to reflect the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Canterbury
Association's first four ships. This anniversary encouraged us to
explore our Maori and European past history which then became the
theme for the following year. O Matou Taonga - Our Treasures gave
us the opportunity to look back and forward and to ensure the continuation
of heritage retention, in whatever form, for future generations.