A message from Helen Clark, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage
During the past decade Christchurch's Heritage Week has become a highly successful and popular local event. As Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage I endorse its aims of promoting and raising awareness of heritage at the local level.
Protection of New Zealand's heritage is not just a matter for central government regulation. Our heritage should also be loved, cared for and shared by local communities. It is fitting that the 10th Anniversary of Carter Group Heritage Week falls in the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage, which seeks to encourage recognition worldwide of the importance of heritage in people's lives.
People are inspired and moved by interaction with the places, treasures, landscapes and stories of their past. Our heritage gives us a sense of who we are, a basis from which to identify our future aspirations, and strengthens our identity. Heritage activities also play an important part in the economy, particularly in the context of the tourism industry.
There is an increasing recognition of the valuable role local authorities can play in supporting our heritage and ensuring its accessibility. The government is committed to enhancing this role through amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991, and through the Local Government Bill which introduces the promotion of 'cultural well-being' as one of the purposes of local authorities. These changes will see the promotion of heritage activities become an integral part of the work of local authorities.
I applaud the Christchurch City Council for its vision and commitment. I congratulate the Carter Group and the Community Trust for providing supporting funding. I am sure that the Carter Group Heritage Week will once again inspire much interest, and help to reinforce the vital place of heritage at the heart of New Zealand.