Organisers of a national industrial heritage symposium
being held in Dunedin hope it will mark a ''major turning
point'' in the wider recognition of Dunedin Gasworks Museum and
the city's industrial heritage.
Ann Barsby, a founding member of the Southern Heritage Trust,
said Dunedin had already built a successful tourist industry.
The city's wildlife attractions had been marketed effectively
but there was scope to much further develop the city's
heritage-related tourism and to promote its industrial
''The city's [built and industrial] heritage is just as
important as the city's wildlife [in tourism terms], but it's
been undervalued and under-recognised,'' she said.
The popularity of visitor attractions run by Cadbury and
Speight's Brewery already showed the growing public interest
in the city's rich industrial heritage, she said.
Key speakers at the Heritage Impact 150 heritage symposium,
being held on October 3 to 5, include leading British
heritage advocate Sir Neil Cossons, potter and
conservationist Barry Brickell, Auckland conservation
architect Jeremy Salmond and Australian heritage specialists.
Organised by the heritage trust, this event is being held in
association with the Gasworks150 Festival, which celebrates
the 150th anniversary of the first production of town gas in
Dunedin was the first place in the country where town gas was
produced, and was New Zealand's last city to close its gas
production plant, in 1987.
Sir Neil says the gasworks museum is one of the world's
finest examples of a working historic gasworks.
Mrs Barsby, who is one of the symposium organisers, said
moves to preserve, redevelop and advance the museum had taken
many years of hard work, including periods of frustration.
But a big turning point came in 2011 when the museum's
fitting shop was strengthened and redeveloped for use as an
attractive meeting area for the museum, after crucial backing
from the Dunedin City Council.
She hoped the national heritage conference would also prove
another major turning point and would boost the museum's
One of the symposium's major themes was ''heritage-led
regeneration'' and she noted that the museum itself was
already making its own ''exciting'' contribution to the
regeneration of South Dunedin, with growing numbers of people
visiting the museum and part of the annual South Dunedin
Festival being held there.
During the two days before the symposium, its organisers are
also running a paid-entry coach tour of some of Otago and
Southland's ''industrial heritage gems''.
The trip involves an overnight stopover in Alexandra and a
return to Dunedin via the Taieri Gorge Railway.
For more information about the symposium and festival, visit