Merger means 'stronger' voice for heritage

Ann Barsby
Ann Barsby
A recent merger between the Southern Heritage Trust and the Historic Places Trust's Otago branch committee will mean a stronger community voice for heritage in the South.

That is the view of Dunedin heritage advocate Ann Barsby, who was one of the founding members of the Southern Heritage Trust when it was established in 2002.

''It will be a stronger organisation, better able to undertake advocacy and protect heritage,'' Mrs Barsby said.

Dunedin still had many distinctive heritage assets, but there was no room for complacency.

The city's heritage challenges included not only preserving individual historic buildings but also striving to maintain the character of whole city precincts, including key corner sites.

During a recent visit to Dunedin, Sir Neil Cossons, a leading English-based international authority of heritage buildings, had praised the city's fine heritage character.

But Sir Neil, who is patron of the Dunedin Gasworks Museum, had also warned the city had recently lost some important heritage buildings, giving a ''missing tooth'' appearance in places, she noted.

The new merged body would continue to be known as the Southern Heritage Trust and two new members of its board were former members of the historic trust's committee.

Dunedin and Otago faced huge heritage challenges. Resources for preservation and enhancement were limited and joining forces made sense, she said.

The heritage trust remained a strong supporter of the Historic Places Trust, and would continue to work in partnership with it, she said.

The heritage trust now had about 100 members, and was keen to establish contact with historic trust members in Otago, where the Historic Places Trust had first been established.

Legislative changes involving the New Zealand Historic Places Trust have meant many trust branch committees have been disestablished. Trust supporters remain members of the national body.

More information about the heritage trust is available via www.southernheritage.org.nz.

-john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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