Heritage efforts rewarded

Harbour St, in Oamaru, has some of the 17 heritage buildings owned and protected by the Oamaru...
Harbour St, in Oamaru, has some of the 17 heritage buildings owned and protected by the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust. Photo by David Bruce.
After two decades of protecting Oamaru's Victorian heritage and architecture, the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust was last night rewarded with the supreme award at the TrustPower Waitaki District Community Awards.

TrustPower community relations representative Jessica Somerville said the trust's ''Victorian-clad'' volunteers had acted as ambassadors for the town's Victorian precinct for almost 20 years and had not only established a ''unique heritage experience'' for residents and visitors alike, but had also developed the area into a working commercial area that now has more than 40 businesses.

''It's clear that this special part of the district has been revived, thanks to their efforts. It's a mammoth achievement and we wish to congratulate you for being so determined to make it a success and making it so accessible, exciting and interesting to its many visitors.''

A total of 116 community groups had been nominated for awards this year, Ms Somerville said.

Speaking at last night's award ceremony at the Oamaru Opera House, Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton said the trust, which owned 17 heritage buildings in North Otago, had created a historical precinct ''of national importance'' in Oamaru.

''Our community volunteers have invested thousands of hours to preserve and energise Oamaru's Victorian Precinct. It is an important hub for the heritage focus of our district and is an outstanding and unique example of our heritage and history.''

The trust received a framed certificate, a trophy and $1500 prize money and will now represent the Waitaki district at the 2013 TrustPower National Community Awards, which will be held in Invercargill and Southland region in March 2014.

andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz

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