Heritage Day first among whole bunch of projects

New Tuapeka-Lawrence Community Company community, events and tourism co-ordinator Rachel Taylor...
New Tuapeka-Lawrence Community Company community, events and tourism co-ordinator Rachel Taylor stands at the mouth of Otago Gold Rush tourist draw Gabriel’s Gully. PHOTO: RICHARD DAVISON
A new community co-ordinator for Lawrence has hit the ground running.

Tuapeka-Lawrence Community Company (TLCC) community, events and tourism co-ordinator Rachel Taylor adopted her new part-time role earlier this spring, and soon found herself helping run one of the town’s larger calendar events.

"I’ve really jumped into a whole bunch of projects that are already on the go up here, starting with the Heritage Day last month," the former Benhar resident said.

"There are so many projects led by enthusiastic, generous people locally that part of what I’m doing is simply observing, and helping out where I can at this stage."

After living in the former Benhar McSkimmings pottery works — before a spell away from Clutha as a museum and research co-ordinator for the Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery in Alexandra — Ms Taylor has a first-hand appreciation of the South’s heritage assets.

Despite that, she said she was still learning more about her new home of Lawrence and its Otago Gold Rush Days of the 1860s on.

"We’d only really passed through Lawrence in the past, despite living locally.

"In a way, being able to learn about and appreciate things with fresh eyes is perfect for my new role, and allows me to share some of that excitement and enthusiasm with potential visitors and community promoters."

Ms Taylor said she had been struck by the willingness of Lawrence people to step up and contribute.

"There are pretty unique demographics here. People seem to have a unifying love of history, combined with a quirky, creative bent.

"I’m from a fine arts, heritage and community facilitator background, so it’s a position that overlaps neatly with my skills and passions."

One focus would be to celebrate the more artistic and creative side of the district’s heritage.

"There are a lot of artists who already live here, and many more who are being attracted to the arts scene in Lawrence."

Although Covid-19 had "hit Lawrence hard", Ms Taylor said she believed the town was ripe to reclaim a prominent place on the tourist map.

"It’s a cliche, but this really is a ‘best kept secret’ of New Zealand, and I’m looking forward to helping visitors uncover the dozens of vibrant, exciting attractions I’m just discovering myself."


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