Two new heritage Blue Plaques unveiled in Whanganui

A large gathering of people including Heritage New Zealand Chief Executive Andrew Coleman, and Māori Heritage Council Chair Tā John Clarke, celebrated the unveiling of Whanganui’s first heritage ‘Blue Plaque’.

A crowd gathers around a blue plaque for a formal photo.
Large gathering at unveiling in Drews Ave. Courtesy of Steve Caudwell, Whanganui Photography Ltd.expand/collapse

The plaque titled ‘Drews Avenue Precinct’ briefly summarises five buildings in a row in Drews Avenue between Ridgway and Rutland Streets and all owned by Hadleigh Reid.

Hadleigh has renovated all five buildings, with the final two still underway but on track to be finished by Christmas. These heritage buildings tell a wonderful story of Whanganui’s commercial heritage highlighted by Rutland Chambers now housing Katie Brown’s art glass studio being the only remaining wooden commercial building built in 1877.

The second unveiling was at category 1 heritage listed Whanganui Collegiate School.

The plaques are a new local project adopted by the Whanganui Regional Heritage Trust, as part of a national initiative by Historic Places Aotearoa, which is a national heritage advocate for independent heritage groups. Chair of the Regional Heritage Trust, Cr Helen Craig, is leading the project, working closely with Trustee Ann McNamara to deliver the plaques.

Another eight plaques are underway with more planned. A new website providing more details, was created in Whanganui by Kiwiwebs and contains information about 24 plaques from around the country.

If you would like more information or to discuss a plaque for your building, please contact Helen Craig on 021 103 0737.

David Watt