Dunedin Heritage Fund allocates $763,855 in one year

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga’s Dunedin staff partnership with Dunedin City Council’s Heritage Fund has led to excellent outcomes for heritage. 

Heritage projects across Dunedin city have received Dunedin City Council funding of $763, 855 in the 2020-21 financial year, spread across 44 different projects. The grants covered 11.6% of total projects, which meant they helped facilitate over $6.5 million in investment into heritage projects in the city. 

Andrew Barsby, Conservation Advisor for the Dunedin office of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, works with Dunedin City Council’s Heritage Advisor to assist applicants to the fund.  

“I meet the applicants face to face and help them with their funding applications. The applicants get a lot of free advice from both HNZPT and the DCC. In recent years we have really seen this model take off. The fund is well promoted, and we have seen more applications each year”. 

One of the many heritage buildings to benefit from the fund is St Dominic’s Priory, which has had multiple grants from the fund, including for a new slate roof, and stained-glass window repairs after a 2020 break-in significantly damaged the property. The building also received funding for a feasibility study. 

“This building has been vacant for decades, and the new slates and repairs have made the building watertight. By preventing it falling into disrepair, we buy time to investigate future options for this amazing building, which is protected by a HNZPT covenant,” says Andrew. 

HNZPT’s Area Manager, Nick Dixon, sees the Heritage Fund as a reflection of the high value placed on heritage in Dunedin. 

“This fund is the concrete evidence that our elected local politicians and council staff genuinely value heritage. They know that restoring heritage has the potential to create urban and economic regeneration. We can see this in the Warehouse district where heritage restorations have brought part of the central business district back to life.” 

The successful partnership between DCC and HZNPT provides other councils around New Zealand with a model for how to maximise the value of heritage to a city’s cultural life and economy.

- Rosemary Baird