Joint ICOMOS NZ and HPA Conference held in Auckland

This year’s ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) New Zealand and HPA (Historic Places Aotearoa) jointly organised conference was held recently in Auckland.

An audience intently watches a speaker out of frame.
ICOMOS/HPA Conference 2022 courtesy of ICOMOS NZ.expand/collapse

Entitled ‘Harsh Reality: Current Challenges for Historic Heritage in NZ’, the sombre subject matter could not dampen the attendee’s excitement to be together in person at last, after years of COVID-19 hiatus. The conference tackled the big and sometimes uncomfortable subjects confronting the heritage sector today.

Over two days, a variety of speakers from across Aotearoa New Zealand spoke about the many challenges faced by the preservation of buildings, character neighbourhoods and sites of historic importance in the country’s heritage. Topics included significant changes in planning legislation, the consequence of interventions in achieving seismic resilience, overcoming neglect through maintenance good practices, use and re-use of built heritage. 

Along with presentations from Aotearoa New Zealand’s heritage stalwarts such as Auckland’s Allan Matson and Wellington’s Felicity Wong, there were useful insights into the collective strength of heritage groups presented by the Character Coalition and a thought-provoking talk by Carolyn Hill on her PhD topic focussed on defining heritage and what it means to people today. On the Saturday, Tracey Hartley of Salmon Reed Architects gave a tour of the recently completed conservation and seismic upgrading work at the Winter Garden in the Auckland Domain. On Sunday, Dr Julia Gatley and Jeremy Rotherham welcomed the conference attendees to their home, a Group Architects modernist masterpiece on the North Shore.

Boris Bogdanovic