Inaugural Taranaki Heritage Month planned for October

Taranaki’s long and varied history will come under close public scrutiny in a bid to have residents think more about their past, and its relevance now and into the future.
Aotea Waka, Patea
Aotea Memorial Waka in Patea, South Taranaki expand/collapse

Heritage Taranaki, coordinating the first Heritage Month for Taranaki, in collaboration with iwi and hapū, historical societies, genealogical societies and other community groups, aims to share a month of fieldtrips, walks, presentations and examination of the province’s stories.  

Organising chair, Rob Green, says the committee is excited to bring together the first Heritage Month for the province and hopes to achieve a worthwhile review of a complex and interesting Taranaki history. “Highlights of the month will include a Pōwhiri at the Waitara War Memorial Hall, followed by a tour of sites of interest relating to the First Taranaki Land War. This tour will be led by local kaumatua and historian, Hoani Eriwata,” says Rob. 

Special guests have been invited to take part in a debate on heritage issues on Thursday 7 October from 6-8pm at the Plymouth Hotel New Plymouth, which will be facilitated by well-known Parihaka and Taranaki leader, Ruakere Hond. The panel will include Race Relations Commissioner, Meng Foon; Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Chief Executive, Andrew Coleman; Brett Graham, Ngati Koroki Kahukura, Tainui, recent artist in residence, Govett Brewster Art Gallery; Jay Ruka, Manuhautū of Taranaki Cathedral; Jacq Dwyer, chairperson, Patea Historical Society; Debbie Ngarewa-Packer, MP Te Paati Māori, Ngati Ruanui. 

The group will be asked to discuss the following: What is heritage? Why is it heritage and who decides what is heritage and what is not? And what are the implications of these decisions? 

There are several fieldtrips planned, details to be announced shortly on the Heritage Month website. Other activities will include engagement with all Taranaki Museums, Puke Ariki, Aotea Utanganui and Nigel Ogle’s renowned Tawhiti Museum, Hawera, along with historical societies and other organisations across the province. 

- David Watt