By Antony Phillips
Last month, a very special event was held to celebrate the listing of the Corban’s Estate Art Centre in Henderson, West Auckland. Known in the short form as the Corban’s Estate, the arts precinct is officially listed as the Corban’s Winery and Mt Lebanon Vineyards (Former) as a Category 1 historic place, reflecting the history and original function of the estate.
Located in what was once the rural outskirts of Auckland, Corban’s Winery and Mt Lebanon Vineyards (Former) was for much of its life New Zealand’s leading wine producer. Founded in 1902 by notable winemaking pioneers from Lebanon, Assid Abraham (A.A.) Corban and his family, it has outstanding significance for demonstrating the key contribution of migrants from outside northern Europe in the development of this country’s wine industry from small-scale production to its prominent position in Aotearoa New Zealand’s national economy today.
A partnership between the Corban’s Estate Art Centre (CEAC) and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, the event rounded off the listing journey and acknowledged the many contributors. CEAC resident artist Pita Turei, gave a special mihi and karakia at the commencement of the event, acknowledging tangata whenua, the Corban whānau, staff and community.
For the formal proceedings, there were several speakers. Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Northern Director, Sherry Reynolds, representing the Executive paid tribute to staff, particularly Martin Jones, Senior Heritage Assessment Advisor who led the listing. Martin presented a historical narrative of the place with excerpts from his research. Auckland-based conservation architect, Graeme Burgess who has enjoyed a long association with the precinct, spoke about the conversation work that had taken place over the many years on the site. Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Board Chair, the Honorable Marian Hobbs noted the prominence of Corban’s wine and the local heritage landmarks.
“For many of us, including myself, the Corban’s name is synonymous with the production of wine and is a household name. Today, West Auckland is a rich cultural landscape, spanning from early Māori histories through to places associated with early brick and ceramics production, these heritage places reflect not only the history of this area but also our nation.”
Marian invited Naomi McClary, CEAC Trust Board Chair to the stage and presented Naomi with a framed certificate certifying the listing.
Listing recognition events such as this are important because they acknowledge the mammoth research that goes into listing assessments conducted by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and the many who contribute to the listing event, including supportive owners, custodians, and community members.