The Rangitikei-Ruapehu Pilot Project was a resounding success for the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT). Overseen by the Central Region team, the project improved the quality of NZHPT’s National Register. The two-year project has since influenced NZHPT initiatives and follow-on projects, and helped establish strong relationships with the Rangitikei and Ruapehu communities.
What is the Register?
The National Register of historic places, historic areas, wahi tapu (places of significance to Maori) and wahi tapu areas identifies New Zealand’s significant historic and cultural places. Registration informs owners, the public, community organisations, government agencies and local authorities about significant heritage and assists with their protection and conservation.
Improving the Register: a thematic approach
The Pilot Project set out to find a way to make the Register comprehensive, representative and valid on a regional level, and provide a more systematic approach to registration. Traditionally, the Register had focused on ‘big, bold and beautiful’ historic places that didn’t always reflect the full history of a region. To address this a national-level ‘thematic framework’ was devised to help select a wide range of heritage sites*.
* For a critical analysis of thematic frameworks in heritage assessments, see Peter Clayworth, ‘Historic heritage thematic frameworks: Their use as tools for management and interpretation’. Science for Conservation 285, Department of Conservation, http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/science-and-technical/sfc285entire.pdf
What is Heritage? Thematic framework tested
It was soon discovered that many of the themes developed at a national level did not apply in different regions. Mining, for instance, is an important theme in Otago but has little relevance in Rangitikei and Ruapehu. The national thematic framework instead became a reference point to consider other forms of heritage – including places that could be passed over or forgotten.
A notable theme in the Ruapehu region is recreation, in particular alpine skiing. The earliest purpose-built ski hut in New Zealand, Glacier Hut (1922), is found on Whakapapa ski field in Tongariro National Park. The hut is named after the Whakapapa Glacier which in the 1920s was much lower than today, and is an important relic of the early years of New Zealand skiing.
'Filling the gaps': community involvement integral
By talking to the community and raising awareness of what could be considered heritage, under-represented sites were identified and inventories compiled. The success of this community consultation approach was demonstrated by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Ngati Hauiti and NZHPT.
Once the community was consulted and sites identified, NZHPT undertook historical research on each site and compiled registration reports. By using the thematic framework as a guide and drawing on local knowledge, the Register now better reflects the unique heritage of Rangitikei and Ruapehu.
Heritage gems revealed
In the Rangitikei region, the township of Bulls was selected for a special study to test the regional approach to registration. Several heritage treasures were identified that highlight Bulls’ rich history. Te Awamate pa is located on private land at Parewanui, near Bulls. A wetland archaeological site, the pa is preserved in swampland formed by an old channel of the Rangitikei River. Te Awamate was the main centre of occupation for Ngati Apa in the area in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and the site of several conflicts.
Also in Rangitikei, one of the few surviving examples of a pataka (Maori store house) is found at McManaway’s farm near Rata. Beneath the pataka lies a waka made from one piece of Totara, found while dredging a nearby stream. The rare pataka is culturally significant to Ngati Hauiti and to the Taiuru whanau (Ngati Haukaha).
Some other fine examples include Flock House homestead and a memorial to Bess, the only horse to return home to New Zealand after service in the First World War.
The Ruapehu region has one of the most interesting collections of historic transport structures in New Zealand. Several sites were registered to honour this engineering legacy. Between Ohakune and Horopito lies an Old Coach Road that was formerly a track used by local iwi. The completion, 100 years ago, of the North Island Main Trunk Line (NIMT) also had a significant impact on the history of the region. A memorial at Manganui-o-te-ao commemorates the ‘last spike’ of the line. Other heritage NIMT sites in Ruapehu include the Raurimu Spiral and the Tangiwai Memorial.
An exciting follow-on from the Pilot Project is NZHPT’s current NIMT registration project, which coincides with the NIMT’s 2008 centennial celebrations. Some of the sites registered as a result of the NIMT project include the Ohakune Railway Station and the Makatote Viaduct. The NZHPT acknowledges the funding received from NZ Lottery Grants Board and Ontrack to undertake the NIMT project.
Both the Ruapehu and Rangitikei District Councils have now established their own heritage inventory projects to build on the work completed by NZHPT, and to consider heritage protection through their District Plans.
The Pilot Project shows that heritage comprises the sum of many differing parts. Many heritage gems in Rangitikei and Ruapehu have been uncovered and appreciated for the high value they have in our history. This national recognition through registration has helped identify, protect and promote sites – a core NZHPT plank – and strengthened the interest of Councils and communities to promote their heritage.
Registered historic places
Mangapurua Bridge "Bridge to Nowhere"
Ohakune to Horopito Coach Road
Tangiwai Historic Reserve
Te Porere Redoubts
|Anderson House, Pipiriki
Bank of New Zealand (former)
North End Signal Box (ex Paekakariki Railway Yard
ANZ Bank (former)
County Council Building (former)
Royal Picture Theatre
St Matthew's Presbyterian Church
North Island Main Trunk Line "Last Spike" Memorial
Lodge Waimarino No. 175
Kariori Native School
Fergusson Cottage Complex
Taumarunui Post Office
| Mangapurua Valley historic area|
| Makohine Railway Viaduct
Merchiston Station Homestead
Merchiston Station Homestead Fountain
Wheriko Church (Anglican)
Marton Courthouse (former)
Hunterville Post Office (former)
Scott's Ferry Site
Memorial to Bess
St Marys Church
Flock House Homestead and McKelvie Flagpole
McManaway's Pataka and Waka
St Margarets Church
St Andrews Anglican Church
St Martins Church
Abraham & Williams Building
Davenport Brothers Building
Hannan's Marton Hotel
J J MacDonald Building
Nielsons Engineering Works
St Stephens Church
Sash and Door Building
Bank of New Zealand (former)
Captain Cook Pioneer Memorial Cottage
Marton Rest Room
Public Trust Office Building
Batley Memorial Chapel
Springvale Suspension Bridge
Parewanui Presbyterian Cemetery
Te Aputa Pa
Brandon Hall Homestead
Korihirau Pa and Omanono Pa
Marton park historic area
Arahina historic area