Layers of Gold – Dunedin Heritage Festival 18-21 March 2011

Celebrating Gold – the Foundation of Dunedin’s Rich Heritage

150 years ago when Gabriel Read made the first major discovery of gold in Otago, at Gabriel’s Gully, he well and truly put Dunedin on the world map. Dunedin became the gateway to the goldfields, and the Otago Goldrush became the catalyst that laid the foundations of Dunedin’s rich heritage.

‘Layers of Gold’ celebrates not just the discovery of gold in 1861, but the rich layers of the city’s past that have been woven into the fabric that is our vibrant city today.

In 2011 the Bank of New Zealand, Allied Press, Cerebos Greggs, the Otago Chamber of Commerce, Galloway Cook Allan and the Dunedin Fire Brigade will all celebrate their 150th anniversaries.

Dunedin is a proud city of outstanding achievements and outstanding people. The ‘Layers of Gold’ celebrations, set against the backdrop of the city’s fine Victorian and Edwardian architecture, will be an opportunity to reflect on the past, enjoy and celebrate the present and look forward to the next ‘layer of gold’ the city’s future will undoubtedly unfold.

When: Otago Anniversary Weekend | 18-21 March 2011
Where: Dunedin, New Zealand
UPDATED* Event Information:

Contact: Dunedin Heritage Festival
138 Lower Stuart Street
New Zealand

Ph (03) 474 9256
Email Enquiry Form

Celebrating Our Living Heritage | Proudly presented by Dunedin City Council


BNZ – Festival HQ
The historic Bank of New Zealand building is the fitting focal point for the ‘Layers of Gold’ celebrations serving as both Festival HQ and Exhibition Hall. The BNZ, which will also be celebrating its 150th birthday, opened its doors in Dunedin in 1861, on the corner of Princes St & Rattray St in the heart of what was to become the Exchange. Its opening was just three months shy of the establishment of the Bank’s first branch in Auckland. The BNZ building that stands on the site today was built in 1884.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Design, Economics, Events, Fun, Geography, Heritage, Inspiration, People, Site, Urban design

8 responses to “Layers of Gold – Dunedin Heritage Festival 18-21 March 2011

  1. Elizabeth

    With the prospect of fortune came people: before Read’s find in 1861, the population of Otago and Southland numbered just under 7000; a decade later, it was nearly 70,000.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 12 Mar 2011
    Gold in them thar tills
    By Shane Gilchrist
    Otago is preparing to mark the 150th anniversary of the discovery of the first payable gold in New Zealand, a wealth that spread far beyond the stones or soil in which it was found. Shane Gilchrist reports.
    Read more

    ### ODT Online Sat, 12 Mar 2011
    Slaking a miner’s thirst
    By Shane Gilchrist
    “This was the fun capital of the goldfields,” Kim Murtagh says with a glint in her eye. She is standing in a leafy glade, where century-old poplars loom large over the ruins of a couple of buildings that once quenched the thirst of many.
    Read more


    Gabriel’s Gully 150th Anniversary celebrations
    The Gabriel’s Gully 150th Anniversary starts in Lawrence on Friday, March 18 and runs until Monday, March 21. It includes historical tours and displays, music, visual art, drama and games. A very small sample includes:

    Friday 6.30pm-8.15pm
    Gabriel’s Gully Historic Reserve
    The celebrations begin with a re-enactment of the gold rush.

    Gabriel’s Gully Historic Reserve
    Try your hand and your luck.

    Gabriel’s Gully Historic Reserve
    Saturday night dance.

    At the same time, in Dunedin, the four-day Layers of Gold event marks the city’s golden connections. Events include the arrival of tall ship Steadfast at Birch St Wharf on Saturday, March 19 at 10am.

    • For more information on all events, visit:

  2. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Wed, 16 Mar 2011
    Octagon to be turned into shantytown for celebration
    By Nigel Benson
    A historic Dunedin bylaw which has never been repealed will see this weekend’s 150th anniversary of the Otago gold rush marked in unique fashion. The “Layers of Gold” four-day celebration will feature a re-enactment of immigrants arriving in Dunedin by tall ship on their way to the Central Otago goldfields.
    Read more

  3. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sat, 19 Mar 2011
    Heritage stalwart honoured
    By Eileen Goodwin
    A heritage stalwart was honoured at last night’s official launch of the city’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Dunedin’s Ann Barsby, founder of the Southern Heritage Trust, was awarded Dunedin’s Bluestone Award, recognising her contribution to the preservation and promotion of Otago’s heritage.
    The launch of the three-day Layers of Gold 150th celebrations was held at the old Bank of New Zealand building on Princes St.
    Read more + Images

  4. Anonymous

    One word for the Shantytown stuff: embarrassing.

  5. Peter

    Talking about ’embarrassing’. Have you notice the advertising for the Highlanders for their recent games? They have a ‘I/We believe’ theme running through them, putting up various people to vouch for the team. They all look staunch and serious, of course. It all looks so desperate. The subtext seems to suggest – ‘We know you out there have lost faith in us, but ‘we believe’.’ Why anyone would want to put their name to this kind of cringe worthy advertising, I don’t know.

  6. fergal

    I doubt it’s targetting your generation Peter…or mine for that matter. But it is interesting that you ‘noticed’ it, as I guess that’s half the ambition of any advertising. Would any other form of advertising change your opinion of the Highlanders/anything rugby? Probably not…

  7. Peter

    Probably not, Fergal – except if they were advertising a real financial contribution to the stadium instead of bludging off the ratepayers. Then maybe ‘I believe’. Or, at least, have more respect for the Highlanders.

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