First, there was Jim Anderton:
Make the Gothic buildings of Christchurch a World Heritage Site
05 June 2010 Jim Anderton, Mayoral candidate for the City of Christchurch
Jim Anderton announced today that if he becomes the mayor of Christchurch he will lead moves to achieve World Heritage Status for the city’s unique Gothic Revival buildings. No city in the world has a more complete collection of Gothic Revival buildings, of such high quality and so well preserved.
“These Victorian buildings, date back to the 1850s and, as a group, are of enormous international significance. They represent the outcome of the furthest migration of any group of people in human history,” Jim Anderton said.
“Canterbury was seen as a haven in which the best values of British society could be preserved at a time when the very future of European civilization was perceived to be at risk. The early settlers here brought their values with them, and they expressed it in the architecture of Christchurch. Part of that was an appreciation of open public spaces. They believed that the squares and parks around these buildings were the ‘lungs of a city’. It’s no accident that around the same time, an application for a park in New York was accepted and New York’s Central Park became the first public park in the United States. Christchurch’s ancestors valued quality architecture, from which this generation of New Zealanders could learn. These buildings and precincts represent a remarkable determination to create a better world on the other side of the globe,” Jim Anderton said.
“They are more than bricks and mortar. They are at the heart of our city, and remind us every day that wanting to leave the place where you live in a better state than you found it, is a worthwhile goal.”
The Canterbury Branch of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust has campaigned for World Heritage Status before but without City Council support. Local authority support is essential in order to advance a claim for World Heritage Status, first at national level and then at a future World Heritage Convention
The proposed sites consist of the most significant 19th-century public buildings associated with the founding of the city. These include Christchurch Cathedral, the Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings, the Canterbury Museum, and the former Canterbury University site, now the Arts Centre. As the proposal is developed and consultation with all parties takes place, other important sites could be added. The Canterbury Provincial Council buildings are the only complete surviving examples of government buildings from the provincial period of colonial society in New Zealand. The 1865 Council Chamber is internationally recognized as an outstanding example of High Victorian Gothic architecture.
“World Heritage listing for our outstanding Gothic Revival precinct would give Christchurch international visibility and prestige, and attract more people to the city. It would also give local people an increased sense of pride in our city. That’s why, if I become mayor, I will help lead a proposal to push for World Heritage Status for these historic sites which teach us so much about our past and the direction we should take for the future,” says Jim Anderton.
Contact: Jim Anderton on 021 777 680
Then Banksie, tonight by Tweet:
But wait… back when (17 May)
At the launch of the University of Otago Campus Master Plan (the vision…), who should put a question at the end of the official presentation but our very own mayor, Peter Chin. He asked about ‘the possibility of the university using the heritage buildings around the Exchange’. Now there’s a heritage campaign for office.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
PS. What’s happening in Wellington???