18 May 2012

Heritage trust calls for bicultural elements in new facility

9:08 am on 18 May 2012

Whanganui Regional Heritage Trust says it isn't against the demolition of the city's old Native Land Court to make way for a new Maori education facility, but does want remnants incorporated into the new structure.

Whanganui UCOL and Te Puna Matauranga o Whanganui are jointly applying for resource consent to build on the site after the first application was declined by the Environment Court in 2010.

Regional Heritage Trust chairperson Wendy Pettigrew says she supports the UCOL and Te Puna initiative, but the history of the old court building needs to be part of Te Whare Matauranga o Whanganui.

She says the trust can equally understand local iwi concerns, because for them the building has negative connotations.

But she says her trust would like to see some elements or parts of the court building incorporated into the new designs to reflect the region's bi-cultural history.

Mrs Pettigrew says the trust certainly isn't against the UCOL and local iwi aspirations, but it is important to acknowledge the European perspective as well, which she says is part of their resource consent submission to the Wanganui District Council.