The capital uncovered

The capital uncovered

ALEXANDER TURNBULL LIBRARY St Gerard's Monastery and surrounding houses on the hill above Oriental Bay, photographed from the Evening Post window in 1950. ALEXANDER TURNBULL LIBRARY

If you’ve ever been curious about the tales behind this city, now’s your chance to find out, with the launch of Wellington City Heritage Week.

The inaugural showcase is set to explore the capital’s rich history through stories, people and places  October 23-29.

Lead organiser David Batchelor says it offers a chance for everyone to discover and engage with what makes their community and Wellington such a vibrant place to live.

St Gerard’s Monastery, as seen in 2007. KEVIN STENT/STUFF

“This is the first year for the event with each event being run by community hosts on a volunteer basis.

“Everything is done for the community, by the community, and the response from the hosts has been fantastic.”

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on Anzac Day, 2017. HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY

 Batchelor says the idea was born when community group Historic Places Wellington saw many proud communities in Wellington with fantastic events and stories to tell but with little voice.

“The week seeks to bring them together and give them the limelight that they deserve so the city can celebrate our people and places.

“Being able to bring together a volunteer base of people who are passionate about Wellington really shows we value our city and people.”

There will be more than 20 events featured throughout the week with exhibitions, open properties, tours, public discussions, and films.

Some highlights:

* Explore St Gerard’s Monastery Open Day: experience the unique interior and exterior of the iconic building with sweeping views over the harbour, and discover what it takes to live in and care for the building, from the community that lives there.

* Watch how the Thorndon motorway tore through a community and the subsequent building boom, that changed Wellington into a modern city in Nga Taonga Sound and Vision’s film showcase Hometown Boomtown.

* Understand the layers of history at Pukeahu/Mt Cook in the heart of the city, how it transformed from a site of Maori occupation to a military barracks, and is now a site of national remembrance with the Pukeahu Historic Tour by The Great War Exhibition.

* Join the conversation with a City Talk discussion, where representatives from Heritage New Zealand, Wellington City Council, New Zealand Institute of Architects, and the New Zealand Planning Institute will tackle topics regarding balancing Wellington’s growth, identity, and people at City Gallery.

* Visit wellingtoncityheritageweek.co.nz to see the full list of events. Some events require pre-booking as space is limited.

 – As published on Stuff

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