Heritage Week in Auckland

Every year in September, Auckland opens her doors and invites the public into places that are usually closed to the public. There are walking, cycling and boat tours; lectures, films and exhibitions; lighthouses, tea parties, ship wrecks, tombstone rubbing and Morris dancing. And that’s just a taste!

Every part of the city is involved as well as the zoo, the art gallery and the museum. It’s an outstanding programme of  over 200 events, most are free (booking required) and all give us (the public) access to the expertise of local people who have stories and history to share Bout the areas that they live in.

I’m pretty excited about the festival this year and it’s been hard to choose what events to attend because there are so many. Here’s a link to the official programme (www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/heritagefestival) so that you can choose your favourites, and here are some of the highlights that I’ve got my eye on.

1. Ports of Auckland tug boat tour. I’m really looking forward to this as I love getting out on the water to see the city from a different perspective. The tug boat is the William C Daldy – a vintage, steam-driven tug boat built in 1935.

2. Is it gruesome to like cemeteries? Probably, but there is something fascinating about them too and walks in two of the cities most historic cemeteries are part of the Heritage Festival. I’m looking forward to hearing the stories of some of their most famous residents.

3. One of the very cool things about the Heritage Festival is that it’s a chance to see inside buildings that would otherwise be out of bounds and to hear about their history from the specialists. There are guided tours of heritage buildings in suburbs all over the city. My picks are the restored Britomart Heritage buildings which are now home to very cool offices, restaurants and bars in the central city, the Pah Homestead which is a beautiful turreted building based on Queen Victoria’s home in the Isle of Wight, and the buildings of K’ Road one of Auckland’s most colourful streets.

4. On the top of my list of Festival events is the Freda Stark walk. You might have heard of Freda. She’s given her name to the bar and cafe in the Civic Theatre and her most popular claim to fame is that she danced for US GIs wearing only a g-string and gold paint.

5. Guided tour of the Voyager Maritime Museum. Auckland and water go hand in hand (after all it used to be called the City of Sails) and I’m looking forward about learning some of the salty stories.

This is only a tiny slice of the events on offer during the 2 weeks of the festival. Check it out for yourself and get inspired. I am!

Categories: New Zealand

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