Tohu Whenua launches on the West Coast

Tohu Whenua, the national programme showcasing this country’s significant heritage places, is being launched on the West Coast.

Brunner Mine, Denniston Mine and Historic Reefton are the first West Coast sites chosen because of their significance to New Zealand, the stories they tell and the visitor experience they offer.

“Today’s launch at Arahura Marae in Hokitika is a fitting venue to acknowledge the many centuries of history on the West Coast that began with the arrival of Maori,” says Chief Executive Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, Andrew Coleman, speaking on behalf of Tohu Whenua partners Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai and the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment Hīkina Whakatutuki.

“The West Coast is the third Tohu Whenua region following launches in Northland and Otago, and is included because of its historical importance in the New Zealand story of settlement.

“Tohu Whenua tells the powerful story of our heritage connecting this country’s significant places together to provide quality visitor experiences for New Zealanders and overseas visitors.

“Tohu Whenua will bring more visitors to the West Coast and increase revenue to the region as people spend money on attractions and services. This in turn supports regional development and growth by creating employment and business opportunities.”

Each West Coast site will have a Tohu Whenua marker post identifying it as part of the programme. These sign will help establish a brand which will be recognised by local people and visitors as they travel throughout the region. As with Northland and Otago, more sites will be added to the programme in future years.

“The stories of the Brunner Mine, the site of the country’s largest coal mining disaster in 1896, the Denniston Mine with its remarkable cable incline and Reefton Township, the first town in the southern hemisphere to have power and electric lighting, are ones to be widely told and retold,” says Mr Coleman.

“My thanks to everyone involved in today’s launch at Arahura Marae hosted by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae and to all those who have bought Tohu Whenua to the West Coast where the rich stories of our history will continue to be told.”

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