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Great range of events to celebrate inaugural Waikato District Heritage Day

Waikato District Council and the Waikato District Heritage Forum have come together to present the very first Waikato District Heritage Day, which will see local heritage groups, libraries, museums and heritage location experts celebrating the histories and koorero stories of our communities.

Held on Saturday 20 April, all events are free and open to all members of the public.

The day will see museums and local heritage locations opening their doors to the public, heritage tours and walks, and displays at Waikato District Libraries.

The Historic Woodlands Homestead and award-winning gardens will also be open on the day.

Forum chair Kirstie Alley, who manages the homestead says, “This is an opportunity for reflection and education, for people to share stories, to learn about our past and our different cultures, and to foster community identity and mutual respect.”

“This is a great opportunity to learn more about our local heritage and to see some places that are not always open,” says Waikato District councillor for Tamahere-Woodlands, Crystal Beavis, who sits on the Forum. “Learning about our history helps us understand how events in the past led to the way things are today.” 

“One of the many important sites which is welcoming members of the public for tours on Heritage Day is the Matangi Dairy Factory. The factory played an important part in the development of New Zealand’s dairy industry and in the history of both Glaxo - now GSK - and Fonterra.”

Waikato District Mayor Jacqui Church says, “We welcome all visitors on the day to share in the wealth of stories about our district, and we look forward to growing this into an annual event with even more attractions and activities.”

Events and exhibits will be taking place all over Waikato District, from North to South, West to East:

  • Tuakau –a special open day at the museum (historic Tuakau post office) with activities including letterpress printing, playing the pianola, and wood range scones, and a display at the library.
  • Pookeno - Queen’s Redoubt Education Centre offering interactive displays and videos on the NZ land wars. Talk to an archaeologist.
  • Te Kauwhata – a heritage display and a new heritage trail by Jenny Kelly starting from the library.
  • Huntly – a library display and walk/talk on the main street, and interactive displays and a sandpit dig at Huntly Museum for the children.
  • Ngaaruawaahia – a market day heritage group stand and library display.
  • Raglan – displays at the  museum with maps for heritage walks in the township, and a display at the library.
  • Gordonton – Woodlands Estate historic homestead with its Garden of National Significance will be open, with the house open and a garden challenge for children of all ages.
  • Matangi – open day at the historic St David’s and St George Romanian Orthodox church, and tours of the Category 2 historic place the former NZ Co-operative Dairy Company factory at Matangi designed by Daniell.
  • Tamahere –Tamahere Country Market Day with self-guided tours of St Stephen’s Tamahere church and historic cemetery, and an open invitation to visit the carved pou on Bruntwood Rd marking ‘te maungārongo’ (the covenant of peace) between the Kingmaker Wiremu Tamihana and General Carey in 1865.

More information about these events can be found on Council’s website.