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Heritage Hamilton

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As the new Mayor of Hamilton, I’m delighted to be asked to contribute an
introduction to this second edition of Heritage Hamilton. That the first edition sold out is evidence indeed of the high level of interest in the history of our city.
I have spent almost all of my adult life living in historic villas. My husband
Steve and I have restored one located in the heart of the Claudelands special
character area. So this gives me a very special insight as someone who has long held a fascination for all things relating to our history. I have enjoyed visits to historic buildings and also reliving the events that have occurred in those buildings.
Now as Mayor, it is important to me that we protect our heritage for future
generations. Hamilton, regrettably, like many cities, has had a poor record when it comes to saving buildings and places. Over the years we have lost many important buildings, both residential and commercial.
Often the structures that have replaced these wonderful heritage buildings have
been poorly designed and have added no value whatsoever. In 50 years’ time, they will remain poor and forgettable buildings, destined for demolition and there will be no tears.
I was surprised to learn that the current city District Plan lists just 127 properties with heritage classifications and only 386 trees. In a city the size of Hamilton, it is difficult to believe that so few buildings and trees warrant recognition and protection. Six years ago, when the Government of the time promoted its urban design and heritage strategy, Hamilton City Council embraced the concept.
From that has come protection of heritage homes and areas in our city. The
challenge for the future of Hamilton is how we continue to protect our heritage
as we grow and develop as a city. Council’s work on a new District Plan will help us move forward to strengthen our history.
Finally, I am indebted to the Waikato Institute of Technology media arts
students who have contributed to this unique book which allows us to look
back and understand what contributes to making a great city.

Julie Hardaker
Mayor of Hamilton
December, 2010.

 

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