Wed, Feb 22, 2023 10:00 AM

Ground-breaking work set to start on heritage centre


Paula Hulburt

Work is set to start on a new state-of-the-art rural heritage centre, replacing one ravaged in the devastating Kaikōura earthquake.

It has been seven years in the making, a purpose built $1.5 million hub set to house the Ward Museum’s collection and educate generations to come about the area’s rich past.

Now groundworks on the new Flaxbourne Heritage Centre are nearly underway as materials arrive on site.

Ward Museum was red-stickered in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude quake and was unsafe to use. Plans were unveiled for a dream centre, to be located next to the Ward Town Hall.

The Flaxbourne Heritage Centre build will showcase the multigenerational history of the East Coast from early Māori times till today.

Its location adjacent to the hall, school and future path of the Whale Trail will create a hub for the community and a point of interest for visitors to the Kaikōura area.

This milestone comes after seven years of planning and fundraising efforts.

Trust chair Kevin Loe says the small team of trustees who help leverage funds for the build and display area team hope the wider community will help fundraise the balance needed.

“We are now on the final stretch of this amazing project and are looking now to the wider community to help fund the balance.

“Lotteries have been generous in granting the bulk of the funds to date, mostly from their Community Earthquake Recovery fund, other Agencies we could still approach will base their support on the size of the community contribution.”

The final stage, still to be funded is the multi-function audio visual, interactive and educational room.

It is hoped this will prove to be a key drawcard for wider Marlborough and visitors.

It will also provide a resource for teachers and students as they expand their knowledge of Aotearoa/New Zealand history through the new history curriculum, Kevin says.

“With physical construction now visible we hope you share our excitement and if able, can be part of the project through your contribution to assist in achieving our objectives.”

Kevin says some personal pledges have already been made to help protect the rich heritage of the area.

“We already have a number of generous personal pledges pending, for which we are very grateful, but there is still a way to go until we reach our goal of opening debt free, including the opportunity for larger concerns to obtain naming rights to the centre and the multi-function room.”

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