The Auckland Council Heritage team play an important role protecting and conserving Auckland's historic heritage for present and future generations.
With the Auckland Heritage Festival on now, we catch up with one of our heritage gurus, Mary Kienholz, Senior Specialist Community Heritage, on what she digs most about our unique local heritage.
Tell us a bit about your job in the Auckland Council Heritage team and your typical day?
My work is all about connecting with communities about their heritage, mostly through events, heritage funding and outreach. To be honest, there’s really no such thing as a typical day for me – some days I’m at my desk looking at funding applications and some days I’m out doing archaeological checks. Our work is so varied – which is one of the things I love about working in the heritage unit!
For the Auckland Heritage Festival, I’ve worked a lot with the events team, providing them with heritage-y related info or expertise they need.
What is it about Auckland’s unique heritage that interests you?
I love that Auckland’s heritage is so rich; our city is a melting pot of history and culture. Every individual community has their own story to tell and a legacy to pass down to their children. Heritage for me is so connected to our sense of history and belonging – it highlights what makes Auckland distinctive and unique.
What does the heritage team do to protect and conserve our local history for present and future generations?
The heritage team protects and cares for Auckland’s historic heritage places. That includes a ton of different spaces – cemeteries, monuments, buildings, plus maritime heritage like jetties and sea walls. Heritage comes in all shapes and sizes, on land and in the ocean. We preserve places of significance to Māori, including wāhi tapu and look after intangible locations that are connected with past events – history isn’t just the physical, the stories are everywhere.
Our work also involves protecting Auckland’s archaeological sites and organising heritage plantings at gardens and parks. So an exciting – if slightly hectic – job!
What’s the event you’re most looking forward to checking out at this year’s Auckland Heritage Festival?
I’m excited to learn more about the history of downtown Auckland’s Queen Street. Lisa Truttman is giving a talk “Wai Horotiu – Queen Street’s Hidden Stream” which looks amazing.
Most of all I love that you can come back to the festival year after year and always discover some new secret or story about Auckland – even as someone working in the heritage field! The festival reflects Auckland’s commitment to cherishing our heritage; it reminds us that everyone has a vital role in protecting and caring for the places that carry our stories. And that’s what the Heritage team is all about.
The Auckland Heritage Festival runs until 15 October, head to www.heritagefestival.co.nz to discover the fascinating secrets and stories of our past.