Auckland Heritage Festival embraces our journeys

Last Updated : 06 Oct 2020
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Left to Right: Event details below: Chinese Market Gardeners; Birkenhead Village presents: Jean Batten Journeys; and Ponsonby presents: the yanks are coming.

Celebrations of Auckland’s rich and vibrant heritage will abound in October.

This year Auckland Council’s Auckland Heritage Festival brings more than 200 exciting, enriching and entertaining performances, talks, walks, exhibitions and workshops to the region from Saturday 5 October, culminating in Tuia 250 ki Tāmaki Makaurau during Labour Weekend.

On 25 October, concluding the festival, the City of Sails will welcome Tuia 250 Voyage - a flotilla of heritage waka and ships sailing into the Waitematā Harbour.

Aucklanders are invited to be part of the flotilla’s historic arrival, either on the water or at the harbour’s edge, before a feast of commemorative happenings unfold throughout Labour Weekend in Tāmaki Makaurau.

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This year New Zealand commemorates 250 years since the first onshore encounters between Māori and Pākehā, when the HMB Endeavour arrived in Tūranga / Gisborne 250 years ago. The national commemoration is called Tuia – Encounters 250.

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage is leading the Tuia 250 Voyage, which will see a flotilla of waka hourua, va’a tipaerua (double-hulled canoes) and tall ships sail around the country. 

While the HMB Endeavour didn’t enter the Waitematā Harbour 250 years ago, or land here, Auckland Council is joining with Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum and New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa to host a line-up of events for Aucklanders to enjoy in support of the flotilla’s arrival.

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Auckland Council’s Noel Reardon says: “Auckland Heritage Festival will help us learn more about the courage, resilience and skill of our extraordinary Polynesian voyagers who were first in the world to develop blue water sailing while navigating the world’s largest ocean many centuries ago.

“The festival will also give us a moment to reflect on our families’ journeys here while we learn about many other aspects of our heritage at multiple festival events,” he says.

For example, Aucklanders are encouraged to get involved in the inner workings of our Town Hall’s much-acclaimed organ; learn about Auckland’s earliest strawberry growers in Birkdale; play the games children played on board sailing ships voyaging here; witness the history of theatre in Auckland with ‘Curtain Up!’ at Auckland’s Central City Library; and take a trip aboard iconic steam tugboat William C. Daldy - from the bustling engine room below to the wheelhouse up top.

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Photo by Noel Brotherston – nzms 1409 - Elizabeth Mcrae Collection

Discover Heritage Festival events

See below for a taste of some of the experiences on offer at Auckland Heritage Festival.

The full array of events can be explored here on the website.

Chinese market gardeners

Chinese men arrived in New Zealand in the 1860s to mine for gold.

Raised in self-sufficient villages, these men planted vegetables for their own use, and sold the surplus. Before long, Chinese gardeners were supplying fresh vegetables to all the goldfields.

When the gold ran out, many of the miners moved to urban areas and took up market gardening. In the 1970s, there were 600 Chinese market gardeners in New Zealand.

Historian Lisa Truttman delves into the fascinating history of the Chinese market gardens in Epsom and Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill.

A Decorative Bias: Parisian Ties 1919-2020

A chance encounter on a train marked the beginning of a 100-year journey in men's fashion.

Callil Abdallah was a man blessed with an entrepreneurial spirit. In search of inspiration for a new venture, he went to America. On a train he struck up a conversation with a tie maker who explained to him how to make a necktie.

Callil drew the tie pattern onto a napkin and tucked it into his pocket where it stayed until he returned to New Zealand.

Back home he made his first tie and his company, Parisian Ties, has been making ties here ever since.

Birkenhead Village presents: Jean Batten Journeys

Journey with us as we explore NZ’s first lady of flight Jean Batten’s remarkable story.

The daughter of the local dentist - his clinic once stood opposite the site of the Birkenhead Library.

Jean's extraordinary feats are covered in this movie about her life.

Ponsonby presents: the yanks are coming

During World War II, Auckland received a welcome invasion.

American soldiers, sailors, marines and air crew came to train for, or recuperate from, fighting the Japanese.

At any one time in 1943-44 there were more than 30,000 US troops stationed in and around Auckland.

Many camps and hospitals were needed to cater for the influx and had a huge impact on the locals and landscape.

This illustrated talk will convey the scale and nature of the invasion, and help you see Auckland in a new light.

Stepping back into the shed: Westfield Freezing Works 1916 – 1989

This exhibition celebrates the people, place and community of the Westfield Freezing Works, Ōtāhuhu. It has been thirty years since its closure in 1989.

Just before demolition, photographs, plans and collectible items were rescued from the Westfield site. Items on display will be brought to life by the memories of those who lived and worked there.

Curated by the Te Kura Tāwhiti team at Auckland Libraries, the exhibition covers over a hundred years of the Auckland meat industry.

Paopao: the art of Māori tapa

Paopao is an interactive demonstration of the art of Māori Tapa by the artist Arapeta Ashton.

Creating an interface with the community at Nathan Homestead, the demonstration shares kōrero and oral histories.

Participants will experience what has been a dormant practice until the present day.

This demonstration focuses on the whakapapa, the genealogy of the practice and its rich history navigating back to Moana nui a Kiwa, the Pacific Islands and South East Asia.

The completed Tapa will be on display at Nathan Homestead for the duration of Auckland Heritage Festival. 

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