Baring Head Lighthouse and WW2 features in regional park added to NZ Heritage List
Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui, home to the Baring Head Lighthouse complex and World War 2 features, has been added to the New Zealand Heritage List Rārangi Kōrero following a successful nomination by a community member.
Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui is part of the East Harbour Regional Park managed by Greater Wellington, and is home to the only lighthouse in Aotearoa still in its original condition. Now a registered ‘historic area’, it is described in Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga’s report as having “outstanding historical significance”.
For Fiona Colquhoun, Parks Planner for Greater Wellington, this recognition is a gratifying result of ongoing work to protect the site and enrich visitors’ experiences.
“Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui is a historical gem for our region. The lighthouse was built in 1935, and the two cottages in the complex once housed the lightkeepers and their families.
“Greater Wellington have been working with Friends of Baring Head for years to restore the lighthouse complex. The former generator building has been transformed into a storytelling hub, and the garage is being developed as a hut for park volunteers.
“This decision by Heritage New Zealand recognises the significance of the site in New Zealand’s history, and will support the protection of its historical features for future generations to appreciate.”
The enrichment of the park does not stop here. New signage will soon be installed, directing more people to enjoy the area’s history and natural beauty, and there is work underway to make the lighthouse cottages bookable for overnight stays. Greater Wellington is also planning to plant approximately 14,000 natives around Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui this winter.
Friends of Baring Head, a community group and trust which supports work in the park, celebrated the heritage listing as an important recognition of the value of Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui, which the Trust is helping restore.
“Protecting our heritage takes funding, and we're deeply grateful for the donations and grants that have been instrumental in restoring the lighthouse complex,” said Trust Chair Paula Warren.
“This heritage status will encourage people and organisations to support preservation of the site.”
Ms Warren also hopes that it will lead more of the community to explore the area. Jo Greenman, Park Ranger for East Harbour Regional Park, echoed this sentiment.
“People should seek out this unique treasure on their doorstep. There are new tracks in Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui which make it easier than ever for hikers, cyclists and riders to get to the lighthouse.”
For those wishing to visit Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui, more information can be found on the Greater Wellington website.
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