Former deputy Prime Minister and Wairarapa MP Wyatt Creech speaking at Sunday’s ceremony. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA

JAKE BELESKI

jake.beleski@age.co.nz

The important history and places of Wairarapa will have an extra layer of protection after the formation of Heritage Wairarapa.

Former deputy prime minister and Wairarapa MP, Wyatt Creech, was on hand to launch Heritage Wairarapa at Papawai Marae on Sunday.

Heritage Wairarapa will work with Heritage New Zealand to create a better understanding and awareness of the importance of heritage in Wairarapa.

Committee member David Kernohan outlined the purposes and mission of Heritage Wairarapa at the ceremony, and said it was a matter of being watchful.

“Heritage New Zealand is now part of a government department and no longer has independence from government control,” he said.

“We are an autonomous group of people interested in protecting Wairarapa’s heritage through working with Heritage New Zealand, the two iwis of Wairarapa — Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane — and other organisations with similar aims.”

It was fitting the ceremony took place at Papawai, which has been home to Wairarapa Maori for hundreds of years.

In the late 1800s it was the seat of Kotahitanga, the national Maori parliament movement.

The objectives of the organisation are to promote the identification, protection and conservation of heritage places in the area of the organisation, for the benefit of those communities and the general public.

They will also aim to inform, advise and educate the public of the significance of the area’s heritage places.

The ceremony provided an opportunity to elect the Heritage Wairarapa committee.

Six members of the steering committee will be on the Heritage Wairarapa committee — Mr Kernohan, Kay Paget, Amiria Te Whaiti, Lynda Feringa, Tingay Davidson and Frank Mineham.

Terry Craig of Clareville was also elected onto the committee.