Saturday, August 7, 2010

The saga of Avondale's heritage signs

I don't think I've posted about these before. They were "completed" in 2007. I use quote marks, because the original Community Board funded project called for three signs, two in Avondale's shopping centre, and one at the cemetery on Rosebank Road, the George Maxwell Memorial. The latter was dropped off the list due to a mis-communication (it's back on, now, but pending completion), and of the others, they were reduced from 2 to one and a half. This one in Memorial Reserve is the "half".

Memorial Reserve was granted to Auckland City Council post World War II by the Presbyterian parish at St Ninians. Today, it is Avondale's main war memorial site, and where Anzac Day services are held.

The Avondale-Waterview Historical Society were involved with the project from 2003. Our members attended planning meetings free of charge. We provided historical information. Checked text, for free. Were consulted regarding placement.

When it came to the signs themselves, only the Community Board and the local business association received credit. The notation you see in the photo above was added belatedly, after I became rather emotive, shall we say, and made my feelings known through the AWHS newsletter and to Board members. It's a sticker on the original sign, and misses the "-al" in Historical, part of our official incorporated name. A similar sticker was applied to the larger almost identical sign at the Town Centre, by Dale the Spider, but that's now missing, so the sign there has no relation to AWHS at all. Although it was part of the same project we were involved with.

That, and the two signs were supposed to reflect back on the heritage walks brochure  and site plaques done at the same time, which AWHS pushed through. But, the design teams at Auckland City thought differently.  Over the course of four years. So, we now have small brass plaques, hard to see up against shops on the footpath, (we weren't told when they were being laid in place, just before one of the Heritage Festivals, so there was no chance of a media promotion) a couple of signs just talking in general about Avondale's past, and a brochure that probably few use. The design department at Auckland City is called Communications & Marketing. In terms of the Avondale Walks Project, in my opinion, it turned out to be not really all that successful in terms of communication, or marketing. Sorry, I'm still rather disheartened about the whole thing.

But, hey, at least they show folks what a whau tree looks like.

Beggers can't be choosers, I guess. At least there's something on the streetscape ...


  1. Arrrgh!
    The hair tearing can be heard from here.
    And fully empathised with.

  2. Cheers, Jayne. I try not to think about it too much these days, else I get rather emotive, all over again. (sigh)

  3. *sigh* ~
    I have the heritage walks brochure which I downloaded from the net, and I love it, however, as you say . . . no media coverage.
    We used to do a lot of historical walks when we were in London and loved them . . . always wondered if there were organized ones in Auckland.