NEW ZEALAND HISTORIC PLACES TRUST
New Zealanders have been compensated in various ways for the comparative brevity of their history. There has always been a lively interest in Maori origins and traditions and, more recently, a systematic and scholarly approach to Maori archaeology. A possibly disproportionate volume of local history has appeared, much of it over-concerned with the pioneers and their doings, but nevertheless it is a token of interest in the past. More recently there has been a scattered but growing concern about the visible relics of our history – not only pre-European pa sites, but also houses, churches, and other buildings of historical or architectural significance.
Lord Bledisloe's gift to the nation in 1932 of the Waitangi estate and Treaty House and its subsequent administration by the Waitangi Trust was perhaps an informal beginning. The centennial of 1940 did much to arouse public interest in the local and national past. The purchase of Pompallier House by the Government in 1943 raised the problem of the restoration and maintenance of this former French Roman Catholic mission headquarters. Its post-war renovation by the Department of Internal Affairs focused attention, again, on the need to deal more formally and systematically with our historic buildings.