Te Hikoi, the Riverton Heritage Centre, was officially opened today. What started as a big idea a few years ago has finally come to fruition.
The crowd steadily grew until the time of the unveiling of the plaque. It was hot and sunny, and thankfully there were chairs to sit on for the older folks while they waited. But first, there were a few speeches.
Mayor Frana Cardno emphasised that this heritage centre demonstrates what's possible when a small community puts its mind to something, part of the old 'just get on with it' attitude.
Next, Ted Woodhill, Chairman of the Heritage Centre Trust spoke as well as a Trustee from Community Trust of Southland (a major funder of the project) acknowledging the many hours of volunteer work involved.
Prime Minister Clark said that this heritage centre not only makes history compelling and accessible but will be an important stopping point for tourists on the Southern Scenic Route.
It was pointed out that Riverton has only 1900 residents; some of them are on fixed income and some don't live there all year round. Yet they managed to raise about $400,000 themselves for this project. The overall outcome is inspiring.
Today was a free day but starting Monday admission will be $12/adults and $4/children ages 6-17; 5 and under get in free.
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