Investment in Taranaki Cathedral to create tourist drawcard

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest up to $5 million in Taranaki’s Cathedral project to help transform the heritage icon into a nationally significant tourist drawcard, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.

The region has identified the Cathedral Project as one of its key priorities in the action plan and has plans above and beyond restoring the building.

“The PGF support will help transform the cathedral into a tourism attraction that will showcase the sometimes turbulent story of European settlement in Taranaki and the relationship between Maori and Pakeha over 175 years,” Shane Jones said. 

“The Taranaki Cathedral has been at the centre of nationally important history and is rich with artefacts and stories. It has acted as a garrison and a centre of peace. Once restoration is complete New Zealand’s oldest stone church will offer visitors, both local and international, a rich and immersive experience.

“The project will use the site and buildings, professionally designed displays, audio visual guides and multimedia resources to tell this story, making a unique contribution to enhanced bi-cultural understanding and relationships in the future.

“As well as satisfying a growing local demand for real stories from New Zealand’s history, the enhanced Category 1 Heritage Building and its site have the potential to be a huge tourist drawcard for the region. The site’s existing wooden Vicarage will also be moved closer the Cathedral and repurposed as a community space.

“Visits to cultural institutions and historic places are a significant reason for many people to travel domestically and internationally, and this will be another unique offering for Taranaki’s visitor sector,” Shane Jones said.

The Cathedral project will complement the existing cultural infrastructure of Taranaki and create a compelling visitor offering, alongside Puke Ariki and Govett Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, and the Taranaki Crossing Experience.

The aim is for construction to start in May 2019, with work taking up to 15 months.