Northland’s Tohu Whenua programme is about to enter an exciting new phase with the appointment of Kerikeri resident David Clendon as its new Regional Coordinator in Te Tai Tokerau.
Launched in Northland in 2016, Tohu Whenua is a visitor programme that promotes significant historical and cultural sites, connecting New Zealanders with their unique heritage while enhancing national identity. In Te Tai Tokerau, Tohu Whenua sites include Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Kororipo Heritage Park, Rangihoua Heritage Park, Rākaumangamanga – Cape Brett and many others.
David is keen to encourage Kiwis to explore and experience their heritage in Northland.
“We know from recent surveys that people enjoy visiting our heritage sites because they learn something new or see something extraordinary, or just have a fun family day,” he says.
“Tohu Whenua can give local people and visitors to Northland an appetite to experience and understand more of our unique stories. We want to see people gain a deeper and broader understanding of our history, and to give visitors reason to stay longer and enjoy a richer experience of Northland’s culture and heritage.”
A former Green Party List MP based in Northland, David has long been an advocate for the region and its historical importance in the development of modern New Zealand.
“I have always enjoyed talking about the remarkable people, events and places around the North that have played such an important role in creating who we are as a region and as a country. Having these conversations as part of my day job is just a bonus!” he says.
“The more we know about our shared history, the better we can understand our present and future possibilities. Tohu Whenua is a unique approach to telling not only the stories of individual sites, but also linking these stories into a narrative about social, cultural and environmental developments over time across Te Tai Tokerau.”
A descendant of James Reddy Clendon and Jane Clendon, David has a strong personal connection to Clendon House in Rawene – one of the Tohu Whenua sites in Te Tai Tokerau – and a place David has been familiar with since he was a boy.
“I grew up hearing stories of Northland’s history, and of my family’s part in it – and many of those stories have turned out to be true,” he says.
“Part of the pleasure of living here is how often casual conversations can reveal a whakapapa or some other relationship with people you thought were strangers!”
David will be based at the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Northland office in Hobson Ave Kerikeri.