As part of the World Heritage day celebrations the NTZ marked the day early with the re-launch of the La Rochelle estate which afforded an opportunity to raise the public’s awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it.
LA ROCHELLE: Official re-opening of the La Rochelle property.
This event was attended by a number of invited guests including local dignitaries, Mr Dhwiwayo the District Administrator, Chief Mutasa, Headman and Village Head, Councilors from the Mutare and Mutasa RDCs, members of the local community including business and tourism, The Chair of Literature and History from Africa University, members of the NTZ Executive committee and Directors of the LRC. The re-launch of the hotel was held in the well-appointed brand new conference centre where people gathered for morning tea and cakes. The tables were decorated with exotic orchids all expertly grown all La Rochelle. Mr Kevin Martin, the Estate Manager welcomed everyone and then took the party for a tour of the recently renovated house and gardens.
After canapes and refreshments there were opening speeches by Mr Kutywayo the Councillor for Ward 22, Mr Luke Ngwerume A Director of the La Rochelle Centre and Ms Sharon Waterworth, the Vice Chair of the NTZ.
“As your invitation said: we are honoured to have your presence to mark this occasion: the re-opening of the hotel after the re-furbishment and re-branding of the house and of the gardens and we look forward to showing you in more detail what we have achieved and what we plan to achieve going forward. Today is an opportune time for the re-launch as some of you may know World Heritage Day is marked on the 18th April so we are celebrating it early!
After outlining the aims and objectives of the NTZ Sharon explained that NTZ does not receive any funding and so we have to source our own funding, we are doing this by collecting rentals, annual membership subscriptions, donations and bequests, admission charges to properties, hire charges for the use of facilities and grounds, and the proceeds of sales of nursery plants and cut flowers. She said: I can tell you quite honestly that it is not easy to manage 7 properties like this, it’s a challenge.
The NTZ is part of a much large family: called the INTO which is a NGO group founded in 2007, established to promote the conservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural heritage of all nations for the benefit of the people of the world. INTO has close links with organizations such as: UNESCO, UNEP, ICOMOS, IUCN and Europa Nostra. Currently, INTO represents about 55 million individual members and countless millions of visitors to sites and properties across more than 25 counties.
The NTZ manages a mixture of 7, some built and some natural environment, properties with the help of its Executive Council and various Regional Committees, all of whom are volunteers.
Today, historical properties globally now have to earn their keep and still be kept open to the public, they can’t just be preserved any more. I am very proud to announce that the NTZ has entered into a ground breaking Public Private Partnership to be seen in Zimbabwe, where the NTZ has collaborated with private players to ensure the sustainability of the property and to expand its facilities and use of resources.
Together with Acumen we developed short, medium and long term strategies, to raise the necessary funding and retain the necessary skills to help achieve both the initial Courtauld vision of La Rochelle while adapting the estate to the economic and educational realities of 21st century Africa. I am happy to report that that vision is becoming a reality as you will see for yourself later today the tangible outcomes that we have implemented so far. I just know that you are going to be impressed.
Heritage is important and NTZ is all about inclusive heritage and education, for all Zimbabwe and global citizens and visitors. We have already undertaken education projects on heritage for all school children this was implemented at Nyanga Historical Museum and we are planning cultural educational interpretive facilities at Mabukawene and Murahwa’s Hill.
The NTZ continues to develop working relationships with other organisations such as National Museums Monuments Zimbabwe and National Gallery of Zimbabwe and societies such as Tree Life, Bird Life, History Society, Reps Theatre and Orchid Society that will help us in promoting Zimbabwe Heritage and sustainable environmental education such as is planned right here at LAR.
The NTZ are considering the possibility of hosting a pan-African meeting in Zimbabwe in 2 years’ time, that we hope would be held at La Rochelle, when we will work closely with other stakeholders and welcome visitors to our country. The NTZ is working hard for you to enjoy.