The newly-named Historic Places Hawke's Bay was launched last Sunday and celebrated with a special "sign-up" function and walk through central Napier.
About 50 people were present when Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott officially launched the society, which is effectively a renaming of what had been the Hawke's Bay branch committee of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust which formed in 1957.
Under changes to the Historic Places Act 1993 embodied in the new Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Bill, now before Parliament, regional branch committees of the national body are to be disestablished.
The Bay branch committee decided to reform itself under the new title, and will be affiliated to other former regional branch committees being created as part of a new national heritage organisation - Historic Places Aoetearoa.
As part of the launch, staged at the former Napier Borough Council Chambers, guest speakers Anna Crighton of Christchurch and James Blackburne of Gisborne provided insights into what earthquakes had done to their respective cities.
Ms Crighton showed images of a series of empty Christchurch sites where important heritage buildings had been demolished.
Mr Blackburne, an architect and member of the Historic Places Aotearoa Executive, showed images of the restoration carried out by his firm on a number of buildings damaged in the Gisborne quake of 2007.
Denis Pilkington, chairperson of Historic Places Hawke's Bay, briefly outlined the aims of the local society which include research on sites of heritage significance leading to publications and installation of plaques or signboards, and recording information about important local heritage sites so that they are listed in the district schemes of local authorities and by the national Historic Places Trust.
Mr Pilkington said field trips and other activities for members would continue to be carried out.