Whanganui's inaugural Heritage Month finished with a trip back to 1927 for a Downton Abbey-themed high tea.

Sunday's event was fundraiser for the Heritage Trust and also served as a welcome party for the newly released big-screen adaptation of the Downton Abbey series.

There have been 40 heritage-themed events and activities over the past six weeks, starting with the Durie Hill Elevator and Tunnel centenary dinner on August 2.

Whanganui Regional Heritage trustee and Whanganui district councillor Helen Craig said the six-week event had been a huge success.

Advertisement

"It seems to have highlighted in everyone's mind just how much heritage we have here and that it's worth celebrating.

"We've had a lot of interest from Heritage New Zealand, so we're really thrilled."

Craig said the event had been welcomed well by residents and attracted tourists to the district, also.

"Nobody else is doing a heritage month as such. Some other cities are having heritage weekends or days, but a heritage month is quite rare.

"It really helps put Whanganui on the map around the heritage story we're trying to get out there."

A grant of $12 million was announced at the Sarjeant Gallery's 100th birthday celebration. Photo / Bevan Conley
A grant of $12 million was announced at the Sarjeant Gallery's 100th birthday celebration. Photo / Bevan Conley

Mayor Hamish McDouall said it was great to be able to take in Whanganui's heritage and learn more about what took place.

McDouall said the inaugural event was good but he had suggestions for next year's programme.

"Obviously the programme couldn't have been tightened up because of the Bushy Park event and elevator celebrations, but maybe to have it over three or four weeks would be better than six weeks, which is a bit too long."

Advertisement

Both McDouall and Craig hoped next year's event would incorporate Māori heritage.

Whanganui Heritage Month was run by event co-ordinator Kelly Scarrow.