Friday, January 16, 2009

Sometimes I Wonder Why I'm Here...

I am currently flicking through Appendix no.2 of a report written 22 years ago, by a consultant archaeologist on the "Improvements of Tourist Attractions, Notably Historic and Archaeological Sites Within The Kingdom of Tonga". This report is an excellent appraisal of the work needed to, well, as the title suggests, to improve (while also preserving) some of the unique heritage of Tonga.

The author, Dr Dirk Spennemann, quotes frequently from a previous piece of archaeological research on the sites dating from 1929. So these archaeological sites are not unknown, and have, presumably, been on the radar for "improvement" for many years. Meanwhile, I am supposed to be involved in doing Heritage Site Development plans, which will supposedly be enacted by some NZAid funding, in some unforeseeable future. What I want to know is, WHY? Spennemann did the work over 20 years ago, and NOTHING came of it. He sets out why each individual site is important, how to further develop it, and how to make it accessible to tourists. This resource has been available since 1987, and I do not need to reinvent the wheel.

It would possibly be slightly better if the TVB retained a complete copy of Spennemann's report, instead of just the second appendix (which does not include any of the sites on the main island on which I am based), and which doesn't look like it's ever been read anyway.

And in the intervening years, how much of this heritage has been lost or destroyed? And even if I do create my own set of paperwork, talking about interpretation possibilities and prevention of further destruction to sites, what will come of it? I am fairly (cynically) sure nothing at all.

All I can say is that I am glad it is not MY cultural heritage that is being eroded by cyclones and eaten by moths.


Dash said...

Oh deary deary me.

I have had similar moments in the last few days.

Maybe you just need to be the person that not only makes the report, but makes sure something happens about it? I know its hard. Believe me, have been on the verge or hitting someone and walking out of this place this week, but as many remind me, I have done at least some good...

and don't forget about our post AYAD party. If you don't complete you assignment, you can't rule.

Dirk HR said...

Contact me if you need the rest of the report..
let me know what you're doing...guess you're based on TBU?