In a television series the pop philosopher Alain de Botton commented upon the nature of holidays - or simply a change of scene. He noted that every day tens of thousands of Londoners leave that fine city for a holiday abroad. Equally tens of thousands of people arrive at Heathrow to enjoy a holiday in London. As Alain de Botton confirmed: both cohorts are entirely happy with their decisions.
As time passes and the new settlements of New Zealand grow, the presence of an older town glows brightly. In an electronic age the traditional bulky buildings of a town centre are not required. One might include here the trading banks; the local offices of insurance companies; regional government agencies, etc. Newer town centres including Cromwell (on its current site), Levin and Taupo are quite lacking in buildings with weight and presence.
It is the collection of well-tailored bulky buildings such as the Tekapo Buildings pictured here that provide Timaru with its unique regional flavour. Designed in 1926 by one of Timaru's most accomplished architects Herbert Hall, this imperious 3-storeyed building with its stripped classical façade provides weight and bearing to the CBD. The original drivers for this building may have passed but the contribution to the cityscape remains, not to mention the valuable space inside for medical professionals, artists and community groups.
To retain the unique flavour of the Timaru town centre is to embellish its place as a unique and intriguing place to visit. Our immediate neighbour Oamaru is now bathing in the glow of its heritage buildings, all helping to entice visitors to the region. Equally colourful is the Timaru collection.
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