Arrowtown Chinese Settlement
Image: Neville Ritchie | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Join the celebrations on 24 April for historic Arrowtown and the famous bungy bridge’s new Landmarks status.

Date:  23 April 2018

The Chinese Consul General and AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand co-founder will celebrate the new Landmarks Whenua Tohunga status of Historic Arrowtown and Chinese Settlement and the Kawarau Suspension Bridge at launch events next week. 

DOC is hosting two events for these significant heritage sites on 24 April, following the official launch of 12 Otago Landmarks in December last year. 

DOC’s Operations Manager Wakatipu-wai-māori Geoff Owen says he’s delighted Historic Arrowtown and Chinese Settlement, and the Kawarau Suspension Bridge have been selected as Otago Landmarks. 

“The Landmarks Whenua Tohunga programme brings to life the stories of Aotearoa’s past and connects New Zealanders and overseas visitors to the people and places that define our nation. 

“The 12 Otago Landmarks sites also provide tourism benefits by giving visitors places to see which are strongly linked by their cultural and heritage value.” 

The first of the two celebration events begins at 10 am at the Arrowtown Chinese Settlement, with an opening address and pou unveiling by the Chinese Consul General, Wang Zhijian and Mayor of Queenstown Lakes District Council, Jim Boult. This will be followed by a free guided public walk led by DOC. 

“At Arrowtown visitors can view both sides of the mid-1800s gold-rush, from historic Buckingham Street where wealthy banks and merchants traded, to the modest lifestyles of the Chinese miners in the huts on the edge of town,” Geoff Owen says. 

The second event, celebrating the Kawarau Suspension Bridge, will be held at The Winehouse, opposite the Bungy carpark. Formalities begin at 2 pm with speeches from AJ Hackett Bungy New Zealand co-founder, Henry van Asch and Darren Rewi of Ngāi Tahu.

At 2:45 pm Henry van Asch will bungy jump from the Kawarau Bridge alongside local MP Hamish Walker and Landmarks Whenua Tohunga social media manager Claudia Babirat who will be dressed in period costume. 

“Two leaps of faith have taken place at the Kawarau Bridge, a daring new bridge design in 1880 to allow safe crossing of this notoriously windy canyon, and becoming the birthplace A. J. Hackett’s bungy tourism venture,” Geoff Owen says. 

Members of the public are welcome to both these events including a guided walk of the Arrowtown Chinese Settlement at 10:30 am. 

Landmarks Whenua Tohunga is a joint initiative of Manatū Taonga the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

For more information visit Landmarks or Facebook.

Background information

The Landmarks Whenua Tohunga programme was successfully piloted in 2016, involving nine sites in Northland. Otago is the first region to be added to the programme as it is rolled out across the country over coming years. 

Landmarks Whenua Tohunga tells the stories of New Zealand’s past and connects them in a tangible way increasing our understanding of our history and heritage. The Otago sites have been chosen because of their significance to the nation, the stories they tell and the visitor experience they offer. 

The programme aims to increase and disperse tourism activity. Since the launch in 2016, there has been a measurable increase in visitor numbers and greater awareness of the Landmark places in Northland.


Nicole Kunzman, DOC Community Ranger, Wakatipu
Phone: +64 3 442 7938
Mobile:  +64 27 536 6871

Sheila Watson, Heritage New Zealand Director Southern Region
Phone: +64 3 363 1881
Mobile: +64 27 4844 088

Back to top