Heritage Strategy

The management of historic heritage requires a systematic approach by local authorities. The substantial majority of heritage places are privately owned and the need to maintain, repair, adapt and develop historic heritage is a constant issue. Also, many heritage places owned by local authorities are substantial and significant public assets. Owners of heritage buildings often face issues relating to commercial viability and earthquake safety.

A heritage strategy is an important method to assist in the management of historic heritage. While there is no statutory requirement to prepare a heritage strategy, it is a useful way to:

    • Establish best practice procedures concerning the identification of historic heritage, including the preparation of statements of significance, GIS mapping and consultation with owners and other connected people;
    • Convey direction about the management of potentially earthquake-prone heritage buildings and navigate risk and building code-related issues relating to the Building Act and the RMA;
    • Provide a structured process for thinking more broadly about heritage on a regional, district (or community) basis. This can help identify heritage aspirations and develop a vision, partnerships, and directions that stretch beyond the statutory requirements;
    • Provide for owners of heritage places and the community (not just experts) to think about historic heritage and what it means to them, so councils (and other players) can be guided in decision-making;
    • Enable a risk-management approach so the range of regulatory and non-regulatory options are considered, including information, economic incentives, advice and rules;
    • Establish a monitoring programme to improve the state of the historic environment information and plan effectiveness information. This will assist in understanding the current condition of heritage places and how well plan provisions are achieving policy and plan objectives and policies.
  • Some guiding points when preparing a strategy are:
    • Consider the scope of the strategy – will it apply to all types of historic heritage in a district or region or a particular aspect, such as buildings, archaeological sites or Māori heritage?
    • Provide explicit processes to work with tangata whenua, including procedures to identify, manage and store sensitive information;
    • Explore developing a collaborative strategy with tangata whenua, Heritage New Zealand, other neighbouring local authorities or at a regional level. The use of an advisory or steering group may be a method to promote a collaborative strategy;
    • Consider what the purpose of the strategy is, why the strategy is being developed and what you hope to gain from the strategy;
    • Adopt a vision and principles that can stand the test of time;
    • Following the vision and principles, examine the range of appropriate implementation methods. The methods should be designed to address the specific risks – demolition by neglect, demolition from development, earthquakes, fire and other natural hazards, inappropriate subdivision and use. These risks are likely to change over time and require constant re-evaluation;
    • While some generic risks may apply to all types of historic heritage, specific places may be confronted by unique and specific risks, such as coastal erosion;
    • Canvas all the options for heritage management and evaluate their suitability. This can provide a useful input to a s32evaluation report. The section has been amended by the Resource Management Amendment Act 2013 to provide greater guidance and specificity about what is required for s32 reporting. For more information refer to the Ministry’s Section 32 - Fact Sheet;
    • Ensure there is political support for, and involvement in, the strategy process;
    • Use a variety of social media and other methods to increase awareness and knowledge of historic heritage within the community prior to consultation;
    • Adopt a robust approach to share information and consult owners of historic heritage early in the process. This should be done prior to general engagement with the community;
    • Aim to be inclusive of all interests. Keep it simple, useable, and updateable, and ensure performance is measurable (it can be a simple measure - e.g. to prepare a heritage places inventory within 2 years).

Māori heritage

The RMA and Heritage NZ Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 provides for the relationship of Māori with their ancestral lands, water, wahi tapu sites and other taonga. The Heritage NZ Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 also defines the term wahi tūpuna. Recognition and protection of Māori heritage is a fundamental principle of historic heritage in New Zealand. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) NZ Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Heritage Value, 2010 states:

The indigenous cultural heritage of tangata whenua relates to whanau, hapū, and iwi groups. It shapes identity and enhances well-being, and it has particular cultural meanings and values for the present, and associations with those who have gone before. Indigenous cultural heritage brings with it responsibilities of guardianship and the practical application and passing on of associated knowledge, traditional skills, and practices.

The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of our nation. Article 2 of the Treaty recognises and guarantees the protection of tino rangatiratanga, and so empowers kaitiakitanga as customary trusteeship to be exercised by tangata whenua. This customary trusteeship is exercised over their taonga, such as sacred and traditional places, built heritage, traditional practices, and other cultural heritage resources. This obligation extends beyond current legal ownership wherever such cultural heritage exists.

Heritage has long been associated with historic buildings associated with early European settlement. This association is expressed in the many lists and schedules of heritage places in which historic buildings are dominant. Historic heritage needs to go beyond these types of buildings and seek to include and protect Māori heritage. This means that councils should consider including Māori heritage in identification and protection processes.

Māori heritage covers the full range of values and types of places – buildings, sites and areas. For example, Māori heritage may include urupā, water springs, pa, gardens, battle grounds, marae, flag poles and pou, wetlands, churches, hunting sites, rivers and mountains.

To build trust and establish certainty, processes to identify and protect historic heritage should be preceded by discussion and agreement between councils and iwi. This will be added by participation agreements such as memorandums of understanding, contracts and forums. Participation agreements should clearly outline the process of identifying and protecting historic heritage as it applies to Māori and the expectations of the parties involved.

The identification of Māori heritage under Māori ownership requires a carefully planned management strategy. There are different types of Māori land, of which often has complex ownership arrangements and potentially a large number of owners. Māori land is defined in the

Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993.

Engagement will often be required with the Trustees and lessees, public notification in major and local newspapers and consultative hui.

Iwi Management Plans are often a key method to identify Māori heritage. Heritage New Zealand has produced

guidance on the development of Iwi Management Plans for heritage places.

Further guidance relating to Māori heritage is available on the QP website: