Resource Management Act: RMA Link: Topics: Details

The RMAlink project aims to make community participation in all Resource Management Act processes more straightforward and less time-consuming. More effective participation from those with a concern for the environment will contribute towards improving environmental outcomes nationwide.

Topics: Details

Hosted by:

Wellington Community Network
Subject Heritage

Text Historic Places, Buildings, Structures, Precincts

The NZ Historic Places Trust, Department of Conservation, and territorial local authorities (or unitary authorities) are all involved in the management of New Zealands historic heritage.

The NZ Historic Places Trust has a statutory responsibility to promote the identification, protection, preservation and conservation of the historical and cultural heritage of New Zealand. Its functions include;

  • Management of a national register of historic places
  • Control of authorities to modify archaeological sites
  • Negotiation of covenants for the protection of historic places
  • Providing advice to local authorities concerning heritage listed in district plans, and to owners of registered historic places
  • Advocacy -promoting heritage values in plan, and policy statement reviews, and legislative amendments.
  • Its Maori Heritage Council has responsibility for protection of waahi tapu, and historic sites and areas of interest to Maori.
Territorial authorities provide for the management of heritage areas and sites through plan policies and rules. With the new definition of historic heritage added to Section 2 in 2003, the term heritage applies to sites, buildings, places or areas, and surroundings associated with the natural and physical resources (e.g. landscapes, and natural features such as wetlands). A district plan list of heritage sites and buildings may include many features not included in the Historic Places Trusts register.

Plan rules may be introduced to preserve whole streetscapes (heritage precincts), and landscapes. Rules can be supported by non-regulatory or financial incentives such as rates relief, or the provision of advice and assistance for maintenance and restoration. Design guides may be produced for heritage precincts Nelson City has prepared a design guide for its Residential Heritage Precinct.

Sections 74, 75 and 85 of the RMA contain references to heritage protection in district plans. Historic heritage must also be considered by regional councils when preparing plans and policy statements. (Refer sections 61, 62, 66, 67).

The Department of Conservation has responsibility for managing sites on land within the conservation estate, and also in the process of determining national policy on heritage protection.

Plan Provisions
Check the policies and rules in your proposed district plan. Are all registered sites/buildings listed in the plan? What alterations or modifications to the exterior of listed heritage buildings could be carried out as a permitted activity? Is demolition or removal a discretionary activity, or is a lesser degree of protection provided ?

What resources are being allocated to heritage protection measures (non-regulatory) in your councils annual plan? And in the LTCCP?



NZ Historic Places Trust (2004) Heritage Management Guidelines for Resource Management Practitioners
NZ Historic Places Trust, Wellington. 76p. ISBN 0 908577 48 6
Guidelines on sustainable management of historic heritage, incorporates 2003 RMA amendment. Includes information and best practice examples on district plan provisions relating to heritage and archaeological sites. Also non-regulatory tools for heritage management.
Available as download on Trust website, Also available as a CD.

Harris, R. (ed) 2004 Handbook of Environmental Law
Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of NZ Inc.
Chapter 21 Protecting Historic Heritage. p493-510
A summary of New Zealands heritage protection measures. Introduces heritage issues, the RMA and the Historic Places Act, the role of government, local government and the Historic Places Trust. List of relevant court cases.

Memon P. A. and Perkins, H (eds) (2000) Environmental Planning and Management in New Zealand
Dunmore Press, Palmerston North.
Chapter 12, 'Heritage and Planning'.

Ministry of Maori Development (1996) Sites of Significance: A step-by-step guide to protecting sites of cultural, spiritual and historical significance to Maori.
Ministry of Maori Development (Te Puni Kokiri) Wellington. 42p. ISBN 0 478 091141

Hughes, P. (1998) Our Heritage, Our Future Rights, Responsibilities and Resources
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Wellington.

Allen, H. (1998) Protecting Historic Places in New Zealand
Department of Anthropology, University of Auckland 73p. ISBN 0958368600
This publication looks at the broad issues of protecting historic places, with special emphasis on protection of sites culturally significant to Maori.

Woodward, J. (1996) A Review of Local Authority Heritage Protection Measures.
NZ Historic Places Trust, Wellington. 138p ISBN 090857729X
Covers the approach by local government to cultural heritage protection (does not deal with natural heritage).

Nahkies, P. (1998) The Economics of Heritage Buildings A Contribution to the Historic Heritage Management Review
NZ Historic Places Trust, Wellington.
Considers how to encourage the voluntary protection and good management of heritage buildings by private owners. Why financial incentives are needed, and ways they could be implemented.

Trapeznik, A.(ed) (2000) Common Ground?: Heritage and Public Places in New Zealand
University of Otago Press, Dunedin. 169p ISBN 1877133914
Collection of papers on a range of topics, including cultural landscapes, archaeological sites, and assessing significance in order to present a case for protection.

Rickard, V. A. (1999) Looking After Your Communitys Historic Heritage: An Information Guide for local Authority Councillors.
NZ Historic Places Trust, Wellington. 45p ISBN 0908577389

Journal Articles

Bartlett S. (2005) The Development of Heritage Protection Legislation in New Zealand
Resource Management Bulletin, Sept 2005, p65-68.
Overview of heritage protection under RMA, Historic Places Act 1993 and Conservation Act 1987. Considers social, economic, scientific, natural and cultural aspects, and the tension between private property rights and community expectations.

Web-Based Resources

Resources: Site of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Access to the NZ Register of Historic Sites, information on the work of HPTs Maori Heritage Council, archaeological sites, heritage covenants and heritage orders, heritage guidelines, heritage landscapes. Trust publications, including their journal Heritage New Zealand. Contact details for local branch committees and regional offices.

Resources: Visit the Cultural Heritage section under Key Issues. Notes on the protection of waahi tapu and archaeological sites.


Regular Publications