Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act - What's New?

The Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 replaced the Historic Places Act 1993 on 20 May 2014. The new legislation reforms the governance of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in line with its status as a Crown entity and streamlines many procedures under the Act. For example, the new archaeological provisions are intended to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and improve alignment with the Resource Management Act 1991. 

The key changes are summarised below. 

Note that matters commenced under the Historic Places Act 1993 will be completed under that Act as if the new act had not come into force. 

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Changes to governance

  • New Zealand Historic Places Trust continues as a Crown entity renamed as Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.
  • All eight members of the Heritage New Zealand Board are now appointed by the appropriate Minister. 
  • The Chief Executive of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is appointed as special adviser to the Board to facilitate the flow of information on government policy issues. The special adviser is not a member of the Board and does not have voting rights.
  • The Māori Heritage Council is retained in its current size and form (eight members, four of which are also Board members).
  • Branch Committees are disestablished (many have already transitioned to regional heritage organisations) allowing community based advocacy groups to campaign freely for the protection of heritage.
  • Heritage New Zealand continues to be supported by its members.
  • Heritage New Zealand must prepare national policy statements on the administration of the provisions relating to archaeology, role of statutory advocacy, the New Zealand Heritage List, National Historic Landmarks List, and management of properties.

Changes to general provisions and principles

  • The Treaty of Waitangi clause is amended to reflect the provisions in the Act that would give effect to the Treaty of Waitangi in line with current legislative practice.
  • The new Act widens the range of parties Heritage New Zealand must work collaboratively with to include tangata whenua and interested parties including central Government agencies.
  • The Act ensures that the interests of property owners are recognised when Heritage New Zealand performs functions under the Act.

Changes to archaeological provisions

  • There are now four types of archaeological authorities: General (including minor effects), Exploratory, Scientific, and Emergency authorities.
  • Timeframes for processing general authorities have been reduced from 3 months to between 20 and 40 working days depending on the type of application.
  • Where a recorded archaeological site is to be modified and the effects of the activity on the site will be minor, no archaeological assessment need be submitted with the authority application.
  • An application to conduct a scientific investigation of a site of interest to Māori requires the consent of the appropriate iwi or hapū.
  • No archaeological authority is required for work on a pre-1900 building unless it is being demolished.
  • Emergency authorities can be applied for following a declaration of a state of emergency with reduced information requirements and processing times.
  • In the case of sites of interest to Māori, the archaeologist approved to undertake archaeological work under an authority must have skills and competencies relating to recognising and respecting Māori values and have access to appropriate cultural support.
  • Applications for all types of archaeological authorities are able to be submitted without an owner’s consent, but that work under an authority may not commence until consent is given.
  • An authority now stays with the land and is still valid if ownership of the land changes (in the same way a resource consent does).

Changes to the Register of historic places and a new Historic Landmarks List

  • The Register of Historic Places continues and is renamed as the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero.
  • The purpose of the New Zealand Heritage List is clarified in that it provides information about heritage places.
  • The criteria for entry into the List remain the same except for, when assigning Category 1 to a historic place - Criteria (k) is clarified by changing to 'the extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural area'.
  • To more fully recognise the range of Māori heritage the New Zealand Heritage List contains a new 'wāhi tupuna' classification recognising the ancestral significance of places.
  • Applications seeking to enter a property into the New Zealand Heritage List that lack sufficient merit can be rejected.
  • A new National Historic Landmarks List/Ngā Manawhenua o Aotearoa ne ona Kōrero Tūturu is created which will recognise our most important places of outstanding national heritage value to assist in setting national priorities for heritage conservation.

Need a copy of the Act?

You will find the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 on the Legislation Online website.

Further information about the reasons for the changes can be found here on the Legislation Online website.