Sustainable Management of Historic Heritage Guidance series

The Sustainable Management of Historic Heritage guidance series aims to assist local authorities, owners of heritage places, iwi and hapu, and other stakeholders in the protection and conservation of historic heritage under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and other related resource management and planning legislation.

Sustainable Heritage Management series: Heritage toolkit

The term 'sustainable management' is adopted to encompass the concept of sustainability or the responsibility to maintain and care for the natural and physical environment.  Historic heritage should be managed in a sustainable manner to meet the needs of present and future generations and to avoid adverse effects on the environment.  Sustainable management may include promoting adaptive uses of heritage places.

This guidance series does not yet cover all the major issues relating to historic heritage.  For example, the series does not include non-regulatory incentives and methods such as education and provision of technical advice and training of Council officers.  Information about non-regulatory incentives is available from the Ministry for the Environment's Quality Planning website.

Heritage New Zealand also provides local authorities with information about the List (previously known as the Register), heritage orders and heritage covenants in the Annual Information folder.  Please contact the Registrar for further information about the Annual Information.

This Guidance series is provided here in soft copy so you can download and print off the information you require. It is not otherwise available in hard copy.   


The guidelines provide non-statutory direction on historic heritage issues and legislation, particularly the RMA, Building Act 2004, and the Overseas Investment Act 2005.  They outline the 'position' of Heritage New Zealand on a particular issue at the time of writing.  A key aspect of the guidelines is best practice or model heritage provisions for RMA regional policy statements, regional plans and district plans.  The guidance highlights the important role of these policy statements and plans in managing historic heritage in New Zealand.

The guidelines are not cast in stone and Heritage New Zealand welcomes feedback and dialogue on them. They will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure the guidance remains up-to-date and relevant. 

1. Regional policy statements (pdf, 383kb)
2. Regional plans (pdf, 595kb)
3. District plans (pdf, 785kb)
4. Resource consents (pdf, 322kb)
5. State of the Environment Reporting - historic heritage (pdf, 322kb)
6. Building Act 2004 (pdf, 496kb)
7. Insurance and Heritage properties (pdf, 310kb)
8. Overseas Investment Act 2005 (pdf, 420kb)
9. Earthquake-prone policies prepared under the Building Act 2004 (pdf, 362kb).

New guides

Incentives for Historic Heritage Tookit (pdf, 3mb)

Iwi Management Plans (pdf, 1.4mb)

Fire Safety and Heritage Places (pdf 1.7mb)

Providing for Physical Access to Heritage Places (pdf, 6mb).

Discussion papers

The discussion papers are starting points for the development of best practice guidance.   These papers recognises that further development and research is required and the issues involved are complex.  With further research and consultation, Heritage New Zealand may be able to shift some of the discussion paper topics to guideline status in the future.  As with the guidelines, Heritage New Zealand welcomes feedback and dialogue on the discussion papers. 

1. Principles and issues (pdf, 643kb)
2. Assessment of effects on the historic environment (pdf, 278kb)
3. Heritage landscape values (pdf, 632kb)
4. Urban design (pdf, 572kb)
5. Crown Pastoral Tenure Review (pdf, 590kb)
6. Heritage at risk: Addressing the issue of demolition by neglect of historic heritage in New Zealand (pdf, 590kb)
7. Wind farms and historic heritage (pdf, 210kb).

Information sheets

The information sheets contain easy-to-access key information for the sustainable management of historic heritage.  The information sheets cover topics of historic heritage principles, heritage identification criteria, RMA regional and district plan heritage schedules, model heritage rules for RMA regional and district plans, and assessing the impacts on historic heritage.  Further information can be obtained from consulting the Sustainable Management of Historic Heritage guidelines and discussion papers. 

1. Principles for assessing appropriate or inappropriate subdivision, use and development on historic heritage values. (pdf, 89kb)
2. Assessment criteria to assist in the identification of historic heritage. (pdf, 95kb)
3. A framework for historic heritage. (pdf, 93kb)
4. Historic heritage schedules in RMA regional and district plans. (pdf, 91kb)
5. Model heritage rules for RMA regional and district plans (historic buildings). (pdf, 94kb)
6. Model heritage rules for RMA regional and district plans (historic sites). (pdf, 93kb)
7. Model heritage rules for RMA regional and district plans (places and areas of significance to Maori). (pdf, 90kb)
8. Model heritage rules for RMA regional and district plans (historic areas) (pdf, 89kb)
9. Preparing a heritage impact assessment (pdf, 99kb)
10. Archaeological site advice notices for RMA plans and consents (pdf, 92kb)
11. Repairs and maintenance of historic heritage (pdf, 111kb)
12. Alterations and additions to historic buildings (pdf, 106kb)
13. Relocation of historic buildings (pdf, 102kb)
14. Partial demolition of historic buildings (pdf, 100kb)
15. Demolition of historic buildings (pdf, 100kb)
16. Assessing impacts on surroundings associated with historic heritage (pdf, 105kb)
17. Assessing impacts on historic areas (101kb)
18. Assessing impacts on places and areas of significance to Maori (pdf, 95kb)
19. Assessing impacts on historic sites, including archaeological sites (pdf, 99kb)
20. Assessing impacts of subdivision on historic heritage (pdf, 96kb)
21. Assessing impacts of advertising signs on historic heritage (pdf, 96kb)
22. Assessing impacts of designations on historic heritage (pdf, 96kb)
23. Model heritage rules for RMA regional coastal plans (pdf, 101kb)
24. Monitoring the state of historic heritage, sample form (pdf,108kb).

Feedback and comments

Heritage New Zealand welcomes any feedback and comment on the Sustainable Management of Historic Heritage guidance series.  Comments may be provided to (attention: Sustainable Heritage Guidance).

Rolling Review of Sustainable Management of Historic Heritage Guidance Series

To ensure this guidance series remains updated and relevant, Heritage New Zealand initiated a rolling review programme.  The rolling review involves the existing guidelines, discussion papers and information sheets and the publication of new guides and information sheets.

Updated and new guides and information sheets will be posted on this website for consultation (within the Currently Consulting On section).  Most documents will remain as drafts for consultation for a three month period.  Following this period, the updated and new guides and information sheets will be finalised and formally incorporated into the guidance series.


The Sustainable Management of Historic Heritage guidance series has been prepared with the contribution of many persons and organisations.  These were published originally by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust Pouhere Taonga, now Heritage New Zealand.

Heritage New Zealand wishes to acknowledge its own staff (and former staff) for providing input and assistance, especially: Aidan Challis, Doug Bray, Megan Patrick, Robin Byron, Rebecca Harfield, Alison Dangerfield, Laura Paytner, Jo Bain, Jo Easterbrook, Dave Margetts, Guy Williams, Dave Robson and Dean Whiting.

Externally, Heritage New Zealand wishes to acknowledge and thank the following:

  • Heritage Victoria (Australia), the NSW Heritage Office (Australia), and English Heritage (United Kingdom) for use and adaptation of various guidance material and information.
  • Victoria University of Wellington, Museum and Heritage Studies Programme (Dr Conal McCarthy, Paulette Wallace, Gareth Phipps, Lore McMaster).
  • Chris Cochran, Conservation Architect, Michael Kelly, Heritage Consultant, and Karen Greig, Consultant Archaeologist (InSitu Heritage Ltd).
  • The Ministry for the Environment (Richard Hills, Greg Vossler and Craig Mallet) for their review and input into guides No.1-3 and discussion paper No.2.
  • The Department of Building and Housing (John Kay, David Hopkins, Iona Cameron and Mike Stannard) for their review and input into guides No. 6 and 9.
  • Overseas Investment Office, Land Information NZ (Annelies McClure) for review and input into Guide No. 8.
  • Department of Historic Preservation, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA (Anita Franchetti).
  • Department of Conservation (Paul Mahoney).
  • Local Government New Zealand (Irene Clarke and Susan Edwards).
  • The Ministry for Culture and Heritage (Peter Richardson and Jim McKenzie).
  • The Property Council of New Zealand (Connal Townsend).
  • Insurance Council of New Zealand (John Lucas).
  • Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Bruce McNab and Julie Ireland).
  • NZ Institute of Landscape Architects, Cultural Heritage Landscape Working Group (particularly for input into Discussion Paper No.3. Contact Brad Coombs).
  • IPENZ National Engineering Heritage Committee (Contact: Shelley Pope).
  • Auckland Regional Council (Ian Lawlor and Robert Brassey)
  • Greater Wellington Regional Council (John Holmes, Tami Woods and Piotr Swierczynski)
  • Environment Bay of Plenty (Sue Mavor)
  • Environment Southland (Ken Swinney and Aaron Leith)
  • Marlborough District Council (Ian Shapcott)
  • New Plymouth District Council (Lauren O'Byrne)
  • Selwyn District Council (Julia Forsyth)
  • Dr Janet Stephenson (University of Otago)

While Heritage New Zealand acknowledges the contribution of other agencies and organisations, the opinions and views expressed in the guidance series are those of Heritage New Zealand only.

© NZ Historic Places Trust 2007

Reproduction, adaptation, or issuing of this document for educational or other non-commercial purposes is authorised without the prior permission of the copyright holder(s).  Reproduction, adaptation or issuing of this publication for resale or other commercial purposes is prohibited without the prior permission of the copyright holder(s).