Funding for Heritage Protection

There are various agencies including Heritage New Zealand which offer financial assistance for those who wish to protect and conserve heritage places.

Larnach Castle entranceway
The magnificent entrance to Larnach Castle. Image: Larnach Castle Ltdexpand/collapse

National Heritage Preservation Incentive Fund

The Government's 2003 Budget announced the creation of a national heritage preservation incentive fund. Heritage New Zealand administers this Fund.

The purpose of the fund is to provide financial incentives to encourage the conservation of nationally significant heritage places in private ownership, as opposed to those in the ownership of the public sector and agencies eligible for funding from the Lottery Grants Board. Priority is given to heritage places of national significance where conservation work is planned and could be improved through extra funding.

The annual appropriation approved by Parliament for this fund is $563,000 (GST inclusive).


Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Buildings Trust 

A special appeal was launched to help fund the repair, restoration and strengthening of character and heritage buildings damaged during the Christchurch earthquake. All donations to the Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Buildings Fund were matched dollar-for-dollar by the government up to $10 million.  

The Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Buildings Trust is managed by Heritage New Zealand.  

Funding is targeted to bridge the gap between insurance cover, and the actual cost of repairs and associated works including conservation works, structural upgrading and Building Code compliance works. The Trustees will give preference to buildings where the preservation of which will make a significant contribution to the historic identity and visual character of a place and will, in turn, confer maximum public benefit.

Owners of earthquake-damaged heritage buildings located within the Canterbury region are eligible to apply to this Trust for assistance with repairs for the purposes of retention and restoration. 

Further funds  became available and a contestable round of applications for funding has closed. There is more information about the types of projects the Fund will support in the Fund Policy document (pdf, 357kb) - please read this before you consider applying.  All owners of qualifying heritage buildings are eligible to apply to the general fund for assistance.  To apply, please complete the application form (Word, 112kb) and send it to

Conservation Architect
Heritage New Zealand
PO Box 4403
Christchurch Mail Centre 8140

Phone + 64 3 363 1889.

Lottery Grants Board

Community organisations can apply to the Lottery Environment and Heritage Committee for funding grants for projects which 'promote, protect and conserve New Zealand's natural, physical and cultural heritage'.  Such projects can include historical publications, museums, whare taonga and art galleries as well as the conservation of historic buildings, structures, rolling stock, archaeological sites and wahi tapu sites.  There is also a separate fund specifically for the conservation of marae buildings and taonga.

The Committee meets twice a year in June and November to consider applications, which must be received three months prior to a meeting.  Heritage New Zealand staff are available to assist applicants with advice and/or professional endorsement for suitable projects. Contact your local Heritage New Zealand office for more details.


Heritage EQUIP

Heritage EQUIP supports owners of earthquake-prone heritage buildings to seismically strengthen their buildings. The programme includes a “how-to” website along with grant funding. Grants can cover up to 50% of the seismic strengthening costs of works that raise the earthquake resistant capacity of the building to above 34% NBS.

Eligibility for Heritage EQUIP funding

There must be evidence that the building is earthquake-prone, has high heritage values, and is in private ownership:

How to apply

For information on what can be funded and how to apply, visit the website www.heritageequip.govt.nz.  The next closing date for funding applications is 19 November 2018.


Territorial authority grants

Heritage grants are the most common non-regulatory incentive offered in New Zealand, and most of these are discretionary grants which have flexible guidelines, and a competitive selection process.  Usually, an assessment committee determines which projects will be funded.

Heritage grants are provided by a large number of territorial authorities. Most funds are relatively small and individual grant amounts are often between $5,000 to $10,000.  Some of the largest funds are the Auckland Council Built Heritage Protection Fund, Wellington City Council’s Built Heritage Incentive Fund and the Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Buildings Fund.

The Christchurch City Council’s Heritage Incentive Grants Fund provides financial assistance to owners of heritage items listed in the City Plan and Banks Peninsula District Plan.

Owners can also apply to the Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Buildings Fund Trust to assist in funding insurance shortfalls for earthquake-related repairs to listed and non-listed heritage and character buildings damaged in the Canterbury Earthquakes.

Some local authorities also provide performance grants for specific types of work. Check your local authority's website for information about what they offer and their terms and conditions.


Unreinforced masonry buildings

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has targeted funding support where owners who are required (under section 124 of the Building Act 2005) to secure facades and/or parapets of street-facing unreinforced masonry buildings can apply for a contribution to the costs.  Find out more on the website.

Incentives for Historic Heritage

Heritage New Zealand has prepared a toolkit that provides an overview of the range of regulatory and non-regulatory incentives including methods such as conservation lots, waivers of zone provisions, transferable development rights, grants and rates relief.  The toolkit (pdf, 3mb) outlines some of the benefits and costs of these incentives and examples of their use in New Zealand.