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.

Stone Store roof restoration
Restoring the roof on the Stone Store, Kerikeri.  Image: Heritage New Zealandexpand/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).

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 four times a year, in March, June, September 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

The Heritage Earthquake Upgrade Incentive Programme (Heritage EQUIP) is open for applications, closing on 10 February 2017. Administered by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, the fund provides support to private owners of nationally significant and earthquake-prone heritage buildings to seismically strengthen their buildings.

Heritage EQUIP grants contribute up to 50% of the seismic strengthening costs to works that:

  • raise the earthquake resistant capacity of the building to above 34% NBS, or
  • raise the earthquake resistant capacity of part of a 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:

  • Earthquake-prone status: The building must be determined as an earthquake-prone building by a territorial authority under the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016.
  • Heritage Value: The building must be on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero, as EITHER a Category 1 historic place, OR a Category 2 historic place in one of the areas considered to be medium or high risk as defined under the Building (Earthquake-prone buildings) Amendment Act 2016.
  • Private ownership: The building must be privately owned although persons and agencies eligible for funding from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board including not-for-profit groups and organisations are not eligible for EQUIP funding.

How to apply

For information on what can be funded and how to apply, visit the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website  Applications close on 10 February 2017.

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.

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.  

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

By September 2015, all funds had been fully allocated. Since then, further funds have become available and a further contestable round of applications for funding has closed recently. This is likely to be the final round of funding.

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.