Under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act, Ōtuataua Stonefields is now recognised as a place of special or outstanding heritage significance on New Zealand’s national list of cultural and historic heritage.
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga received an unprecedented number of submissions from the public – over 1500 in total.
"here was overwhelming support to recognise the Ōtuataua Stonefields as a Category 1 historic place," says Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Chief Executive Andrew Coleman.
"A range of opinions were expressed regarding the extension of the boundaries of the listed land – both for and against. Generally, though, the feedback in the submissions reflected strong awareness of the outstanding heritage significance of this place and the need to recognise these values accordingly.
"Interest in the submission period was global. As well as the majority coming from owners, tangata whenua, organisations and a wide variety of individuals from throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, we received more than 100 submissions from New Zealanders living in Australia. Many identified their iwi affiliations or through other connections to Aotearoa New Zealand. There was even one submission from London."
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga undertook further research of the Ōtuataua Stonefields listing following requests from members of the public. On the basis of that work it was proposed that the listing be changed from Category 2 to Category 1, and the boundary of the listed land extended.
"This review has now been confirmed by the Board of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and the Māori Heritage Council in line with processes under our Act," says Mr Coleman.
"The level of quality and the depth of research our staff carried out in the listing review report has been supported by the majority of submissions."
The listing review under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act allowed for assessment under a wider range of criteria than was used for the 1991 original listing assessment under previous legislation. The revised assessment included consideration of spiritual, cultural and traditional significance as well as historical, archaeological and other values – all of which added to the depth of knowledge and the significance of the area.
Under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act, the purpose of listing is to inform the public about historic places, historic areas, wāhi tūpuna, wāhi tapu and wāhi tapu areas, notify owners about the significance of their heritage place and be a source of information about heritage places for the purposes of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).
Protection for these places comes under the RMA through heritage places being scheduled on council district plans. The review of the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero listing will not alter the status of the Special Housing Area or any existing resource consents. Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga had no legal mandate to be involved in discussions around the plan change that enabled land to be earmarked as a Special Housing Area; nor did it have a statutory role at the resource consent stage of the process for the residential development proposal.
tel: 027 683 9065
NB: Chief Executive Andrew Coleman is available for further media enquiries from 12.30pm on 27 February.