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.

Heritage Management guidelines

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 Manager Heritage Listing 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. 

Resource consents (pdf, 322kb)
State of the Environment Reporting - historic heritage (pdf, 322kb)
Building Act 2004 (pdf, 496kb)
Insurance and Heritage properties (pdf, 310kb)
Overseas Investment Act 2005 (pdf, 420kb)
Earthquake-prone policies prepared under the Building Act 2004 (pdf, 362kb).

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. 

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

Principles for assessing appropriate or inappropriate subdivision, use and development on historic heritage values. (pdf, 89kb)
Assessment criteria to assist in the identification of historic heritage. (pdf, 95kb)
A framework for historic heritage. (pdf, 93kb)
Historic heritage schedules in RMA regional and district plans. (pdf, 91kb)
Model heritage rules for RMA regional and district plans (historic buildings). (pdf, 94kb)
Model heritage rules for RMA regional and district plans (historic sites). (pdf, 93kb)
Model heritage rules for RMA regional and district plans (places and areas of significance to Maori). (pdf, 90kb)
Model heritage rules for RMA regional and district plans (historic areas) (pdf, 89kb)
Preparing a heritage impact assessment (pdf, 99kb)
Archaeological site advice notices for RMA plans and consents (pdf, 92kb)
Repairs and maintenance of historic heritage (pdf, 111kb)
Alterations and additions to historic buildings (pdf, 106kb)
Relocation of historic buildings (pdf, 102kb)
Partial demolition of historic buildings (pdf, 100kb)
Demolition of historic buildings (pdf, 100kb)
Assessing impacts on surroundings associated with historic heritage (pdf, 105kb)
Assessing impacts on historic areas (101kb)
Assessing impacts on places and areas of significance to Maori (pdf, 95kb)
Assessing impacts on historic sites, including archaeological sites (pdf, 99kb)
Assessing impacts of subdivision on historic heritage (pdf, 96kb)
Assessing impacts of advertising signs on historic heritage (pdf, 96kb)
Assessing impacts of designations on historic heritage (pdf, 96kb)
Model heritage rules for RMA regional coastal plans (pdf, 101kb)
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.