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Boundary shift protects historic site

17 October 2008


Boundary shift protects historic site

An important Maori archaeological site in Wairarapa will be protected following negotiations between iwi, developer and New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

This site, which includes terraces and pits, has been at the centre of debate about the position of a boundary fence on a coastal subdivision in Awhea, near Tora. Resource consent had approved the legal position of the fence along a ridge line which divided the site.

Following consultation with NZHPT archaeologists, local iwi Ngati Kahungunu and Ngati Rangitaane and the developers it was agreed the fence line be moved to respect and preserve the site.

The developer, Martinborough Coastal Developments, and Queen Elizabeth II National Trust established an Open Space Covenant that now includes these features. The covenant protects the archaeological, cultural and historical significance of the land.

Ann Neill, NZHPT’s General Manager, central region, said while discussions between the interested parties had taken some time to conclude, all were determined to ensure the heritage site was protected.

Now this had been achieved it deserved to be acknowledged, Mrs Neill said.

“There was a lot at stake for all the parties involved. For iwi the site was culturally and historically important. The developers, who were keen to act in good faith, also acknowledged that the site needed to be protected.”

NZHPT’s role was more as facilitator in ensuring heritage protection was carried through.

“It’s pleasing that in the end the main goal was achieved and a valuable heritage site has been preserved,” Mrs Neill said.

“We may not have gone down a straight path, but we all knew what benefits there would be when we got there. We are delighted at the final outcome achieved by iwi and the developer.”




NZHPT is New Zealand’s lead heritage agency and, on behalf of New Zealanders, identifies, protects and preserves historic places. One aspect of this is working closely with local authorities and property owners to explore options for reusing historic places in place of demolishing them.

Registering historic places

Registration is the inclusion on the Register of a place or area that considered part of New Zealand’s historical and cultural heritage. Places may be included on the register if they possess aesthetic, archaeological, architectural, cultural, historic, scientific, social, spiritual, technological or traditional qualities. Under the Historic Places Act, places with “special or outstanding historical or cultural heritage significance or value” may be accorded the highest ranking of Category I status.

Unfortunately, the registration process provides no protection to Category I and II historic places. Protection comes about when local authorities take the lead in protecting their local historic places by listing them in their district plans.

Reducing costs associated with district plan protection

Potential cost obligations for heritage owners if historic places are included in the District Plan can and have been addressed in New Zealand and overseas through market-based incentives such as:
• incentive funds
• rates and consent relief or waivers
• planning mechanisms such as spot zoning.

There are also many successful examples of viable reuse of heritage buildings within their original settings.

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