Heritage New Zealand

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga (initially the National Historic Places Trust and then, from 1963 to 2014, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust) (Māori: Pouhere Taonga) is a Crown entity with a membership of around 20,000 people that advocates for the protection of ancestral sites and heritage buildings in New Zealand. It was set up through the Historic Places Act 1954 with a mission to "...promote the identification, protection, preservation and conservation of the historical and cultural heritage of New Zealand" and is an autonomous Crown entity. Its current enabling legislation is the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014.


Charles Bathurst, 1st Viscount Bledisloe gifted the site where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed to the nation in 1932. The subsequent administration through the Waitangi Trust is sometimes seen as the beginning of formal heritage protection in New Zealand. Public discussion about heritage protection occurred in 1940 in conjunction with the centenary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. The purchase of Pompallier House in 1943 by the government further raised the issue of how historic buildings should be cared for.

Duncan Rae, the MP representing the Parnell electorate, suggested that a heritage organisation should be set up and put in a private member's bill. Whilst this did not proceed, the First National Government of New Zealand (of which he was a member) took responsibility of the issue and the Historic Places Act 1954 was passed, which established the National Historic Places Trust as a non-governmental organisation (NGO). The trust was governed by a 12-member board plus a chairman, and they first met in 1955. The National Historic Places Trust came under the responsibility of the Minister of Internal Affairs. The composition of the board was defined in the legislation and the board was appointed on the recommendation of the minister. The name of the organisation was changed to New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1963.

Early work undertaken by the trust included the recording of Māori rock paintings, as some sites were to be submerged, e.g. through the Waipapa Dam and Benmore Dam. In 1961, the trust bought Te Waimate mission, the second-oldest building in New Zealand. In Akaroa, the trust enabled the Akaroa County Council via a significant grant to buy the Eteveneaux cottage, which serves as a link to Akaroa's French past.

In 2004, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust became an autonomous crown entity. On 14 April 2014, the organisation's name changed to Heritage New Zealand. Later that year, the enabling legislation—Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014—was passed. There were changes in governance introduced by the new legislation, e.g. the branch committees were dispensed with. The legislation, which came into effect on 20 May 2014, also finished the transition from an NGO to a crown entity.


It is governed by a board, appointed by the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and currently chaired by Hon. Marian Hobbs, and a Māori Heritage Council, currently chaired by Sir John Clarke. Past chairs include Dame Anne Salmond. The head office is in Antrim House, Wellington, while regional and area offices are in Kerikeri, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.


It publishes the quarterly magazine Heritage New Zealand.


Buildings owned by Heritage New Zealand include the Kerikeri Mission House, the Stone Store, and the Te Waimate Mission house.

New Zealand Heritage List / Rārangi Kōrero

The New Zealand Heritage List / Rārangi Kōrero (formerly known as the Register) is divided into five main areas:

  • Historic Places
  • Historic Areas
  • Wahi Tapu (Māori sacred sites)
  • Wahi Tapu Areas
  • Wāhi Tūpuna – places important to Māori for ancestral significance and associated cultural and traditional values

The historic places are organised in two categories:

  • Category I – "...places of 'special or outstanding historical or cultural heritage significance or value'"
  • Category II – "...places of 'historical or cultural heritage significance or value'"

As of 2014, the register contains over 5,600 entries. The Canterbury earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011 resulted in damage to a number of historic buildings in Christchurch. Post-earthquake redevelopment has caused a significant loss of heritage buildings in Christchurch.

Māori Heritage Council

The Māori Heritage Council (MHC) sits within Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga and was established by the Historic Places Act 1993. The functions of the Council include:

  • the protection and registration of wahi tapu and wahi tapu areas
  • assisting the Trust to develop and reflect a bicultural view in the exercise of its powers and functions
  • providing assistance to whānau, hapū and iwi in the preservation and management of their heritage resources
  • consideration of recommendations in relation to archaeological sites
  • advocacy of the interests of the Trust and Council so far as they relate to Māori heritage at any public or Māori forum.

As of 2014 Sir John Clarke is the chair of the MHC.


Equivalent function outside New Zealand

See also

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article Heritage New Zealand, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.