REVISITING OUR HERITAGE
The new Act, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 has replaced the Historic Places Trust Act 1993 and the Historic Places Trust has been renamed Heritage New Zealand. Although there are some significant and wide spread changes in the Act, they have only a small effect on Masterspec sections. Some of the highlights are:
- Heritage New Zealand List to replace the existing register for historic places, historic areas, wahi tapu etc. Territorial authorities must enter the appropriate information from the List and heritage covenants onto the affected LIMs and project information memoranda.
- There are two new categories of heritage sites; National Historic Landmarks and Wahi Tupuna. Inclusion onto the National Historic Landmarks list is the decision of the Minister and needs the consent of the owner.
- Simplified and sped up archaeological consenting processes. Applications to modify or destroy archaeological sites where effects will be minor to be determined within 5 working days. For effects greater than minor the timing is within 20 to 40 working days.
- In case of natural disasters Emergency Archaeological Authorities must determine Emergency applications within three days (5 days for sites of interest to Maori).
- The old Historic Places Trust branch committees will become independent regional NGOs.
Assuming that a site or building is not on any heritage list, the effect on a construction site will most likely come from the discovery of pre-1900 human activity. Such a find means that work must stop immediately, Heritage New Zealand must be contacted and work must not proceed without their authority. There is a difference between the site and the buildings, the Act tends to emphasis the site (items found in or on the ground) and has less to say about the building and its contents. Although there is a little room to move, 42.(3) of the Act allows some work without authority, on a building that is an Archaeological Site or pre-1900, the limits are not defined, so it may need to be confirmed. However, pre-1900 buildings to be totally demolished or removed, may be classified as Archaeological Sites under the Act, and it is an offence under the Act to demolish or remove such a building without the authority of Heritage New Zealand.
Post-1900 items usually do not require Heritage New Zealand authority, unless modified by declaration or designation (in future these should appear in LIMs and project information memoranda). If there is a declaration or listing etc, then approval of Heritage New Zealand may be required.
Procedures under the Act can be complex, costly and time consuming, and there are substantial penalties for non-compliance. In some cases this can have a major effect on the project and the people involved.
Masterspec covers archaeological discovery and antiquities in the section 1220 PROJECT, total demolition in the demolition sections 2110 and 2111, and total removal in 2133 and 2151. It is also mentioned in a number of sections to do with site clearance and excavation. All related Masterspec sections have been updated.
Heritage New Zealand
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014