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Our History - How We All Play a Part in its Protection

By Kerryn Penn, Planner, Baseline Group, | May 05, 2023

New Zealand may not have towering cathedrals or ancient ruins, but that doesn't mean our history is any less valuable. From the stories of our indigenous peoples to the remnants of early European settlement, our cultural and natural heritage is a precious part of our identity. These treasures not only remind us of our past but also help shape our future. As our country continues to grow and change, it's more important than ever to protect and preserve these treasures for future generations.

Heritage protection is not just the responsibility of professionals such as archaeologists and historians, but it's also a shared responsibility of landowners and everyday people who care about our shared history. By understanding the legal obligations and requirements that apply to heritage protection, landowners can play a crucial role in preserving our cultural and natural heritage.

It's essential to undertake comprehensive due diligence before purchasing a property with heritage values to ensure that you know what legal obligations apply. This includes purchasing a Land Information Memorandum from Council, which would provide you with the recorded information, including any planning overlays. However, it's important to note that not all heritage items have been formally recorded or identified, and unrecorded heritage, including cultural heritage and archaeological sites, may be subject to other legislation and processes.

For those who purchase a property with identified heritage values, they must be made aware of the additional requirements that apply. For example, if the property contains a historic dwelling, you'll need to comply with relevant legislation and District Plan requirements. This can be a complicated process, and it's often beneficial to engage a development specialist such as a planner who has experience with heritage protection and understands both the legislative requirements and direction from central government as well as what you may be required to comply with in regard to the District Plan.

While the process of redeveloping or maintaining a property with heritage values can be expensive and challenging, the benefits outweigh the costs. Heritage plays an essential role in our social fabric, contributing to our collective history and providing a sense of identity and connection to the past. Moreover, preserving our heritage allows us to share our stories with future generations and ensure that they too can appreciate and value our cultural and natural legacy.

Protecting and preserving our heritage is a responsibility that we all share, and it's vital that we work together to ensure that our cultural and natural treasures are safeguarded for the future. Whether you're a landowner or just someone who cares about our shared history, it's up to us to take action to protect and preserve the heritage that makes New Zealand such a unique and special place.

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