Historic Places Aotearoa AGM 2018- Speech Given On Behalf Of The Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern

Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern has generously released the notes of the speech, given on her behalf, by Hon Iain Lees-Galloway  to the Historic Places Aotearoa AGM 2018.

It’s a pleasure to be here today on behalf of the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, the Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern, among so many passionate advocates for the heritage sector.
And what better location for discussing historic places than here at Caccia Birch House – a wonderful example of New Zealand’s regional heritage and a building that is steeped in the history of Palmerston North.

Winston Churchill once said “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us”.

I think this perfectly sums up our relationship to our built heritage in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Every historic site tells a story, and when seen together these stories form part of our collective idea about who we are as a nation.

I want to assure you today that this Government is taking heritage seriously.

Just last month, the Prime Minister launched ‘Our Plan’, which sets out the Coalition Government’s long-term priorities and the steps we are taking to build a modern and fairer New Zealand.

One of the three pillars of ‘Our Plan’ is ‘Making New Zealand proud’. A proud New Zealand is one that recognises and celebrates the value and uniqueness of its culture, its languages, its history, and of course, its historic buildings and places.

This idea of making New Zealand proud applies across the cultural and heritage sectors. From quality local broadcast content to historic buildings and sites, these are the things that reflect who we are and tell our stories.

This Government is committed to promoting and protecting our culture in all its forms, and moving forward this will be part of our blueprint for leadership and decision making.

But there are also other ways that we are factoring culture and heritage into our long-term vision for New Zealand.

The Living Standards Framework

The Government is also using the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework to measure our success differently.

When we talk about success we’re taking a broader view than simply looking at people’s incomes or Gross Domestic Product.

The Living Standards Framework incorporates other dimensions of living, focusing on the health of our people, families, communities, and environment.

The Living Standards Framework breaks wellbeing down into four broad areas – social capital, human capital, natural capital and financial capital. Heritage places contribute to all of these areas.

In terms of financial capital, many heritage places in New Zealand contribute significantly to the tourism economy, as well as the reputation and attractiveness of urban areas.

They are also often functional, and many historic buildings have been adapted to meet modern needs for use as residences, offices, and community facilities.

Perhaps less obvious, but just as important, are the ways that heritage places contribute to social capital.

For instance, how they can help foster a sense of cultural identity and belonging, and build connections between people and communities.

A fantastic recent example of this is an exhibition called The Rooms, which is currently showing at The Elms in Tauranga, where artists have created works in response to different rooms of the historic homestead.

The exhibition, which was supported by Creative New Zealand, has had a very positive response from the local community.

This provides communities with an opportunity to reflect on, and connect with, the history of their places and people.

In this sense, heritage buildings can act as vehicles for bringing diverse communities together, and promoting social inclusion, cohesion and empathy.

And of course, heritage places also contribute to human capital as hubs of knowledge, learning, history and scholarship, and by offering employment opportunities in the heritage and conservation sectors.

When viewed from this holistic perspective, it becomes clear that heritage places are an important part of our wellbeing.

The Government acknowledges this as we strive to improve the lives of New Zealanders through the Living Standards Framework.

Supporting New Zealand’s regions

Heritage places are also a large part of what defines and gives character to our regions, and it’s important to invest in regional heritage in order to preserve the distinctive character of regional towns.

The Government is committed to supporting New Zealand’s regions, particularly through the Provincial Growth Fund, which aims to boost regional development projects and enhance economic growth in regional New Zealand through an allocation of three billion dollars over three years.

One example of the Provincial Growth Fund in action is the case of Taranaki Cathedral.

In April, the Government announced it will invest five million dollars in this Category One heritage building through the Provincial Growth Fund, in order to transform it into a nationally significant tourist drawcard.

As well as restoring the building, the development will incorporate professionally designed displays, audio visual guides and immersive multimedia resources to help tell the story of New Zealand’s oldest stone church.

This development will ensure that the Cathedral and its site are preserved for future generations, and it will also bolster Taranaki’s tourism sector, offering locals and visitors a more comprehensive understanding of the site’s history and its role in the evolution of our bi-cultural nation.

Challenges to the sector

Of course, this sector is not without its challenges, and the Government recognises the issues facing some of our smaller towns and cities in protecting their built heritage.

Heritage restoration is a difficult and expensive undertaking, and requires open dialogue between Councils, property owners and Government.

We appreciate the efforts of councils and other groups to engage with the Government and identify potential solutions at a local level, particularly here in the Manawatū-Whanganui district.

It’s also important to make sure heritage rules work for private owners, especially as more than two thirds of our listed heritage places are in private ownership.

It’s good to see that councils are working collaboratively across New Zealand to look at these policies, as they have a huge impact on heritage buildings nationwide.

I’m also pleased to see that a growing number of local councils, including Horowhenua and Whanganui, are establishing funds for conserving or restoring the heritage value of local properties.

I hope that these programmes, and the Government’s Heritage EQUIP fund for earthquake strengthening costs can have a positive impact on preserving our heritage buildings.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge the important role played by advocacy groups such as Historic Places Aotearoa in protecting New Zealand’s heritage at both a local and national level.

Advocacy is an essential part of our heritage system, and the Government is extremely grateful to the individuals and groups, like Historic Places Aotearoa, who volunteer their time to campaign for the protection of New Zealand’s heritage.

Concluding remarks

I think we can all agree that no one wants to live in a place without history, stories, or local colour.

These are the things that make our towns and cities distinctive and attractive places to visit, live and work in, and these qualities are often embodied in our historic places and buildings.

Our heritage also contributes to individual and societal wellbeing in numerous ways, and as I’ve mentioned, the Government is factoring this into how we measure and improve quality of life for New Zealanders.

I commend the work that you all do as strong and vocal advocates for the heritage sector.

I look forward to seeing ways that the Government can continue to work with this sector to ensure our historic places are protected for current and future generations to enjoy and connect with. Thank you.

Building Amendment Bill- Submissions Are Being Accepted: The Close Off Date For Submissions Is 25 October 2018

Building Amendment Bill
Government Bill

Explanatory note

General policy statement

"This Bill amends the Building Act 2004 (the Building Act), and proposes 2 new sets of powers to improve the system for managing buildings after an emergency and to provide for investigating building failures.

Managing buildings after an emergency

This Bill proposes new powers that aim to address risks to people and property from buildings during and after an emergency. The proposed amendments seek to create a system that is clear, has proportionate impacts on personal and property rights, and ensures that heritage values are appropriately recognised. ...

"The Bill introduces into the Building Act an end-to-end process for managing buildings from response to recovery following an emergency.

The amendments in the Bill—

  • provide powers to territorial authorities (and where a state of emergency or transition period is in force, the relevant civil defence emergency management person) to manage buildings during and after an emergency event, including—

    • inspecting and placing notices on buildings:

    • evacuating and restricting entry to buildings:


    • demolishing or carrying out works to buildings that pose a risk of injury or death (including through impacts to critical infrastructure) or a risk of damage or disruption to neighbouring buildings, critical infrastructure, and public thoroughfares:

    • requiring building owners to remove or reduce risks posed by their building, on a case-by-case basis:

  • provide that the Minister for Building and Construction can choose to take direct action and make decisions to manage buildings, when warranted by the scale and impacts of an emergency event: ...


  • provide that the carrying out of works on certain heritage buildings (Category 1 or wāhi tūpuna on the New Zealand Heritage List or buildings on the National Historic Landmarks/Ngā Manawhenua o Aotearoa me ōna Kōrero Tūturu list) that pose a risk of injury or death is a ministerial decision and require consultation with Heritage New Zealand for works on other heritage buildings:

    Building Amendment Bill details legislative progress,  reports, links for submissions-


    Link to the Proposed Bill's Text:




“Ōamaru courthouse to reopen after years of facing closure” RNZ Online News

"Ōamaru courthouse to reopen after years of facing closure" RNZ  News Online.

"The 135-year-old courthouse was closed in December 2011 after being deemed earthquake-prone.

The future of the courthouse looked dire when a government engineering report found strengthening could cost upwards of $4 million. ...

" ... Initially the figure of $4m-6m was going to make it very difficult to retain the court. Under those numbers, it was probably going to be a case of 'Well, we'll just shut it down.' "

But instead of feeling defeated, Mr (Bill) Dean did his own research - employing an engineer to assess the courthouse then asking for a price on the proposed repairs.
The cost was closer to $350,000 - and the assessment found the building was unlikely to collapse in an earthquake and did not need to be closed in the first place.
But Mr Dean said it took several years for the paperwork to be accepted and remedial work to be completed. ...



The New Zealand Heritage Plaque. (Formerly known as the Heritage Blue Plaque.)

The New Zealand Heritage Plaque. (Formerly known as the Heritage Blue Plaque.)

The New Zealand Heritage Plaque. (Formerly known as the Heritage Blue Plaque.)

Are you interested in a New Zealand Heritage Plaque?
The Historic Places Aotearoa Member Organisations are keen to help you with the text, co-ordinate the production etc.
Contact us on the following Email and we’ll give you the contact details of the nearest heritage group: blueplaque@historicplacesaotearoa.org.nz
The New Zealand Heritage Plaque- An Explanation

The New Zealand Heritage Plaques project is a new initiative from Historic Places Mid Canterbury to identify and promote our local built heritage, through the use of a distinctive and bold blue cast aluminium plaque fixed to the facades of our more significant historic buildings.

As well as giving a short history of the building, informing locals and visitors about its particular historical significance, the New Zealand Heritage Plaques aim to increase the prominence of our historic buildings, encouraging increased awareness of our local history and supporting the retention of our existing heritage assets. They also assist in reinforcing the importance and value of these buildings to the local community and help foster a desire to protect and maintain our unique local history and identity.

The success of the project within the Ashburton District has encouraged the group to start promoting the scheme further afield, through Historic Places Aotearoa and its Member Organisations, and eventually take the programme nationwide, creating an instantly recognisable symbol which proudly identifies our nation’s valued built heritage.