“Our heritage, our taonga defines us. It is who we are, where we have come from and it guides what we will become. ” Cr Andrew Turner Christchurch Deputy Mayor (Christchurch City Council Draft Heritage Strategy 2019-2029)

Councillor Andrew Turner (image source: Christchurch City Council)

The following text appeared  the The Christchurch City Council Draft Heritage Strategy 2019-2029.
Councillor Andrew Turner has generously granted us permission to reproduce it here.

Our heritage, our taonga

Our heritage, our taonga defines us. It is who we are, where we have come from and it guides what we will become. It contributes to our own personal sense of belonging and identity and anchors us to our communities and our city. Heritage connects us: to this place, to each other, to the past and to those who will follow us.

Our heritage is precious and valuable. It has social, cultural, educational, recreational and commercial benefits. It contributes to our cultural wellbeing and brings visitors to the district. We are guardians of our taonga, charged with caring for these treasures and passing them on to our children.

The devastating environmental, social and cultural impact of the Canterbury earthquakes has changed the district forever. They are a part of our story. We now have an opportunity to look to the future of our heritage and to treasure and celebrate the heritage buildings and places we still have left. This strategy provides an opportunity to celebrate our heritage in a much broader, more inclusive and more meaningful way. We have a chance to work together to celebrate the taonga tuku iho (heritage) of our six papatipu rūnanga and understand what this place means to them. It also provides an opportunity to hear from Pasifika and other cultures and communities about how they have contributed to the story that is Christchurch and Banks Peninsula, and to build on the work done by previous generations and the knowledge and legacy they have built. It also lets us celebrate the local distinctiveness which gives our communities their identity, and remember all that has been lost through memories which we can share and weave together to bind our stories and places and connect us.

This strategy has been developed in partnership with Ngāi Tahu and through extensive engagement with our communities. It affirms our city’s desire to understand, celebrate and protect its heritage. We have a responsibility to future generations to safeguard our rich and diverse taonga. We can only do this if we work together in a spirit of partnership, collaboration and engagement to understand and appreciate what our heritage is, and why it is so important.

Andrew Turner
Deputy Mayor of Christchurch
Banks Peninsula Ward Councillor

Tohu Whenua “Name change better reflects programme meaning” (Heritage New Zeland Renames Landmarks Whenua Tohunga)




6 November2018

Name change better reflects programme meaning

 Tohu Whenua is the new name for a successful programme identifying and celebrating the significant historic and cultural places of Aotearoa.

“Tohu Whenua better reflects the programme’s increasingly national focus and meaning, replacing the original Landmarks Whenua Tohunga pilot name,” says Programme Manager Denise Stephens.

“Tohu Whenua acknowledges memories of the land, marking places made significant by our forebears and telling their stories.

“The initial pilot programme in Northland launched in late 2016 shows there is considerable pride taken by the selected sites, and this has been repeated in the second pilot programme launched in Otago in December 2017.

“Tohu Whenua is a better fit now that the programme has increased certainty as a nationwide marker of our heritage and history.

“We needed a name that was more appropriate than the original meaning of tohunga which can translate to one skilled in signs and marks.

“Now’s the right time to make the name change as the programme gathers momentum and we increase the promotion and appreciation of the Tohu Whenua.

“New Zealanders and international tourists are identifying and visiting these places, which is fantastic not only for the place, but also for the regional economy,” Denise Stephens says.

The name change coincides with the South Island’s West Coast selection as the third Tohu Whenua region, with a formal launch of chosen sites timed for early December 2018. A site selection process is being worked through.

“The West Coast is rich in history and heritage.  Early Māori sites, industrial sites reflecting the gold and coal mining activities, and other special buildings and places have made the selection process challenging, but enjoyable,” says Denise Stephens.

The programme, established in 2015, is delivered in partnership by Department of Conservation, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. These agencies were joined by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment this year.

Ends (more…)

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. (more…)

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.

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: