Tag: oculus newsletter article

“Exposure draft submission highlights heritage” Oculus article by Elizabeth Pishief

The following is the text of an article by Elizabeth Pishief that appeared in Oculus (September 2021).

I was part of a working group of HPA and ICOMOS New Zealand members that prepared a joint submission to the Environment Committee Inquiry on the ‘exposure draft’ of the Natural and Built Environments Bill (NBE Bill) and the associated parliamentary paper.

This bill is intended to replace the Resource Management Act 1991, which no longer adequately protects the natural or cultural environment while allowing for appropriate development.

We collectively believe cultural  heritage in its many forms (eg, archaeological sites, cultural  landscapes, buildings, objects, wāhi tapū, and wāhi tūpuna places) provides an understanding of New Zealand’s development, and the sense of place and connection between people and their environment that contribute to individual and national wellbeing.  We think that replacing ‘historic heritage’ with the  term ‘cultural heritage’  better reflects the  breadth of our current  and evolving heritage  including intangible  heritage such as sacred mountains and recent built heritage like post-war/early modernist buildings. It is crucial Parliament hears how ordinary people and communities value cultural heritage.


“Lack of heritage emphasis disappoints”Oculus Article on The Historic Places Aotearoa Submission on the”Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD)”

The following is the text of an article, that appeared in the September Oculus (2021) authored by Felicity Wong, providing an overview of the HPA Submission. (Felicity Wong is the Historic Places Wellington Chair and is a recent HPA Exec Member.)

HPA made a submission on government's draft “General Policy on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD). The policy will “communicate the long-term vision for [the] housing and urban development system, and how Government will work with others to make it happen.”
It was, therefore, disappointing the policy neither mentioned built heritage nor reflected the value of heritage buildings in the context of urban development. HPA submitted that: Heritage buildings are important for urban wellbeing, and provide an important sense of identity and place. Heritage buildings are critical to maintaining wellbeing and identity, and memory.
In our view, heritage buildings are good for association and connection with towns and cities and in creating liveable places. They layer architectural interest and beauty within our urban fabric for many to enjoy.
HPA recognised the need for an increase in affordable housing supply, and supported the policy direction towards increased government building programmes and density in appropriate places.
We drew the Government’s attention to the role that  repurposing and reusing heritage buildings can play in  increasing housing supply.  


Protected Heritage Buildings Make Up Just 00.25% Of The Total Christchurch Building Stock

Historic Places Canterbury has data that backs strong public arguments for Heritage Retention

The following article appeared in the HPA Oculus September 2019 Newsletter.

Historic Places Canterbury (HPC) has found that only just one quarter of one percent of the total number of Christchurch Buildings have heritage protection.

Historic Places Canterbury using the Christchurch City Council data has found that scheduled Heritage Buildings (under the District Plan) make up a risible and paltry 00.25% of the total number of Christchurch Buildings.

In the Christchurch Central Business District we found the Heritage Buildings make up just 5.5% of the total number of buildings. (This percentage will drop significantly as new buildings are built on the empty sites.)

HPC considers that having such statistics is a great public talking point in any Public Debate about Built Heritage.

Firstly, we can authoritatively refute any claims, made or implied, that there are too many heritage buildings being protected. It would be hard to argue 00.25% is anything but a very small number.

Secondly, we can argue that as we have so few protected Heritage Buildings, authorities and developers should be protecting them as they are quantifiably rare in number. Taking as an example the CBD with 5.5% being Heritage Buildings means that 94% of the Buildings have no protection and can be developed.

Thirdly, we can argue that as the number and percentage is so low and are qualitatively rare, the Christchurch City Council and Heritage New Zealand should be vigorously defending any attempts to demolish protected Built Heritage.

Fourthly, as our Built Heritage is so scarce, the Christchurch City Council (and HNZ) should be making a real effort to add suitable Heritage Buildings to the District Plan for protection HPC respectfully suggests that Historic Places Aotearoa's Membership Organisations conduct a similar exercise.

Such statistics (or raw numbers) can be used to rebut the Developers’ public arguments against protecting a heritage building as it shows there is often a local abundance of unprotected buildings they can focus on and leave the precious few Heritage Buildings alone.

In addition using a specific local statistic provides a strong argument as to why local councils (and Heritage New Zealand) should be working harder to protect and save unequalled local heritage at hearings etc and by increasing the number of buildings being scheduled/listed.

If local statistics were collated, these local percentages provide great arguments for HPA and its Membership Organisations to lobby MPs and Councillors. Heritage Buildings are quantifiably rare treasures so they should have more protection and we should not be complacent in increasing the number which are protected.

It is also worth noting, it appears, based on the Christchurch numbers, that despite being a very small percentage of the total number of Buildings, Listed Heritage has a (huge) disproportionate influence on our Tourism marketing and City/Town/District's marketing identity and branding.

The following are the raw numbers for Christchurch:Christchurch has scheduled 573 Heritage Buildings from a total of 22,3927 Christchurch Buildings in Total (within its TLA boundary) i.e. 0.25%

The Christchurch CBD has 127 Scheduled Heritage Buildings.The Christchurch CBB has in total 2,579 Buildings ie only 5.5% are protected.

James Blackburne President HPA- A Comment ( Oculus September 2019)

James Blackburne President Historic Places Aotearoa

The following Commentary by James Blackburne the HPA President appeared in the HPA Oculus September 2019.

While the announcement by the Prime Minister that NZ history will be a compulsory subject in our schools has been long overdue, it is equally pleasing to see the lobbying by many sectors of the community over a large number of years finally bearing fruit.

At last our children will be taught the amazing history of New Zealand. For many our history is seen as being very young, but it dates back almost 1000 years and has links through Polynesian voyaging back over 5000 years, which pre dates the pyramids of Egypt.

New Zealand’s history is full of amazing stories which link our social history to place and this is important as these links are what creates the reason to protect and preserve our heritage places. Education will in time create a community that has a deeper understanding and appreciation of what makes us and the places around us special.

Equally pleasing was the recent first reading of a bill that will see Rua Kenana pardoned. As one member of parliament stated this was an historic occasion. The pleasing aspect of whilst listening to the parties on both sides of the house debate the Bill, no one voted against the bill. In fact, all members of the house pleaded their support of the bill passing its first reading. Over the years I have had a bit on involvement with the descendants of Rua Kenana and have travelled to Maungapohatu.

It would have to be one of the most spiritual places I have ever been to. In 2002, I was privileged to have been one of the first people to have been allowed to go into Rua’s house after the tapu had been lifted. No one had been allowed in it since he left it in the 1920’s. Certainly, one of the best site visits I have ever had, but the story of Rua’s arrest was certainly a sad day in New Zealand’s history.

The more we can honestly and faithfully tell the stories of our past, the good, the bad and the ugly, the better we will be served as a country. It has the promise of bringing us together with a deeper sense of shared history and understanding and I look forward to hearing my children and my grandchildren being able to tell me things about the places where I live that I did not know.

“Travelling Codes.” Nigel Isaacs: Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington

The following article is taken from the latest HPA Oculus Newsletter (2017-07).

Travelling Codes.

In March 1921, American mining engineer Herbert Hoover became US Secretary of Commerce. One of his early actions was to establish a "Building Code Committee" with a goal of improving the productivity of house construction. In July 1922 the Committee reported its “Recommended Minimum Requirements for Small Dwelling Construction”, a widely distributed, compact booklet.

In New Zealand, also in March 1921, a recent graduate of the University of Auckland was appointed as the first Engineer of Forest Products in the new Forestry Department. In 1923, A.R. (known as Pat) Entrican was set to work reviewing the many building by-laws with a goal of supporting the more efficient use of native timber. He soon set up a national conference to develop a standard national building by-law which in Wellington in June 1924.

As a model for the NZ conference, Entrican used the US publication, modifying it to suit NZ conditions. The NZ Conference recommendations were widely distributed and generally adopted, even before the 1931 Napier earthquake. (more…)

“Assistance for Heritage / Earthquake Prone Buildings in New Zealand” : Peter Dowell – Developer and Investor in Heritage Buildings.

The Following article written by Peter Dowell appears in the latest HPA Oculus Newsletter.

Assistance for Heritage / Earthquake Prone Buildings in New Zealand

Over the last seven years since the Earthquakes on Christchurch (September 2010 & February 2011), Seddon (July 2013) & Kaikoura (November 2016) Heritage NZ, MBIE and local authorities have been working hard to assist building owners to make buildings in our cities more resilient to earthquakes.

In 2013 MBIE began a multi-year, work programme in response to the Royal Commission recommendations. While some work has been completed, other work, in particular research and collaboration, will be sustained and contribute to the development of better standards and guidance over time.

Especially since the Seddon earthquake local authorities have taken broader steps to assist building owners to be pro-active in fast forwarding the strengthening of their buildings to help keep their tenants and to be able to seek bank funding for building works. (more…)