Protecting Auckland's heritage

Our historic places connect our past with our present. They help form individual and collective identities and contribute to our sense of place.

There are a number of ways we can work together to protect and conserve these treasures so we can enjoy them today and in the future.

Defining heritage

The Resource Management Act 1991 defines historic heritage as "natural and physical resources that contribute to an understanding and appreciation of New Zealand's history and cultures."

What makes a place significant is often subjective and based on personal experiences and opinions. This is what makes the assessment of our heritage a comprehensive and potentially costly process.

Some examples of historic heritage include:

  • archaeological sites associated with either Māori or post-European settlement or activity
  • places of significance to Māori, including wāhi tapu
  • burial grounds, historic cemeteries, memorials or monuments
  • historic buildings, structures or objects
  • heritage plantings (ie. trees), gardens and parks
  • maritime heritage including historic jetties, sea walls, balustrades and other coastal structures
  • intangible places associated with past events or activities.

You can experience Auckland's heritage, by visiting our featured heritage sites, using our heritage walk maps, or taking part in the yearly Heritage Festival.

Our heritage projects

We play a role in the protection and conservation of our cultural heritage. Heritage legislation helps us to promote the conservation and protection of historic heritage.

Below are some of the initiatives we have put in place to support these goals.

Heritage Advisory Panel

In October 2011, we established a Heritage Advisory Panel to ensure we are taking a collaborative approach in the decisions we make about heritage. The panel includes heritage experts, owners of heritage buildings and communities.

This panel meets regularly and advises us on how we should identify, manage, protecte, conserve, appreciate and celebrate our historic heritage.

To find out about previous and upcoming meetings of the Heritage Advisory Panel, see Meetings and agendas.

Historic Heritage Plan

A Historic Heritage Plan is currently being compiled in conjunction with key stakeholders.

This plan will identify the priorities and provide a strategy and set of actions to enable delivery of heritage targets in the Auckland Plan. Local board engagement took place in March and April 2014 and a draft plan has been completed which will be published in November 2014.

Recent projects

Stoney Homestead. Image source: Malcolm Stoney.
Stoney Homestead. Source: Malcolm Stoney

We are currently investing in a number of projects which involve the restoration of heritage assets, including:

  • Lopdell House - This $20 million project will create a high quality arts and cultural venue servicing west Auckland, leveraging off the heritage character and location of Lopdell House.
  • Stoney Homestead - A $1.5 million project to refurbish one of the oldest surviving early farmhouses in the Rodney district.
  • Shed 10 - we have invested $14.6 million into the refurbishment of Shed 10 into a public events and cruise facility.
  • Guys Homestead - This late 19th century homestead suffered a devastating fire in 2012 that destroyed about half the building. Although demolition was an option, the challenge of adapting the homestead to a new use was undertaken by JP Singh. Several Auckland Council departments assisted in making this a successful project, including the Built Heritage Implementation team. The revitalised homestead opened in May as an early learning centre.
  • St James Theatre - Auckland's iconic 1928 St James Theatre has begun a process of restoration as part of a successful application to construct a large multi-storey apartment complex on the adjacent cinema sites. The restored lobby, now containing a food bar, is open to the public while decorative paintwork restoration is completed there, and a limited level of entertainment events can take place in the yet-to-be-restored auditorium.

Recent projects that involved a strong heritage element include the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki and the Tepid Baths.

If you want to participate in protecting and preserving Auckland's historic heritage, find out how you and your community can get involved with heritage.

For information on the work we do to protect Auckland's natural heritage, see Biodiversity in Auckland.

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