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3:30PM 02 Jun 2023
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A wāhi taonga identifies areas, places or sites that are significant to Māori. An archaeological site identifies physical evidence of pre-1900 human activity. It may be visible at or above the ground surface or lie buried beneath it.
Māori have a long and important history in New Plymouth District. We have many sites that are located along the coast, rivers and estuaries. Examples include oven stones, shells, ditches, banks, pits, terraces, remains of cultivation areas, artefacts, burials and sites of past battles or historic events. It is possible for a site to be a wāhi taonga site and an archaeological site.
Read more about the history of our district.
Over 700 sites are included in the District Plan in Appendix 26. You can check if there is a site on or in close proximity to your property by referring to the planning maps.
Sites are identified with a triangle. Some triangles are displayed with a broken line because they are silent files. This is where the location is accurate to the property only because it is a particularly important site for iwi/hapu.
We are currently undertaking a review of sites in the district to ensure they are accurately located and, where possible, to identify site extents. Once an extent can be verified it is shown on the District Planning maps.
If a site is listed in the District Plan this means that resource consent may be required for:
This means you may require a resource consent to undertake the particular activities listed above. It does not mean development cannot occur. The resource consent process allows the Council to look at any proposed activities and ensure they recognise the significant values of the site.
It is possible that a resource consent may never be required because many properties are already highly developed, i.e. often a house and garage already exist so there is no need to build new ones or if they are being replaced on the same footprint you will have existing use rights.
If a site is identified on your property it still remains private property and access to the site is controlled by you.
Resource consent applications are made to, and decided on, by the Council.
In most cases you will be required to consult with iwi/hapu as part of your application. We can provide advice on which iwi/hapu might be affected by, or be interested in, your proposal and can help facilitate consultation.
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga will also need to be consulted for any application involving a site that is also registered on the Heritage New Zealand List.
In most cases, consultation will help in the smooth processing of an application. Time and effort spent in early stages to identify any potential issues can mean avoiding lengthy delays as well as costly hearings and appeals.
To ensure ongoing protection, the Council’s Built, Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection Fund may provide partial funding for the maintenance and protection of sites listed in the District Plan. Examples of what the fund may contribute towards include fencing around a site or the provision of information signs.
Under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 it is unlawful to destroy, damage or modify an archaeological site (regardless of whether the site is identified in the District Plan or not) without obtaining an archaeological authority from Heritage New Zealand before you start work. An archaeological authority is required in addition to any resource consents required by the Council.
If you discover a previously unknown archaeological site (for example, when you are conducting earthworks) you must stop any work that could affect it and contact Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga for advice on how to proceed.
The Police will also need to be notified if human remains are revealed, and if any artefacts are found they must be handed over to the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
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Page last updated: 02:12PM Fri 22 October 2021