Historic heritage features on school sites

How to recognise and manage a historic heritage feature on your school property.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Boards
  • Project Managers

You may have features of historic heritage importance at your school. Boards need to know how to recognise these and the best way to look after them. Our guidelines can help you.

Identifying your historic heritage

Historic heritage features at your school could include:

  • historic buildings
  • archaeological sites
  • wāhi tapu, urupā and other places of significance to Māori
  • trees and landscapes that have historical or cultural associations
  • places where significant events happened
  • cemeteries and burial places.

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

Historic heritage interpretation – NZ Legislation website(external link)

The Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 defines an archaeological site as “any place in New Zealand, including any building or structure (or part of a building or structure), that (i) was associated with human activity that occurred before 1900 … (i) provides or may provide through investigation by archaeological methods, evidence relating to the history of New Zealand.”

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act – NZ Legislation website(external link)

Managing your historic heritage at your school

Historic heritage features and archaeological sites are protected and managed under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 and may require approvals to be obtained if any school property projects effect these features. 

Our historic heritage management guidelines can help you identify, manage and look after historic heritage features at your school.

Historic heritage management guidelines [DOC, 330 KB]

The guidelines include all the Government’s requirements for looking after historic heritage.

Using the guidelines

Under these guidelines, you must:

  • include any historic heritage features in your 10 Year Property Plan
  • let your project manager know if there are historic buildings or other features on or close to your school grounds
  • deal appropriately with any places that have special traditional significance to Māori as described in the guidelines
  • get specialist advice and obtain any necessary approvals before doing any work on a heritage or archaeological site and, when necessary, use a specialist to do the work.

10 Year Property Plan

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