Cultural and historic heritage

A traditional villa style house with a white picket fence.

Find out how we plan to preserve our past.

Hutt City Council is required by Central Government and Greater Wellington Regional Council policies to identify and protect historic heritage.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) requires councils to protect historic heritage as a “matter of national importance”.

The Greater Wellington Regional Policy Statement, derived from the RMA, also requires the identification and protection of historic heritage. It sets out specific criteria for evaluating buildings, sites and areas to ensure they are supported against adverse uses, subdivision or development.

All councils are required to review their District Plans every 10 years and listings of historic heritage is part of this. This review is underway and towards the end of 2023 we will release a new draft District Plan. Potentially affected property owners are being contacted about their property and when the draft plan is released, the wider public will also be invited to have their say.

How the District Plan currently protects Historic Heritage

The district plan lists each property, building, site or area, and has specific policies and rules that define how they will be protected. These include restrictions on demolition or relocation of historic heritage buildings and resource consent requirements for modifications. However, minor alterations, repairs, and redecoration, or internal works are permitted. There are about 100 buildings in Lower Hutt identified and individually listed as historic heritage, as well as three historic heritage areas. There are indications from heritage experts and local community groups that a number of buildings, sites and areas in Lower Hutt with notable historic heritage values are missing from the current District Plan.

At the same time, increasing development pressure and government requirements to enable more intensive housing create the risk of losing more historic heritage if it is not protected. The historic heritage review for the District Plan aims to remedy this.

Cultural Heritage

History is important to people’s sense of identity and belonging. Personal and shared history is tied to the buildings and places which survive from our past. By identifying and preserving them we provide people an opportunity to connect, understand and appreciate the history and culture of Lower Hutt. This is particularly important as our city evolves and grows.

Heritage buildings

Historic Heritage buildings contribute to the distinctive character of the city and help tell the story of Lower Hutt throughout its development. Examples range from late colonial dwellings through to post-World War II modernist buildings.

Heritage areas

Historic Heritage areas are clusters of historic buildings that, when considered together, have special character and heritage values worthy of preserving for present and future generations. Examples include the Jackson Street and Patrick Street heritage areas.

Sites of cultural significance to Māori

For Mana Whenua, sites and places associated with their history and ancestry hold great cultural importance as well. These include wāhi tapu (sacred places), such as Te Puni Urupā, Pito One Pā, Waiwhetu Pā and Owhiti Urupā. All are historically important both locally and nationally, as well as having great cultural and personal connections to mana whenua.

Archaeological sites

Archaeology is the discovery, recovery and interpretation of surviving evidence of past human activity. The Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 requires that all archaeological sites, whether recorded or unrecorded, are protected.

A review of Historic Heritage

As part of the review of the District Plan, the Council has engaged a team of historic heritage specialists to review the heritage buildings, sites and areas that are identified in the District Plan. Their investigation used documents, photographs, maps and site visits to research and to identify heritage buildings, sites and areas within the city, based on the criteria set out in Policy 21 of the Greater Wellington Regional Policy Statement.

The report from this review, including the specific assessments of heritage buildings, sites and areas is available below.

Council staff are continuing to engage with property owners about the assessment of their property and what listing their property in the District Plan could mean for them.

Any feedback received from property owners will be considered as part of the review of the District Plan, including which buildings, sites and areas will be identified in the Plan and any associated policies and rules to be included in the District Plan.

For more information

Taonga Tuku Iho - Hutt City Council Heritage Policy

Frequently asked questions

Historic heritage refers to the places, buildings and structures that people value for their historical, physical, and cultural significance.

The Resource Management Act (RMA) defines historic heritage as:

Those natural and physical resources that contribute to an understanding and appreciation of New Zealand’s history and cultures, deriving from any of the following qualities:

  • archaeological
  • architectural
  • cultural
  • historic
  • scientific
  • technological, and


  • historic sites, structures, places, and areas
  • archaeological sites
  • sites of significance or sacred to Māori, including wāhi tapu
  • surroundings associated with the natural and physical resources

Therefore, heritage places can be many kinds of buildings, public and private, commercial, industrial, or residential, or even places where no physical structures may be visible.

Heritage places are associated with Lower Hutt’s history and are places that provide a connection, understanding or appreciation of the history and culture in Lower Hutt.

Councils across the country have policies and rules in their district plans that help protect heritage buildings and sites from inappropriate development. Lower Hutt’s current District Plan places restrictions on demolition of historic heritage buildings and requires resource consent for some modifications. However, minor alterations, repairs, and redecoration are permitted without requiring resource consent.

All councils are required by the Resource Management Act to review their District Plan at least every 10 years. As part of this review, Central Government and Greater Wellington Regional Council policies require us to identify and protect historic heritage.

The Resource Management Act lists “the protection of historic heritage from inappropriate subdivision, use and development” as a matter of national importance.

The Greater Wellington Regional Policy Statement requires us to identify places, sites and areas with significant historic heritage values and to protect these from inappropriate subdivision, use, and development.

A review by heritage consultants indicates that there may be a number of sites and buildings in Lower Hutt with notable historic heritage values that have not been listed in the current District Plan. This limited listing of historic heritage may have resulted in the loss of historic buildings, such as the 1883 Oddfellows Hall in Petone, which was demolished in 2017.

At the same time, increasing development pressure and government requirements to enable more intensive housing create the risk of losing more historic heritage if it is not protected.

If your property is being considered for inclusion, Council would have already contacted you in September 2021.

Engagement with property owners and the wider community about which sites the new plan should include is important to ensure all views are considered, while also ensuring Council meets its obligations to follow regional and national heritage policies.

As part of this public engagement and review of the plan, it may be decided that consent should be sought for certain activities that result in major changes to a property identified as having historic heritage.  This could mean you may need consent to undertake activities like demolition, external modifications, additions, alterations or relocation. In recognition of the additional costs that may be incurred by owners of historic heritage, Council has a $1.5 million fund over 10 years to help owners meet the costs of conserving these taonga. See further below for details. You are unlikely to require resource consent to carry out all the usual repairs and maintenance that you would on any other property. This would include things such as repairs using the same materials, general maintenance, painting your house and interior modifications or alterations such as a new bathroom or kitchen or removing internal walls.

No final decisions on these measures are to be made until we have held wider engagement towards the end of 2023 when the draft district plan is released. Potentially affected property owners are invited to get in touch with questions and feedback at any time in this process – call 04 570 7426 or email

Unless your property is already listed in the current District Plan, there are no immediate changes. We are continuing to engage with property owners about how we protect heritage appropriately. When a draft District Plan is put out in late 2023, this will extend to the wider community so everyone has the opportunity to have their say.

Council is also currently processing a plan change as required by the government to enable denser and higher housing across our city. The hearing for this plan change will occur in April 2023, when the independent hearing panel will decide whether they agree with Council that restricting building heights in heritage areas is necessary to retain the unique history and culture of Lower Hutt. Engagement on this plan change has closed, but updates can be found at

We have a $1.5 million fund available from 2021-2031 to support owners of heritage sites and buildings to maintain these treasures.

The fund can be used for:

  • specialist advice including heritage, conservation, architectural, and structural
  • conservation plans
  • building and resource consent fees
  • emergency building work
  • seismic strengthening work
  • conservation and restoration building work

More information about the Built Heritage Incentive Fund can be found on our website or contact us at

Hutt City Council received legal advice from DLA Piper in  January 2023.  You can read that advice here.

The Regional Policy Statement (RPS) for the Wellington Region sets out criteria for identifying historic heritage. According to Policy 21 of the RPS, district plans must identify places, sites, and areas with significant historic heritage values under one or more of the following criteria:

  • Historic Values: these relate to the history of a place and how it demonstrates important historical themes, events, people, or experiences
  • Physical Values: these values relate to the physical evidence present
  • Social Values: these values relate to the meanings that a place has for a particular community or communities
  • Tangata Whenua Values: the place is sacred or important to Māori for spiritual, cultural or historical reasons
  • Surroundings: the setting or context of the place contributes to an appreciation and understanding of its character, history and/or development
  • Rarity: the place is unique or rare within the district or region
  • Representativeness: the place is a good example of its type or era.

A team of heritage specialists from WSP New Zealand was commissioned to carry out an assessment to identify historic heritage values in Lower Hutt, based on the criteria above. Their initial research has now been verified through fieldwork and site visits.

Tangata whenua values (those relating to the active protection of resources of importance to Māori)are an important component of the historic heritage of Lower Hutt. The initial research carried out by WSP New Zealand has not included a full assessment of these values due to a lack of the specific expertise required. A separate assessment of these will be carried out by mana whenua (Māori with ancestral/territorial rights and responsibilities over a particular place) before the draft District Plan is released in late 2023.

An individual listing refers to single building or item that may hold significant historic heritage values. A historic heritage area is a group of buildings or items that when considered together may hold significant historic heritage values.

In some cases, a property may be included in a historic heritage area and also be identified as having significant heritage values on its own. Other properties may be located in an area but have no significance as an individual building or item. This mean restrictions around demolition, external modifications, additions, alterations, and relocation may not apply.

Both heritage areas and individual buildings or items are assessed using the Regional Policy Statement Policy 21 criteria referred to above.

Values are affected by a variety of factors so it’s not possible to advise on whether a heritage listing will have a positive, negative or neutral effect on a specific property’s value.

Historic heritage has environmental, social and cultural benefits – in other words, values that are well beyond the economic realm. It is extremely difficult to quantify these values in economic terms.

We encourage you to contact us with any questions, and to discuss the potential historic heritage values identified on your property.

We will be releasing a new draft District Plan towards the end of 2023. This is the blueprint for making sure our city functions well and protects the things that make it special. We will be engaging with communities at that time and seeking feedback on how the draft plan can be improved.

Measures to protect areas and buildings of historic heritage will be part of that, just as they are in the current District Plan. We will be engaging with the public on what those measures should be, and we encourage you to have your say in this process.

Contact details