Find out how we plan to preserve our past.
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.
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 two modernist buildings.
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.
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.
Historic Heritage and the District Plan
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 historic heritage is a part of this. This review is underway and in due course we will release a new draft District Plan. There will be opportunities for the public to engage throughout this process.
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.
A review of Historic Heritage
A team of historic heritage specialists undertook this review. 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.
A draft list of potential buildings, sites and areas has been drawn up and is being used to engage with property owners and key stakeholders about what a listing could mean for their property.
Council staff will consider this feedback before finalising a draft list for protection.
This review is also evaluating the effectiveness of the current District Plan’s policies and rules for protection of historic heritage. Alongside the finalised draft list of buildings, sites and areas, this will form the basis for wider public engagement to ensure we are hearing all points of view.