For owners of earthquake-damaged heritage buildings in
Canterbury, the options for dealing with repairs and/or demolition
are complicated by the Canterbury Earthquake (Historic Places Act)
Order. The Christchurch City Plan may also be relevant.
The Canterbury Earthquake (Historic Places Act) Order 2011
Applications for authorities for all work carried out on sites
or buildings that have been affected by the Canterbury earthquake
that may affect archaeological sites is processed under the Order.
This covers Christchurch City, Selwyn District and Waimakiriri
The Order aims to provide a streamlined and simplified process
so that owners can apply for an authority and receive a decision in
a short timeframe. It appoints Canterbury archaeological officers
who are given the power to grant "emergency" authorities
for building works to be completed on an archaeological site.
Application forms for an emergency authority can be downloaded
How do you know if your building is an archaeological
All pre-1900 buildings are automatically deemed to be
archaeological sites, although it's not that simple. Owners
should keep in mind that:
The Historic Places Trust has the discretion to make certain
post-1900 buildings or sites subject to restrictions imposed by the
The definition of "archaeological site" applies to
any site that "is or may be able through investigation by
archaeological methods to provide evidence relating to the history
of New Zealand." This captures post-1900 buildings of
historical value; and
The Order requires owners to apply for an authority where there
is "reasonable cause to suspect" a site is an
If you suspect a building or site could be an archaeological
site, investigate further as you may otherwise risk breaching the
Order by demolishing it without an authority. The Historic Places
Trust keeps a register, available on their website, which allows
you to search the heritage status of buildings or sites entered on
the register, although this is not a complete record.
Christchurch City Plan
Besides any archaeological status of the site, it may also have
additional heritage status under Part 10 of the Christchurch City
If so, it will be included in the 'List of protected
buildings, objects and places' in Part 10 of the Plan. All
protected items on the list are ranked in terms of their overall
significance, as follows:
Group 1 – International or national significance
Group 2 – National or regional significance
Group 3 – Regional or metropolitan significance
Group 4 – Metropolitan or local significance
Depending on which group is applicable, the restrictions on work
you may do to the building, such as altering, removing or
demolishing it will vary.
An application for resource consent to demolish a protected
building is required under the Plan, regardless of which group the
building is in.
If demolition is not appropriate, repairing the building may be
and Council funding is available to protected buildings listed in
the Plan from the Heritage Incentive Grants scheme. Further, the
Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Building Fund is an appeal with
funding from the Government, territorial authorities, the New
Zealand Historic Places Trust, and donations to assist where
insurance money will not cover the costs of repair.
Please briefly describe the main laws that govern real estate in your jurisdiction.
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