The Historic Places Act 1993 makes it unlawful for any person to destroy, damage or modify the whole or any part of an archaeological site without the prior authority of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
This is the case regardless of whether the land on which the site is located is designated, or the activity is permitted under the District or Regional Plan or a resource or building consent has been granted, the Act also provides for substantial penalties for unauthorised destruction, damage or modification.
An archaeological site is defined in the Historic Places Act 1993 as any place associated with pre-1900 human activity, including shipwrecks, where there is evidence relating to the history of New Zealand that can be investigated using archaeological methods.
If you wish to do any work that may affect an archaeological site you must obtain an authority from the NZHPT before you begin. This work could include, amongst other things:
• earthworks for forestry tracks, planting and harvesting
• earthworks for residential developments, including building platforms, topsoil stripping and accessways
• earthworks for stock races or farm tracks, fencing or landscaping
• trenching for telephone, power, and waste disposal
• road construction
• building demolition or removal.
Any site which requires an Authority issued by the NZ Historic Places Trust needs to be assessed by an archaeologist. This involves historical research regarding the activity on the site before 1900, an analysis of the likely archaeological evidence remaining, proposals and policies for recording that evidence as well as completion of the HPT Archaeological Authority Application. Jackie Gillies + Associates are able to prepare such applications where they impinge on built heritage and standing buildings.
The HPT might subsequently stipulate that archaeological work may need to take place before features are damaged, disturbed or destroyed. The complexity of investigation is stipulated by the HPT and runs from simple photographic recording of features, through to excavation of features that are to be destroyed. Once an HPT Authoirty has been granted, Jackie Gillies + Associates are able to undertake this work.