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Heritage Character Areas

Our heritage character areas bring history to life, allowing locals and visitors to delve deeply into Napier's past.

Read the full technical report Download this discussion document

As land became available for development – particularly through the uplift created as a result of the 1931 earthquake – Napier’s differing architectural styles and patterns emerged. Some of these we know well – the art deco style, for instance – while others are less obvious.

Sometimes, whole streets or entire suburbs display a consistent architectural style and development pattern that is ‘of its time’, and it is these elements that give an area its character, sense of place, and connection to the past. 

Explore the story map 

BackgroundGIS Maps Property

  • The Resource Management Act stipulates that the protection of historic heritage is a matter of national importance and that Councils must identify and manage historic heritage.
  • Napier’s current District Plan already protects a number of heritage character areas, including the Marewa Art Deco Character Zone, Te Awa Bungalow Character Zone, Marewa State Housing Character Zone, Hardinge Road Character Area, Battery Road Character Area, Coronation Street Character Area and Iron Pot Character Area. The provisions in the District Plan to control development within these heritage character areas vary, and there has been mixed success in protecting heritage character.
  • Council also identifies heritage character advocacy areas. These have no restrictions on development, but owners are encouraged to retain elements of character themselves.
  • It is important that we review all heritage character areas from time to time, and consider any new areas for inclusion.

Moving Forward

Council has reviewed all existing heritage character areas and the ways in which we offer protection. As a result of the review, we have:

  • Rationalised the existing heritage character areas, with two combining into one (Battery Road and Coronation Street Character Precincts), others expanding (Marewa Art Deco and Te Awa Bungalow Character Precincts), and one reducing in size (Marewa State Housing Character Precinct);
  • Upgraded an advocacy area to a heritage character area (Railway Housing);
  • Removed all other advocacy areas;
  • Proposed the addition of an entirely new area – the Napier South Heritage Character Precinct;
  • Improved provisions to better protect the elements that contribute to heritage character, while allowing development that does not detract from it.
Our People

Character is a cohesive concentration of similar natural and built characteristics that give an area its sense of identity, usually when viewed from the street or in a public place. It considers:

  • Section size and configuration, as well as density
  • Street design (width, layout, and trees)
  • Architectural form of houses (age, design and materials)
  • Position of houses and garages on the section
  • Land use

The District Plan has identified a number of heritage character areas for over 20 years, but there has been varying success for protecting each character area. The current review of the District Plan provides an opportunity to revisit the identification of areas for protection, the extent of the areas and the provisions that apply to them.

Council worked with a local architect experienced in assessing heritage character, who evaluated the contribution each property makes to the character of its existing character area. The architect also assessed parts of Napier South, and recommended it as a good additional candidate for protection.

We then analysed the results of the heritage assessment, drawing character area boundaries to reflect where the greatest and most consistent concentration of the various character areas were. This resulted in some rationalisation of the existing character areas in the current District Plan.

Heritage character areas are tangible reminders of our past, and provide a sense of place. Studies show that heritage character areas also drive a price premium for properties, as more and more people seek older homes within established neighbourhoods and close to the city.

For those people who own properties within existing heritage character areas such as the Marewa Art Deco Character Zone, Marewa State Housing Character Zone, and Te Awa Bungalow Character Zone, little will change.

Provisions will differ depending on which character area your property is in, but the regulations could include controls on:

  • Building demolition and/or relocation
  • Exterior alterations to residential units
  • Placement of garages, carports and other buildings in front of the residential unit
  • Front fence height
  • Lot size
  • Building coverage
  • Building setbacks from boundaries
  • New residential units

We’re working with property owners, heritage groups and other stakeholders to make sure the District Plan controls on heritage character areas achieve the right balance between protecting what we love about our heritage character areas and enabling continued use of them.

We welcome suggestions as to how heritage character should be managed through the District Plan.

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