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Historic Heritage Items

Protecting and managing Napier’s significant heritage items, including buildings, infrastructure, monuments, statues or other landmarks leaves a lasting legacy for generations to come.

Request the full technical report  Download this discussion document  

Napier is rich with heritage, from renowned art deco architecture to beautiful Victorian homes, remnants of early settlement, to sites of significance to Māori. Even relatively modern structures can be considered heritage if the community wishes to see them preserved for the future. Our heritage contributes to our identity and sense of place, and is a tangible link to our past. 

There is already great work being done by landowners and interest groups to preserve our heritage and share it with others. Although the current District Plan identifies and protects some heritage, its emphasis on art deco has meant other heritage is not as well represented. The Draft District Plan has identified a more representative range of heritage and refined Council’s approach to ensure our heritage is preserved for future generations.


  • The Resource Management Act identifies the protection of historic heritage as a matter of national importance and requires Council’s appropriately manage historic heritage.
  • The current District Plan protects some heritage, but heritage that is not art deco has not been well represented.

Moving Forward

  • Napier City Council has reviewed the current historic heritage list, and found a further 50 items and 10 groups for inclusion in the historic heritage schedule.
  • This assessment has identified which elements of the item require protection – for buildings, this could be just the exterior, but in some cases will also include the interior.
  • Rules for historic heritage generally require resource consent for additions and alterations so that key heritage features are not lost. We’re suggesting that District Plan provisions remain similar to what currently exists, with the addition of a paint colour control on buildings in the city centre. This is because one building painted in an unsympathetic manner may adversely impact on the wider streetscape.
  • We’re are also investigating a range of options to reduce the financial cost to the building or landowner of protecting historic heritage
Our People
Heritage Image

Heritage items are typically buildings, or items built by people, but can also include natural items such as rocks. Heritage contributes to an understanding and appreciation of New Zealand’s history and cultures.

The current District Plan identifies 198 heritage items.

However, it was important that for the next District Plan, we consider heritage items that had previously not been included. Council engaged both a local heritage expert and a Wellington-based conservation architect to scope the city, visit and assess each possible heritage item, and provide a recommendation on which items should be protected as historic heritage.

We did significant research on each item to assess heritage values. For buildings, this was primarily an assessment of the exterior, although the interior of some buildings has been assessed with owner permission. 

Our heritage provides us with a connection to the past, as well as a sense of place and what makes us unique. Here in Napier, our heritage is recognised worldwide. Heritage attracts many thousands of visitors to Napier every year, and is the backbone of the country’s largest celebration of heritage, the Art Deco Festival. Protection through the District Plan ensures heritage items are not altered in a way that would negatively affect their heritage values.

If you own a building or item that is already listed as heritage within the District Plan, there is no significant change. We would however, like to introduce a provision that requires greater assessment for the demolition or relocation off-site of a heritage item. This is to clearly signal that these activities should only occur in exceptional circumstances.

For those with newly identified heritage items, there may be constraints applied in terms of how your building can be redeveloped (alterations, demolitions etc). If you have something of this nature planned, you’ll likely need to apply for a resource consent so that Council can ensure heritage features are not destroyed or lost.

It’s a fine balance. Continued use of buildings ensures their survival, so our District Plan provisions have therefore been crafted in a way that provides clarity for owners while allowing planners to assess the appropriateness and impact of proposed changes on heritage values.

Heritage New Zealand is a government agency that identifies, classifies, and advocates for heritage at a national level. This work is undertaken independently of Councils. It is the District Plan that sets out the regulations for that item at a local level. In reviewing a District Plan, Council must have regard to any heritage item listed on Heritage New Zealand’s schedule.

Please let us know if you believe the information in either of the two reports provided on this webpage in relation to your property is inaccurate, or indeed if there is information that you need to add.

Napier City Council

Council contributes to the Robert McGregor Heritage Fund programme, managed in partnership with the Art Deco Trust for projects such as façade repainting and minor restoration. Additionally, Napier City Council’s Signage Grant helps with costs associated with the design and installation of appropriate signage within Napier heritage precinct.

Heritage New Zealand

Heritage New Zealand offers funding through their National Heritage Preservation Incentive Fund 

Ministry of Culture and Heritage

The Ministry of Culture and Heritage provide funding for earthquake strengthening through their Heritage EQUIP Fund 

We’re working with property owners, heritage groups and mana whenua to identify heritage, and create a planning framework that allows people to be able to undertake reasonable maintenance, repair and alterations to their buildings or item while protecting heritage values.

Our Draft District Plan, due out end of May 2021, will contain a chapter on heritage. We’ll be taking your feedback from this consultation into account when formulating it.

We welcome your comments on specific heritage items being suggested for protection, or on the planning framework to manage these assets.

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