Advice and guidance

Advice on how to look after Wellington's heritage items.

Historic hotel in Newtown.
Historic hotel in Newtown

Heritage advisors

Council heritage advisors can help with any heritage-related matters, including advice on built and cultural heritage, Māori places of significance and archaeological matters.

If you would like ideas for working with heritage items, we can:

  • provide information on the heritage significance of an item
  • advise on repair, possible redevelopment, restoration and future conservation
  • help with documentation
  • give input on resource consent applications for changes to heritage items
  • advise on whether you're entitled to funding for a resource consent fee.

Contact the Heritage Team on 04 499 4444 or email

Council arborists

For advice and guidance on trees, see Heritage and notable trees.

Using a conservation plan to manage an historic site

A conservation plan is a document that sets out what is significant about a site and what policies are appropriate to enable that significance to be retained in the site's future use and development.

Ideally, conservation plans should be prepared for all listed heritage sites.

Conservation plans can be simple statements of significance and conservation policies, or they can be large and complex documents. The scale of the plan will depend on the nature of the heritage item. 

To learn how to prepare a conservation plan to guide and appropriately manage change to a heritage item see: James Semple Kerr's The conservation Plan - Australia ICOMOS.

Repair, maintain or make changes to a heritage item

Resource consents

Your work may need a resource consent.

When a resource consent is not required

Works that fit the District Plan heritage chapter definition of 'repair and maintenance' are permitted and can be done without a resource consent. Generally, this includes:

  • repair with like-for-like materials
  • repair that recreates the original appearance
  • interior alterations (provided they are not 'structural strengthening or new floor levels that are visible from the exterior of the building').

To better understand the definition of repair and maintenance for heritage items, contact a heritage advisor on 04 499 4444, or check Volume 1 – General Provisions of the District Plan.

When you will need a resource consent

Work on heritage items that don't fit the definition of repair and maintenance need a resource consent under the Resource Management Act 1991.

The Heritage team has input on resource consent applications for changes to heritage items. If you are considering developing a heritage property, contact a heritage advisor at an early stage to discuss options.

Reimbursing heritage resource consent fees

You may be entitled to a resource consent fee reimbursement if your resource consent was for heritage matters only, and the Heritage team supported your proposal.

Fee reimbursements for heritage items

Building consents

Your work may need a building consent. Find out about the process, and what to include with your building consent application.

Heritage shop fronts

We've put together this guide to help owners of Wellington’s historic shops to recognise, maintain and enhance the architectural heritage of their buildings.

Well-cared for character buildings improve the visual appeal of the central city and suburban shopping centres, and provide a compelling reason for people to visit an area.

The guide will help you to:

  • find out more about architectural styles and heritage characteristics
  • learn how to maintain, repair and upgrade historic shop fronts in a manner appropriate to their character and age.

While the guide has been prepared specifically for shop fronts on listed heritage buildings and in heritage areas, its principles can be applied to other shop fronts elsewhere in the city and its surroundings.


For information about funding available from the Council for heritage items, as well as suggestions for other sources of funding, see: Heritage Resilience and Regeneration Fund

Other organisations that offer support and guidance for heritage items

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

Many of Wellington's heritage sites appear on the New Zealand Heritage List / Rārangi Kōrero 


If a site is on this list, Heritage New Zealand may be able to advise you on how to maintain, preserve and develop it.

See Heritage New Zealand's Sustainable Management of Historic Heritage Guidance series

This series aims to help local authorities, owners of heritage sites, iwi and hapū to protect and conserve historic heritage items under the Resource Management Act 1991 and other related resource management and planning legislation.

Heritage New Zealand also provides conservation advice to property owners.


Being on the New Zealand Heritage List does not necessarily mean statutory protection, but Heritage New Zealand can advocate for the protection of listed items. Statutory protection of heritage sites comes through the policies and rules in the District Plan.

For more information, contact Heritage New Zealand Central Regional Office.

Work on archaeological sites

Archaeological sites are protected under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014.

You should contact Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga:

  • for information on investigating archaeological sites
  • if a development involves disturbance of a site occupied before 1900 (eg, the whole of inner city Wellington), including Māori and early European sites.

You may need an Archaeological Authority before work is carried out - for more details check out Archaeology - Heritage New Zealand.

ICOMOS New Zealand

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a non-governmental organisation of heritage professionals engaged in the conservation of places of cultural heritage value and dedicated to the conservation of historic monuments and sites.

ICOMOS NZ has produced the ICOMOS New Zealand Charter, a set of guidelines on cultural heritage conservation. The Charter is widely used in the New Zealand heritage sector and is a recognised benchmark for conservation standards and best practice. Its guiding principles are used by central government ministries and departments, local bodies in district plans and heritage management, and heritage practitioners.

The Council endorses the ICOMOS New Zealand Charter and recommends using it as a guide to conserving and developing heritage places.

New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA)

For information and advice about archaeological sites in New Zealand, visit: ArchSite - NZAA