Built Heritage Incentive Fund

History may repeat itself, but many of our heritage buildings need a little support if they’re to have any future, and Wellington City Council’s senior heritage advisor Vanessa Tanner is the woman to do it.

Senior Heritage Advisor Vanessa Tanner content

The Built Heritage Incentive Fund keeps our heritage alive with financial support and expert advice.


In laymen’s terms heritage means anything that adds to the understanding of our history and culture that is passed down through generations, so it can be places with historic, technological, scientific, archaeological, cultural, or architectural values.

Places like the protected reserve of Otari-Wilton Bush or Miramar Peninsula would contain the full set of these values, but Vanessa’s primary focus is on built heritage, and it’s something she feels passionate about – and knows a lot about!

“Heritage is about where we've come from, who we are, what our identity is, and our connection to a place - so that's worth preserving," says Vanessa. “Wellington's heritage buildings also contribute towards our pride of place, and give us a unique quality from a visitor's perspective too."

The Council’s heritage team advise on and promote Wellington’s heritage, not just buildings and streets but what we can learn from what’s under us too. For example, the whole of Wellington’s central area is classified as an archaeological site as there was pre-1900 human activity here. Wellington also contains a number of known sites of significance to Maori like Rangitatau, Pipitea, Poito, and Te Aro Pa.

The team also provides a Built Heritage Incentive Fund with the current priority on seismic strengthening projects: “We’re here to give advice and support in a sensitive and contentious area, but we have to find a balance between catering for property owners’ needs and the value and significance of the building.

“We also want to get the message across that we’re here to find solutions to problems, and that applicants can do their projects in phases so they can apply numerous times to maximise the fund,” adds Vanessa.

Heritage sites are determined by a public consultation process these days, and although some building owners aren’t always happy about the status of their property, they usually appreciate the benefits over the costs.

The fund helps with conserving, restoring, protecting and caring for Wellington's heritage-listed buildings and objects. Our current focus is on earthquake strengthening. Find out if your project is eligible for funding here.