Heritage conservation

Heritage provides continuity in a constantly changing society and environment, affirming where our communities have come from and enabling an understanding of the present in order to plan for the future.

Christchurch lost a significant number of taonga and heritage items following the 2010-2011 earthquakes, but efforts continue to preserve what remains.

Topic

Status

Key findings

Listed heritage items Decreasing trend
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In 2018, there were 344 listed heritage items in Christchurch, compared with 582 in 2009. Further information.

Demolished or lost heritage items Fluctuating trend
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Over 400 heritage items were demolished or removed from records in the seven years after the earthquakes. This has decreased to only one demolition or removal for the year ended June 2018. Further information.

Heritage incentive grants fund Fluctuating trend
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In 2018, $719,000 was available to assist owners of heritage items with approved preservation work. This was the lowest amount since 2011 but higher than pre-earthquake levels. Further information.

Resident perceptions of heritage Snapshot
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Almost half of respondents agree that the city's heritage and taonga is accessible to all, is shared and celebrated, and represents the diversity of our city. Further information.

Council role in promoting and protecting heritage Snapshot
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Around 40% of respondents agree that the Council is doing enough to promote and protect our heritage and taonga. Further information.

Council role in promoting Ngāi Tahu history Snapshot
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In 2018, 40% of respondents agreed that the Council was doing enough to promote the city's Ngāi Tahu history, while 27% disagreed. Further information.

Listed heritage items

In 2018, Christchurch City had 344 heritage items registered on the New Zealand Heritage list(external link). Around one fifth of these were classed as Category 1 places, which are of special or outstanding historical or cultural significance or value. Over 70% were classed as Category 2 places, which are of historical or cultural significance or value. The remainder were classed as historical areas or places that are important or sacred to Māori.

In 1995, there were just over 605 listed heritage items listed in the City Plan. Over a 15-year period, this number gradually decreased to 582 in 2009, the year before the September 2010 earthquake.

The destructive 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence had a profound impact on the City's heritage. By 2013, the number of listed heritage items had decreased by 36% to 375 items, which has since decreased by a further 31 items (to be 344 in 2018).

Overall, between 2009 and 2018, the City lost 41% of listed heritage items.

Demolished or removed heritage items

Before the earthquakes, an average of 2 heritage items were demolished or removed from heritage records each year. Following the earthquakes, this increased to an average of 60 per year between 2011 and 2017.

In the seven years after the earthquake sequence, 417 heritage items were demolished or removed. Of these, 7% were Group 1 items (of international or national significance), while 19% were Group 2 items (of national or regional importance).

In 2018 only 1 heritage item was demolished or removed from records, which suggests earthquake-related demolitions have neared completion and a return to more usual activity.

Heritage incentive grants

Funding is available to owners of heritage items to provide financial assistance for repairs and maintenance through the Council's Heritage Incentive Grants fund. Owners of heritage items scheduled in the Christchurch District Plan can apply for grants of up to 50% towards conservation-related works.

The grant fund averaged $582,000 annually between 2003 and 2009, before peaking at $842,000 in 2010.

Since 2011, the amount available has averaged $755,000 annually. In 2018, $719,000 was available in the fund, the lowest since the earthquakes. 

Perceptions of heritage

In 2018, half of respondents to the Council's Life in Christchurch survey agreed that our heritage and taonga is accessible to all. Around 16% disagreed, with 29% feeling neutral (and the remainder answered "don't know").

42% agreed that our heritage and taonga is shared and celebrated, with 17% disagreeing and 36% neutral.

Similar proportions of respondents agreed that our heritage and taonga includes, respects and celebrates the diversity of our city (41%). Once again, 17% disagreed and 36% were neutral.

Perceptions that Council is doing enough to protect and promote heritage

In terms of the Council's role in protecting heritage and taonga for future generations, 42% of respondents to the Council's Life in Christchurch survey agreed that the Council was doing enough. Just under one quarter (23%) disagreed, and 28% were neutral.

Perceptions that Council has done enough to promote Ngāi Tahu heritage and history

Christchurch as we know it has a unique story, spanning more than 150 years. Ngāi Tahu(external link) are the Māori people of the southern islands of New Zealand, and hold the tribal authority to over 80% of the South Island. Ngāi Tahu's history in Christchurch goes back even further than 150 years, with evidence showing that Māori people were in the South Island 1000 years ago.

The council has a responsibility to tell the story of our city's history and heritage, which includes a duty to partner with Ngāi Tahu to promote and protect this unique part of our city's story.

The 2018 Life in Christchurch survey found that 40% of respondents agreed that the Council had done enough to promote and protect this unique part of our city's story. One third either were neutral or did not know, while 27% disagreed.

Further information

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