The archaeological process – Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need an archaeological authority?
If you are unsure whether your structure or land has seen occupation prior to 1900, you can contact us and we can advise you as to whether you need to apply for an archaeological authority. A building may not look old for it to be constructed prior to 1900. Additionally, drainage plans and council records often begin post-1900, post-dating actual development (e.g. Dunedin). Thus, the earliest consents in council records rarely delineate first construction of a structure or identify earliest site occupation.
How do I get an archaeological authority?
An archaeological authority is granted by Heritage New Zealand, a crown entity focussed solely on heritage matters. As it administers the archaeological authorities, it can take up to three months for an authority to be granted so we advise clients to apply as early as possible. An archaeological authority is valid for 5 years and can be renewed so you can obtain your consent well in advance of a project physically starting.
What is needed for an archaeological authority?
An archaeological authority requires a specific application form to be filled out and an accompanying report. The accompanying report must be written by an archaeological specialist who is recognised by Heritage New Zealand. This report provides Heritage New Zealand with information pertaining to the history of project area in conjunction with the projects design plans and makes recommendations as to what clauses should be included in the archaeological authority if it is to be granted.
Making an application using Underground Overground Archaeology
As specialist archaeological consultants, you can employ us to write your archaeological assessment to accompany your application. We then submit the report, with the application form on your behalf and ensure you receive your archaeological authority. Sometimes the destruction or modification of a building and/or structure may require mitigation to offset the perceived loss. We work directly with you to advise what options of mitigation you will require if needed to ensure your legal obligations are fulfilled and can undertake your development.
What happens after the application is submitted?
When Heritage New Zealand receives an application, it can take up to 3 months to process the relevant paper work associated with granting the authority. When it has been processed, both you (the client) and we (the archaeologist) are notified.
From the date your archaeological authority is granted, a statutory stand down period of 14 working days is enacted. During this two-week period, no work can begin on a site and/or building, and it allows any affected parties to provide feedback on the authority conditions. This stand down period in non-negotiable and cannot be shortened or eliminated in any situation whether or not there are any affected parties.
What is an archaeological authority?
An archaeological authority outlines multiple clauses that must be adhered to as part of it being granted. These can include requirements for particular levels of building recording, onsite monitoring of development works, specialist artefactual or sample analysis and an interim or final report.
It is your responsibility to ensure all parties involved in the development are aware of the archaeological authority conditions and ensure they are adhered to. A breach of an archaeological authority condition can result in fines and prosecution at the discretion of Heritage New Zealand.
What is the Accidental Discovery Protocol?
This term refers to when archaeological finds are not expected but are found during subsurface works. If pre-1900 occupation is known or suspected on a property, you cannot work under an Accidental Discovery Protocol; an archaeological authority must be applied for.
Who is Heritage New Zealand?
Heritage New Zealand are a government funded Crown entity that administers the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act. An archaeological authority must be gained from Heritage New Zealand before any work can be undertaken which might affect archaeological sites.
An archaeological site is any place where there is known to be human activity or occupation, prior to the year 1900. It can be any built site (buildings, monuments, bridges etc.) or any area where said activity was undertaken that may contain archaeological material.
What is the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero (‘the List’)
The New Zealand Heritage List is a compilation of New Zealand’s most significant cultural and historical heritage places. It is comprised of five different parts that include Category 1 and 2 Heritage Places, Historic Areas, Wahi Tapuna, Wahi Tapu and Wahi Tapu Areas.
It is important to note that all structures, buildings and sites occupied pre-1900 are protected by law in New Zealand. If your property is not on The List, it is still protected and any modification or destruction will require an archaeological authority.