Friday, February 3, 2012

How to suggest a historic place to a Council?

In response to a comment from Dennis at the bottom of my post on the Reo Carpark building at 15 Federal Street in the city, I asked Auckland Council for some guidelines as to how members of the public can suggest historic places. This is what I received today as a response:

"For the moment should a member of the public wish to propose an item for scheduling it is best they provide this in a written format and address this to the manager of the Heritage department- Mr Noel Reardon.

"We request that the following base level of information is provided from someone wishing to nominate an item/site place:

· Name & contact details of the proposer.

· Site number and address of the site being proposed

· Is the property owner of the site they wish to nominate? 

· Certificate of Title (where applicable) 

· Any photographs (both of the item in its existing state and also include any historical pictures if these are at hand). 

· Any other forms of historical documentation that would assist Council with commencing research etc… photocopied newspaper articles. 

· And most importantly we require a paragraph detailing the reasons why they are nominating the item. As a guide the matters that could be considered may relate to the following significance areas/values: 
-social , 
-tangata whenua , 
-physical character, 

Actually, the more detailed (and sourced!) information you can provide to any Territorial authority with regard to suggesting a site be included for protection under a District Plan, the better. This goes for trees as well. I've been involved with my own society at Avondale-Waterview in the past regarding the Roberton Road area, and right now I'm part of a group trying to save an old cottage. I've said before to other societies that "Knowledge is Power", and in terms of heritage protection campaigns, that really does ring true.

And yes, folks, detailing exactly which site you're talking about is key. Get an address, legal description, print out a GIS aerial from the website and draw a circle -- anything to prevent any misinterpretation.


  1. It's good to know that we as citizens can initiate heritage-protection processes rather than relying entirely on the bureaucracy to do it for us. It's a pity we didn't have this form of 'people power' in the past, particularly in the 50s and 60s. Then maybe we wouldn't have lost so much of our heritage through neglect and vandalism in the name of progress.

  2. The outline proposal they suggest sounds a little amateurish...

  3. Just very simplistic. I s'pose it's designed to cover average members of public who aren't "experts" but I would never put things like "...etc" in outlines of a proposal.

  4. Considering it was an emailed response to my enquiry, and despite one odd sentence structure I noticed but chose not to correct (nothing all that major) -- in the officer's defence, I thought it wasn't too bad. More than I expected, which was a response along the lines of "contact so-and-so in such-and-such department."

    The "etc." probably refers to assessment and evaluation. Whenever I'm commissioned, I do the research part. The rest (assessment etc.) is done by those qualified to do that part of the process. But the research part of the process can in some cases rely fairly heavily on knowing why something is important to a proposer in the first place. This is what I tell my crew in my society, and anybody else who will listen: don't just provide an address. Provide everything you know about the site, no matter how inconsqential you may think some detail is. It's all clues, and every detective needs clues.

  5. Another good step would be to go along and make a presentation to your Local Board about the historic place you wish to nominate. There is a public forum at the beginning of each monthly meeting. There is a big backlog of sites that the heritage department are dealing with, so getting some support from your Board might help to push things along a bit.

  6. VERY good point, Michael. Absolutely agree. Comoile as much info on the site as possible, as well.