Draft Rules for Archaeology in Nelson Region

Council is currently reviewing its Nelson Resource Management Plan (NRMP). Part of the review looks at how Council should manage and protect archaeological sites. In the first instance, we are inviting feedback from the owners of land that contains a known archaeological or cultural heritage item for their feedback on possible approaches. Below is an outline of a possible approach to archaeology in the Nelson Region.

NZAA sites

Around New Zealand, most recognised archaeological sites are registered with the NZ Archaeological Association (NZAA). Any soil disturbance that is likely to affect archaeological material in one of these sites requires an “Archaeological Authority” from Heritage New Zealand. Currently, for many of these sites, there is also a requirement for a resource consent from Nelson City Council to undertake that sort of work.
Council is proposing to remove this double layer of regulation for standard archaeological sites, so that a resource consent would only be required for regionally significant archaeological and cultural sites.

Regionally Significant Archaeology and Cultural Heritage

Under this scenario, the rules relating to regionally significant sites would not change – i.e. those sites that have been identified as regionally significant would still require a resource consent. If the site is listed on the NZAA database, it will also require an “Archaeological Authority” from Heritage New Zealand.


At present, within the archaeological overlays, a resource consent is required for any new structures and any earthworks not associated with tracks, building foundations or cultivation of less than 300mm.
Council is considering changes that would only require a resource consent in the overlays for work that is likely to affect protected resources. Protected resources would be listed for each overlay, and might include things like “archaeological material”, “mines and associated remains” or “historic quarries”.

Your feedback

Council invites your feedback on archaeological sites that should be listed, and on the potential approach for management and protection of archaeological sites and overlays. We welcome all feedback, whether you support or oppose the current or proposed approaches, or whether you have another idea that is not considered here.

This will be the first of three opportunities to provide feedback on this matter throughout 2017 and 2018. If you prefer to discuss this matter in person or over the phone, please contact Mike Scott directly by phoning (03) 546 0281 or by email to