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Breakout Session

One triangle to rule them all

How our version of the Braithwaite triangle is helping to improve and ensure compliance with the regulatory provisions in the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 (the Act)

The Act provides a regulatory regime for the destruction and modification of archaeological sites in an attempt to recover protect archaeological knowledge and sites. Despite this statutory framework, over the last ten years we have seen on-going and sometimes blatant disregard for the rules resulting in significant loss of knowledge in the community. Heritage New Zealand has been looking to the Braithwaite model to assist with promoting and ensuring compliance to protect and retain archaeological knowledge.

When undertaking an activity that may modify or destroy an archaeological site, then they must apply to Heritage New Zealand for an authority to consent the activity, and therefore the modification, or destruction of an archaeological site. This is assessed against a set of criteria and if it is acceptable, then the authority is granted and the activity can be undertaken, pursuant to the conditions of the authority.  

Every week however, we are notified of works being undertaken without an authority. It is an offence under the Act to modify or destroy an archaeological site without an authority regardless as to whether resource consents have been issued. This is because destroying a site means we lose the ability to record and learn from the information held within that site.

Once granted, it is also an offence to not comply with conditions of the authority. We impose conditions to ensure that the information is assessed and recorded in a timely manner and then made available for everyone to learn from.

This year, the tenth anniversary of the legislation, we are embarking on an improved compliance, monitoring, and enforcement regime. This presentation shares our compliance journey and shares our highs and lows with you.




Melanie Russell
Chief Legal Advisor, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.


Melanie Russell is Chief Legal Advisor at Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Melanie has a resource management and prosecution background which assist with her current role in New Zealand's leading heritage agency. She has a keen interest in heritage, particularly people's stories about places. Melanie grew up in Frankton railway village as the daughter of a NZ Railways engineer and loves hearing the stories about her dad's work and also the community halls where parties were regularly held.


Vanessa Tanner


Bio will be available here soon.


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