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Auckland Council The Auckland Plan

​Ā tātou taonga tuku iho ahurea

Our cultural heritage

What is cultural heritage?

Cultural heritage is the term used to describe the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation.

These include:

  • customs
  • practices
  • places
  • objects
  • artistic expressions
  • values.

It is also the legacy of knowledge, things and intangible attributes of a group or society passed from generation to generation. Cultural heritage includes:

  • tangible culture such as buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art, and artefacts
  • intangible culture such as folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge
  • natural heritage including culturally significant landscapes and biodiversity

Auckland's cultural heritage

Auckland's cultural heritage is rich and diverse and includes Māori and non-Māori heritage.

It includes the Auckland War Memorial Museum / Tāmaki Paenga Hira and the Auckland Domain/Pukekawa.

It encompasses the extensive archaeological landscapes of

  • Āwhitu Peninsula
  • the Tūpuna Maunga and other Auckland Isthmus maunga
  • Ōtuataua stone fields
  • Franklin volcanic fields.

It includes post-war architecture such as the Group Architect houses, engineering feats such as the Grafton Bridge, and our Victorian and Edwardian buildings.

Our cultural heritage places comprise sites, features, areas, townscapes, streetscapes, landscapes, settlements, and other historical places.

Why is our cultural heritage important?

Many Aucklanders are passionate about our cultural heritage.  

Our cultural heritage adds to the richness of our lives by reinforcing our sense of history and identity, and helps define what is distinctive about Auckland.

It enriches our environment, provides authenticity to our spaces, and continuity in our communities. Our cultural heritage is a source of pride.

Cultural heritage is of fundamental importance to tangata whenua, their culture and traditions.

How is cultural heritage addressed in the plan?

Cultural heritage is addressed in a number of parts of the Auckland Plan 2050.

Recognising the value of our cultural heritage and the importance of its protection is a core component of the Environment and Cultural Heritage outcome.

The key role that our shared cultural heritage plays in building cohesive and connected communities is addressed in the Belonging and Participation outcome. The specific role of built heritage in shaping our homes, places and spaces is addressed in the Homes and Places outcome. 

How is cultural heritage managed?

Managing heritage comprises three key phases:

Understanding and sharing:

  • providing a robust information base
  • identifying, protecting and conserving our significant places – locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally
  • encouraging greater understanding and enjoyment.


  • informing development, investment, and regeneration
  • inspiring high quality and responsive design
  • recognising and reinforcing the contribution to the character, quality, authenticity, and sustainability of our homes and places
  • promoting economic development, including through appropriate use of existing heritage places.

Empowering collective stewardship:

  • empowering the community and tangata whenua in active kaitiakitanga.