In this section

Operative as of 24 April 2012

Operative as of 24 April 2012

The appeal period for Plan Change 26 closed at 5pm on Tuesday 10 April 2012. In accordance with Clause 17(2) and 20 of the 1st Schedule of the Resource Management Act 1991, Plan Change 26 will be made operative on 24 April 2012.


The area in and around the Rakaia Huts Settlement at the Rakaia River mouth is of considerable cultural significance to Te Taumutu Runanga. It is recognised as one of the most important complexes of archaeological sites in the South Island.

The Rakaia Huts Moa Hunter Site was first identified in the late 1860s, and was investigated by Julius von Haast between 1869 and 1871. His findings from the site were later used to identify and define a Moa Hunter culture in New Zealand. Subsequent work by other archaeologists has further identified the extent of the archaeological material located on the middle and upper terraces at the Rakaia River mouth.

A Conservation Management Plan (CMP) of the Rakaia Huts Moa Hunter Site was completed in 2009 to ensure that the meaning and importance of the site is conserved and able to be appreciated and interpreted for present and future generations. Work associated with the CMP further clarified the location and extent of the Moa Hunter Site. The CMP identified a range of issues and threats to the archaeological and cultural values of the area. The CMP proposed a range of regulatory and non-regulatory tools to manage those threats.

The Rakaia Huts Conservation Plan was adopted at the Council Meeting on 28th October 2009.

Council has developed Proposed Plan Change 26 (PC26) which is intended to implement methods to manage threats identified in the CMP. The proposed plan change is concerned with the culture and heritage provisions of the District Plan which relate specifically to wahi taonga management areas and sites in and around Rakaia Huts Township.

PC26 will amend the District Plan in the following ways:

  • Section B3.3 - Culture and Heritage - minor amendments to the structure, layout and correction of a range of minor spelling errors, along with additional text to reflect the 2003 Resource Management Act Amendments that made the protection of historic heritage a matter of national importance under section 6 (f) of the RMA;
  • An amendment rules framework, which will require applicants to obtain resource consent prior to conducting any activity in the area which may affect the archaeological or cultural values present;
  • In the Living 1 Zone, Activities which disturb soil below 20cm depth shall require a resource consent (in areas where the soil has been previously disturbed by specific activities). Any activity which is not a Permitted Activity shall be assessed as a Controlled Activity;
  • Notes clarifying which are exempt from the Earthworks Rules in the area subject to PC26 (garden/lawn maintenance, landscaping, sowing, tending or cultivating crops, grazing, planting trees, digging post holes, burying pets and trenching compost).
  • Notes clarifying activities which are not exempt from the Earthworks Rules in the area subject to PC26 (digging soak holes, building foundations and related activities, unless it is in areas where this activity has previously occurred and it is not below 20cm depth), earthworks to duct cables, maintaining/repairing existing flood protection works, maintaining and clearing rivers);
  • Additional advice notes in various sections of the Plan, advising that an Archaeological Authority may be required from the Historical Places Trust for any works in the area subject to the CMP, and any other archaeological site, regardless of whether a resource consent is required for an activity;
  • Amended schedule of 'Sites of Significance to Tangata Whenua" in Appendix 5 of both the Rural and Township Volumes of the District Plan.
  • Definitions for Silent File Area, Wahi Taonga Management Area, Wahi Taonga Management Site, Landscaping and Maintenance of gardens lawns or public spaces in the Township Volume of the District Plan, along with the inclusion of definitions for Wahi Taonga Management Area, Landscaping and Maintenance of the gardens, lawns or public spaces in the Rural Volume of the Plan;
  • Amended District Plan Map 133 which will show the extent of the archaeological site, as identified in the CMP, as well as differentiating between Wahi Taonga Management Areas C39 (a) and C39 (b);

Plan Change 26 also provides an opportunity to address historical inaccuracies in the District Plan relating to Wahi Taonga Management Area C48, which surrounds Rakaia Huts Township. At the time the Proposed District Plan (PDP) was notified, the area surrounding Rakaia Huts was identified as a Silent File Area. Submissions from Te Taumutu Runanga sought that it be re-designated as a Wahi Taonga Management Area. The submission was accepted with the decision stating that the area be re-designated in accordance with the submission from Te Taumutu Runanga. When decisions on the PDP were incorporated into the Plan only the relevant District Plan maps were amended, with the text of the District Plan still showing the site as a Silent File Area.

All documents relating to the Proposed Plan Change

In accordance with section 86B (3) of the Resource Management Act 1991, the rules associated with the Plan Change shall have immediate legal effect.

For further information regarding this plan change or the process outlined above, please contact the Duty Planner on 03 347-2868 or email