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, containing significant early moa hunting and processing activity.

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. In addition, 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, and 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.

Selwyn District Council is in the process of developing a proposed plan change which is intended to implement methods to manage threats identified in the CMP. The proposed plan change will be specifically concerned with the culture and heritage provisions of the District Plan which relate specifically to wāhi taonga management areas and sites in and around Rakaia Huts Township.

Draft Plan Change 26 offers opportunities for interested parties to provide feedback and comments prior to the plan change being publicly notified under the Resource Management Act 1991.