$12 million to support quake-prone heritage

  • Maggie Barry
Arts, Culture and Heritage

A new fund to help support the retention of New Zealand’s built heritage has been announced by Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry.

At an event in the historic Manawatu town of Feilding today Ms Barry launched the Heritage Earthquake Upgrade Incentive Programme fund (Heritage EQUIP), which will put $12 million over the next four years towards the cost of strengthening privately-owned heritage buildings.

“Heritage buildings are an important part of the character of towns like Feilding, but the cost of strengthening can be prohibitive and unsustainable for their owners, particularly in provincial areas like Manawatu,” Ms Barry says.

“We don’t want to see valued buildings empty and deteriorating, or even demolished, because it isn’t economical to strengthen them. This new fund will support owners preserve our built heritage for future generations.”

The contestable fund will be available for all privately-owned Category 1 Heritage New Zealand listed buildings across the country and for Category 2 listed heritage buildings in areas of high to medium seismic risk such as Manawatu and Wellington.

“Applicants to the fund will need to look to match Heritage EQUIP funding with local Government, philanthropic, community and their own contributions,” Ms Barry says.

“We will be setting up an expert advisory panel to assess applications, which will open in the new year.”

In the next few months a comprehensive information package providing guidance to heritage building owners on how to manage strengthening projects will be developed by the Ministry for Culture & Heritage (MCH) and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

“There are many superb examples of heritage buildings which have been strengthened and restored in a fitting way, retaining their character and historical connection, such as the Public Trust Office building in central Wellington,” Ms Barry says.

“This Government has taken a measured and targeted approach to earthquake strengthening through the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act passed earlier this year, and the Heritage EQUIP has been developed along similar lines. I look forward to seeing how building owners respond to the opportunity it presents.”

To find out more about Heritage EQUIP visit: http://www.mch.govt.nz/heritageequip

Editor’s note: High seismic risk areas defined under the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 include: Gisborne, Manawatu, Napier, Palmerston North, Queenstown, Southland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Medium seismic risk areas include: Hamilton, Whanganui, Thames, New Plymouth and Invercargill.