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File keepers contact information

Site Recording Scheme 

In June 2009 the digital site recording scheme was launched:

archsite.org.nz

The new site has information on the site recording scheme, how to use it and contact information for filekeepers. Please use this new site as the primary source for information on the scheme in future.

The material below may continue to have some interest - it is material residual from the older page about the scheme on this site.

history | interpretation of data | are there sites on your property? |site numbers equivalents and types  


History

In May 1958 the establishment of the New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA) Site Recording Scheme was approved at the NZAA Annual Conference at Wanganui. The first handbook, which explained the Site Recording Scheme to contributors and users, was published soon after. The handbook, fourth edition (1999) is out of print but is now available electronically through this website.  <<handbook>>Handbook

The New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA) Site Recording Scheme is a national system for recording information on archaeological sites. Information is provided to the Site Recording Scheme by many different individuals and organisations as their contribution to a co-operative venture. The Site Recording Scheme currently contains over 60,000 records.

The Site Recording Scheme is endorsed by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the Department of Conservation and has been described in a review (1996) by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment as “a database of major national significance”.

The Site Recording Scheme was established as a special interest database, and its primary use for many years was as a research tool for members of NZAA. Since the advent of the Resource Management Act 1991 (the RMA) and the revised Historic Places Act 1993 (the HPA) there has been greater use of the Scheme in planning and legal issues for site identification, protection and management. Territorial local authorities are one of the principle users of the Scheme in their ongoing land and heritage management and protection roles.


Benefit to users

The New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Recording Scheme is the major repository of information about archaeological sites and is an essential tool for both research and management purposes. Knowing ‘what is where’ is central to historic resource management. The Department of Conservation, New Zealand Historic Places Trust, territorial local authorities, Iwi/hapu, and the general public uses information from the system. 


Interpretation of data from the New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Recording Scheme 

The Site Recording Scheme was established as a special interest database, and its primary use for many years was as a research tool for members of NZAA. Since the advent of the Resource Management Act 1991 (the RMA) and the revised Historic Places Act 1993 (the HPA) there has been greater use of the Scheme in planning and legal issues for site identification, protection and management. Territorial local authorities are one of the principle users of the Scheme in their ongoing land and heritage management and protection roles.

Blockhouse
Archaeologists inspecting a loopholed blockhouse - a relic of the land wars - near Wanganui.

The Site Recording Scheme may contain plans, section drawings, photographs, artefact drawings, and field notes. Records have been contributed by many different individuals and agencies over many years and so vary in quality and in the level of detail offered.

The following features of the data should be noted:

For many purposes, an inspection by a qualified archaeologist will be required. Information from the Site Recording Scheme is not a substitute for this.


Pa map

A plot of recorded pa sites. Courtesy Tony Walton.

Are there archaeological sites on your property?

Are there archaeological sites on your property? You can check whether archaeological sites have been recorded on your property by contacting your local district filekeeper of NZAA. Filekeepers are listed on archsite.org.nz

There may also be unrecorded archaeological sites on your property. You could employ an archaeologist to carry out a survey of your property to identify any unrecorded sites. This can be a good idea if you are planning property development that could affect archaeological sites, such as residential subdivision or forestry establishment.

You may also wish to determine whether other types of historic heritage places are listed on other inventories or registers such as in district plans or the New Zealand Register of Historic Places.

Why is an archaeological survey necessary? It is important to determine early in the development process whether there are any archaeological sites on the property. It is best if sites are not damaged by development as they are a finite resource and an important part of our heritage. If archaeological sites are taken into account early on in the planning process they may be able to be avoided. If avoidance is not possible, certain steps must be taken. This is because work affecting archaeological sites is controlled by a consent process administered by the NZ Historic Places Trust, and sometimes also through District and Regional Plans administered by the territorial local authority.

The provisions of the Historic Places Act relating to the protection of archaeological sites apply to all archaeological sites (as defined by the Act). So, even if an archaeological site has not been recorded within the NZAA Site Recording Scheme, the provisions of the Historic Places Act may still apply.

For many purposes, an inspection by a qualified archaeologist will be required. Information from the NZAA Site Recording Scheme is not a substitute for this as up to date information on the nature, extent, condition, and significance of the site will usually be required. 

It may be advisable to commission an archaeological survey by an archaeological consultant to determine whether:

NZAA members who are available to provide archaeological services on a consultancy basis are listed here

What do you do if there is an archaeological site on your property? Many landowners in New Zealand are looking after archaeological sites on their properties through careful land management. Some territorial local authorities provide financial assistance to landowners for this purpose. With appropriate stock control many sites can be preserved and grazed as part of farms. Some sites have been excluded from planting and are part of forestry blocks. Other sites are in public reserves and can be visited. If you have a site on your property and you would like assistance with how best to look after it the NZAA and NZ Historic Places Trust can assist with further advice.

If you have a site on your property and you are planning work that could affect it, such as earthworks, tracks, forestry or building, then steps need to be taken to determine the nature, extent, condition, and significance of the site and if the proposed development will impact on it in any way. 

If the site cannot be avoided, then a formal consent under the Historic Places Act will be required. Usually this is granted subject to mitigation through documentation of the site before or during development. In some circumstances, sites are considered to be particularly significant and it is recommended that they be protected. The requirements of the Resource Management Act also need to be fulfilled. Recent amendment of the Resource Management Act has elevated historic heritage (including archaeological sites) to a matter of national importance. 

What happens if an archaeological site is found during the course of development? Every effort should be made to identify sites prior to development but, the unexpected discovery of archaeological remains is possible. Once discovered, work must stop to avoid further damage and the NZ Historic Places Trust must be notified immediately. The Trust will then advise what steps may be required and whether a consent will need to be obtained. 

If in doubt, you may choose to apply for a consent from the NZ Historic Places Trust prior to work beginning on the basis that archaeological remains may be present. This will help prevent work being delayed.


NZMS 260 Site numbers equivalents and site types 

Older literature will contain site numbers based on the old inch to the mile NZMS 1 series of maps. The MS Excel file downloadable here (3.6MB) contains the NZMS 1 site numbers and equivalent NZMS 260 site numbers and the site types, current as at January 2006.  Note sites with only new numbers are not included.

From the spread sheet you can look up site types from numbers and find number equivalents between the old numbers and the new and can look up site types from the old numbers.