The three elements used to describe historic heritage are Fabric, Stories and Culture. One or all of these things make up the historic heritage of a place.


Fabric is the physical remains that exist today - it is what you can see or touch.

Fabric to Māori could be considered as tika - customary practice.

Artefacts such as greenstone adzes made by Māori, flakes used by the moa hunters, old bottles and objects left behind by early settlers and even underwater relics.

Man-made features and plantings left behind from the past such as Māori fortifications, gold mining water tunnels, holes made by gum diggers and trees planted by European settlers.

Buildings ranging in size from enormous government buildings, to large homesteads, down to small huts, and even smaller castaway shelters.

Machinery and structures still standing in remote locations, bits of rusty machinery left behind in the bush, or abandoned concrete fortifications.


Stories describe and explain our history - they are what you read, hear or watch. Stories can be told in many different ways. They tell us what happened in the past, the people involved, what events took place and why.

For Māori stories could be considered as kawa - traditional expressions.

Memories and oral traditions add colour and human interest.

Visual records like drawings, photos, old movies and maps allow us a glimpse into the past that often makes us want to find out more.

Written records found in libraries, archives, museums and government departments help us to uncover more of the history behind the stories.


Culture describes the connection people have with historic places – what they feel, experience or do there. Our cultural experience is enriched by knowledge of the past.

Culture to Māori could be considered as tangata whenua - identity.

Spiritual connection People get involved in conservation projects at places that are special to them. They are creating a taonga or treasure that will be there for their children and many generations to come.

Pilgrimage, our identity People make pilgrimages to places both in New Zealand and overseas to remember special events in our history. They may have a family connection or just a passion about a part of New Zealand history.

Pasttimes, interests Hundreds take part in heritage events, collect antiques, and restore old machinery and buildings. They share this heritage with others, it is what they are interested in, what they spend their spare time doing.

Traditional skills People still practice today skills from our past. They may carve, weave or work with old machinery, sometimes for their own enjoyment, often to undertake repairs, even as part of their job – this helps keep our heritage alive, especially if we pass these skills on to our children.

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