News item image

Significant natural areas (SNAs), archaeological and cultural sites, and notable trees in Hamilton now have protections confirmed, as a hearing panel appointed by Hamilton City Council released it latest decision last week (Friday 3 May).

Hamilton now has 120 SNAs mostly along the river and gully network,1491 notable trees, and 106 archaeological or cultural sites listed in the District Plan.

Urban and Spatial Planning Manager Mark Davey said the panel’s decision largely confirms Council’s initial proposal through Plan Change 9 with minor changes made through public submissions and evidence.

“It’s great we are at the point where we can provide certainty to those property owners affected by this plan change and the wider public who has taken a keen interest in Plan Change 9. Significant natural areas, archaeological and cultural sites, and notable trees have gone through largely unchanged from what we notified and is a testament to the work of our experts and the technically robust evidence presented to make sure we were protecting the right areas for our city.”

SNAs are identified based on their ecological significance for native plants and animals. Bat protection is a focal point for the changes, with protections around things like outdoor lighting added to the plan to look after their habitat.  

Notable trees are linked to community or scientific importance, species type or age and the contribution they make to the city. Following submissions, minor changes were made to the definition of the Protected Root Zone of notable trees to provide clarity around how it is measured. Some trees were removed from the register where they no longer met the threshold for protection.  

Recorded archaeological sites are determined by the New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA) and are generally associated with human activity prior to 1900. Minor changes were made to some archaeological sites around the city to give more clarity to property owners around their boundaries.

Plan Change 9 aims to help protect Hamilton’s heritage sites and natural environment while enabling our city to grow through proposed changes to the District Plan. Proposed changes to built heritage, Historic Heritage Areas (HHAs), archaeological sites, SNAs and notable trees were publicly notified in July 2022 and hearings took place throughout the second half of 2023.  

Further hearings will take place for built heritage items in August, and more decisions are expected from the panel around HHAs and built heritage in the coming months.  

Read the decision here 


Has this page been helpful?
Thanks for your feedback.