Māori heritage can be described as ngā taonga tuku iho nō ngā tūpuna = treasures handed down by our ancestors.
It comprises a wide range of different places and items from the physical and tangible to the natural environment and the intangible. For the purposes of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust’s responsibilities, cultural heritage excludes te reo, performing arts, most portable taonga, radio waves, etc.
Māori heritage can be divided into the physical/tangible, natural and intangible.
E toru ngā wāhanga, arā ko ngā taonga ā tinana, ngā taonga o te taiao me ngā taonga wairua.
The physical/tangible heritage places can be described as those land-based places created, formed or shaped by earlier inhabitants. These can be archaeological sites (eg burials, pā, pits, terraces, oven stones, midden, stone/rock structures, rock-art, house sites, etc) or Māori built heritage places such as marae buildings, including their contents (eg carvings, artworks, photographs, etc) and structures (eg flagpoles, gateways, etc).
Ko ēnei ngā nohonga me ngā tohu i hanga i ngā tūpuna.
Natural heritage places may be natural features associated with traditional activities (eg springs, trees, swamp, caves, etc) or a tribal landmark (eg mountain, river, lands, sea/lake, village, etc) where no human activity is evident.
Ko ēnei ngā āhua o Ranginui rāua ko Papatūānuku me ā rāua tamariki.
The intangible heritage places are those places that have intangible characteristics where no visible feature or evidence is present but where a significant event or traditional activity took place (eg battlefield, places of meeting, of learning, of ritual, fishing ground, taniwha den, etc)
Ko ēnei ngā wāhi o ngā tūpuna hei tiaki i te mauri o ngā wāhi tūpuna, me ngā wāhi mahi o ngā tūpuna.
All or any of the above cultural heritage places may also be considered to be wāhi tapu, traditional sites, wāhi taonga, or others depending on the iwi, hapū or whānau concerned.
Ma te Iwi, Hapū, Whānau rānei e tapa, e whakarite hoki i ngā wāhi tuku iho katoa.
The NZHPT employs specialist Pouārahi (Māori Heritage Advisors) and other staff based in its offices in Kerikeri, Auckland, Tauranga, Christchurch and Wellington. These advisors form part of a national team providing advice to whānau, iwi and hapū about the preservation, conservation, protection and management of Māori heritage places.
The NZHPT actively assists whanau, hapu and iwi initiatives to preserve taonga through the Maori Buildings Conservation Programme.