For over half a century, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga has been charged with protecting ancestral sites and buildings of historical value.   

Kathryn Hurren of Heritage NZ says Māori heritage sites that include taonga and kōiwi are being threatened by coastal erosion.

“Coastal erosion is a big problem all around the country and eroding in urupā and eroding in a site.”

Tongaporutu is one of many Māori heritage sites where taonga and kōiwi have surfaced.

Hurren says they want to work with tangata whenua and the public to raise the awareness on the important work they do.

“Interference of a site is you know not appropriate, fossicking is illegal, removal of human remains is culturally insensitive and needs to be undertaken particularly cultural and legal process.”

She adds that through their vision strategy, Heritage New Zealand hopes to safeguard Māori heritage places today and for future generations.

“Give the tools to iwi and hapū and the landowners or whatever party is interested in being a part of this, the knowledge and the tools to move a project forward.”

Māori heritage is New Zealand's heritage.