New laws offer better protection for heritage

Date: 1/12/2006

Stronger safeguards for New Zealand’s unique cultural heritage came into effect 1 November 2006. The new Protected Objects legislation, replaces the 1975 Antiquities Act. Key elements of the Protected Objects legislation include: -Defines more precisely the objects that come under the Act. – Streamlines the process of awarding ownership of newly-found toanga tuturu (formally artifacts) to individuals and groups. – Amends the penalty regime to make penalties for breach of the act more realistic and in line with other similar legislation. – Allows New Zealand to become party to the 1970 UNESCO and 1995 UNIDROIT conventions which deal with the illegal trade in cultural objects. Under the new law, penalties for all offences will be significantly increased; up to five years imprisonment or up to a maximum of $100,000 for individuals/$200,000 for bodies corporate.

www.protected-objects.govt.nz

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