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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the Protected Objects Act a new Act? 

A: No. In November 2006, amendments were made to the Antiquities Act 1975.  The name of the Act had to change with the amendments as the definitions of 'antiquities' were replaced with categories of 'protected objects'.  This is also why the Act is still dated 1975 rather than 2006 (Protected Objects Act 1975).  Many of the principles and regulations of the Antiquities Act remain in the Protected Objects Act.

Q: I am exporting a painting painted dated 1980. Do I need export permission from you?

A: No. Only paintings over 50 years old which meet the criteria for a protected New Zealand object require permission from us. 

Q: What is a protected New Zealand object?

A: To put it simply, protected New Zealand objects are as follows:

  • Foreign archaeological and historical objects which had been held in a New Zealand public collection 50+ years ago
  • 50+ year old artworks (including craft) related to New Zealand and not owned by the artist/maker
  • New Zealand Public Records
  • 50+ year old paper, film and digital objects related to New Zealand and not owned by the creator
  • 50+ year old objects related to Māori culture and society
  • Type specimens and specimens used for defining species
  • Extant or extinct specimens of New Zealand animals and plants
  • New Zealand fossils, fluids, rocks and minerals not intended for industrial use
  • Materials removed from an New Zealand archaeological site
  • 50+ year old mechanical objects and parts, and associated documentation related to New Zealand
  • 50+ year old objects with a strong link to a New Zealand person, place, organisation, community or event
  • Numismatic and philatelic objects listed in the Act

Q: I want to sell a protected New Zealand object. Can I sell it to an overseas buyer?

A: You can sell a protected object to an overseas buyer, but both you and the purchaser should be aware that it will require export permission from us to leave New Zealand and that permission may be denied.

Q: What is a registered collector?

A: A Registered Collector of Taonga Tūturu can purchase privately owned taonga tūturu or become a Ministry appointed custodian of Crown owned taonga tūturu.   

Individuals and groups can apply to the Ministry to become a Registered Collector of Taonga Tūturu. To become a registered collector, the person or group must:

(i) ordinarily reside in New Zealand; and

(ii) not have been convicted of an offence against the Protected Objects Act (previously the Antiquities Act) or the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act.

The Application for Registration as a Collector of Taonga Tūturu form is available online or as a downloadable form.

Q: If I am a registered collector, can I keep any taonga tūturu I find?

A: No. Taonga tūturu found after 1976 are, in the first instance, the property of the Crown. The Ministry decides who should have custody of such objects, and ownership by any interested party can be claimed through the Māori Land Court. As a registered collector, you are able to buy taonga tūturu in private ownership.

Q: Can I sell taonga tūturu to anyone?

A: No. Privately owned taonga tūturu can be sold to only registered collectors, licensed dealers and public museums.  Ask to see a registered collector’s card before allowing them to take possession of the taonga tūturu.  Crown owned taonga tūturu cannot be sold. Also remember export permission is required to take any taonga tūturu overseas.

Updated on 26th October 2022