This study argues that considerations of value and significance are fundamental to sustainable heritage management practice. It explores critical issues relating to the valorisation of historic heritage in New Zealand and considers whether existing frameworks for evaluation and assessment are effective and appropriate. The two frames of reference comprise: firstly, theoretical princAles relating to the nature and qualities of heritage value and secondly, operational strategies relating to the process ofassessment. The study integrates current policy and practice within existing epistemology with primary research data using a mixed methodology. A review of international policy and practice contrasts the various approaches used in Australia, Canada, England and the United States of America, and identifies effective system characteristics. Existing understandings and practice within New Zealand are considered and analogies made between particular elements of the primary research drawn from surveys of professional and non-professional opinion of the heritage assessment process. The New Zealand findings are then set against the review of international evidence and the literature to identify significant strengths and shortcomings.