Wellington Scoop

$852,000 to strengthen heritage buildings in Newtown, Cuba Street, and Island Bay

Erskine chapel


News from MCH
Heritage buildings in Wellington, Nelson and Onehunga are receiving funding to help with earthquake strengthening, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage announced today.

“Heritage EQUIP funding totalling $852,000 has been awarded to the owners of four significant Wellington buildings in this round,” said Ministry spokesperson, Deputy Chief Executive Delivery Tamsin Evans.

“Ashleigh Court Newtown, a Heritage NZ Category 1 building, is receiving $184,000 for comprehensive strengthening work, the upgrade is also supported by Wellington City Council; 255 Cuba Street is allocated $31,000; the landmark Erskine Chapel, also a Category 1 building, receives $250,000; and the Farmers Building in Cuba Street receives $250,000.

“We are also pleased to announce that Onehunga’s former post office will receive a grant of $78,000 as it’s the oldest remaining building in the area and well-known to local residents.

“Built in 1902, the building operated as a post office for more than 70 years and the strengthening work will bring the building’s structural rating up to 85 percent of the new building standard. Auckland Council has also helped fund the building’s preservation.

“$59,000 funding for Nelson’s State Theatre in Trafalgar Street is for strengthening the parapet which is the last stage of the cinema’s ongoing seismic upgrade. This Heritage New Zealand Category 2 building is in the art deco style and has always operated as a cinema.

“Since the programme got underway in 2016, total funding of $4.9 million has been allocated to assist with the earthquake strengthening of heritage buildings throughout the country,” Tamsin Evans said.

Heritage EQUIP, New Zealand’s Heritage Earthquake Upgrade Incentive Programme, provides private building owners with up to 50 percent of the funding required for seismic strengthening of heritage listed buildings.

The next round closes on Monday 19 November and more information is available on the Heritage EQUIP website.


  1. Ben Schrader, 17. October 2018, 16:20

    The MCH grant of S250,000 to Ian Cassels’ Wellington Company to help restore the Erskine College Chapel is a case of rewarding bad behaviour. Cassels fought tooth and nail to avoid having any heritage protection over the Erskine College site. He successfully persuaded the Wellington City Council to make it a Special Housing Area, allowing him to bypass normal regulatory hurdles and paving the way for the demolition of the Category 1 Main (College) Building. An appeal to the Environment Court to stop this happening was unsuccessful, but the Court determined that the Wellington Company restore the College Chapel as compensation for the loss.

    The Company will make millions from the Erskine development. It does not need taxpayers’ money for a building that it’s been ordered to restore. There are far more worthy heritage building owners for whom these grants would be a real godsend. Why MCH thought it was a good idea to give a substantial grant to a company that has been shown to be no friend of built heritage beggars belief.

  2. Citizen Joe, 17. October 2018, 20:30

    Very well said Ben. Awful reward for contemptuous behaviour.

  3. Cheryl Xavier, 24. October 2018, 16:16

    Right on Ben. We watched the Court proceedings in December 2017 where the landowner (Mr Cassels – The Wellington Company) told the Judge he would refuse to strengthen the Chapel if he was made to save the Main Block/Building. By ‘refuse.’ he meant he would appeal any decision upholding the building’s retention. Check the EC proceedings transcript for his testimony – it’s almost word for word. Who gives in to that kind of threat/blackmail? The Court prioritised SHA over publicly consulted district plan provisions. Wrong decision. What’s even more disgraceful is that the Ministry fund was always available for BOTH the Main Block and the Chapel. The landowner just never applied. Instead, Cassels bided his time until HASHAA legislation meant successful nomination of Erskine College as a SHA in 2015. What a godsend for Cassels! i.e. No public notification for the demolition of a category 1 listed building.

    The community are left picking up the pieces and the permanent loss of their heritage to mega-housing. They, Erskine and Shelly Bay both deserve a better outcome than this. Take heed Wellington City Council, before it comes back to bite you.