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Old St Paul’s reopens after strengthening and conservation

old st pauls reopened

News from Heritage New Zealand
The doors to Old St Paul’s in Wellington have reopened following extensive conservation work on the iconic landmark.

Old St Paul’s was built in 1865-66 on the gardens of Pipitea Pā, a Māori settlement on Wellington’s waterfront. Today, this timber cathedral is regarded as one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the world.

The property, cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, closed on 3 May last year for seismic strengthening and systems upgrade work.

Now seismically strengthened to 90 percent of code, it is a safer, popular, enjoyable, internationally-recognised and admired heritage place for the community and visitors.

old st pauls grant robertson

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson, speaking at the reopening ceremony on 28 July, said the work was necessary after Old St Paul’s was impacted by the Kaikōura earthquake in November 2016.

“Over the years, this church and this city have grown up together. Although Old St Paul’s still looks as it did in the late 19th century, as an institution it has changed with the times – reflecting our diverse and evolving beliefs, cultures, and interests.

“It has played an important role in the cultural life of Wellington, as a venue for many different events, from chamber concerts to family ceremonies, including my own Civil Union,” Grant Robertson said.

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Board Chair, Marian Hobbs, also speaking at the reopening, said there had been considerable conservation work to do at Old St Paul’s.

“Internal structural strengthening, external work to repair cracking and painting, and fire, electrical, and heating upgrades were the priorities when work began and, naturally, a few more things were added as the work progressed and the opportunity was there to get them sorted by experts.

“Of course, none of what we see completed today would have been possible without fundraising and support from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, Friends of Old St Paul’s, Stout Trust, Wellington Community Trust and donations from around the world through the #ForeverOSP campaign.

“This three million dollar project could not have been achieved without this collective support.”

Photos: Simon Hoyle (www.southlight.co.nz)

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