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Restrengthening plan to close Old St Paul’s

A multi-million-dollar fundraising appeal for building restoration has been launched to strengthen historic Old St Paul’s in central Wellington, ahead of its temporary closure next year to allow the work to be carried out.

Old St Paul’s, completed in 1866, is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, with support from the Friends of Old St Paul’s, and is a community venue hosting births, death, concerts, exhibitions and presentations. Everyone is welcome,

It is anticipated that the building will close from May to October 2019 to undertake works, so that it can safely remain an internationally-recognised and admired heritage place for visitors and funeral-goers to enjoy.

“This unique, timber, Gothic revival building has stood steadfast for 152 years,” says Paulette Wallace, Manager Heritage Assets Central.

“Sadly, it didn’t completely escape the impact of the Kaikoura earthquake in November 2016 and while safe for the public to still visit today, it requires strengthening work.

The project will involve internal structural strengthening, external work to repair cracking and painting, and fire and electrical upgrades. When complete it will raise the building’s current seismic rating of above 34 per cent to close to 100 per cent.

A ‘donation station’ has been installed at Old St Paul’s for visitors to help contribute to the #ForeverOSP project, with tap-and-go options of $5, $15 and $25 suggested for donations.

Project costs will be covered by Heritage New Zealand, with the remainder from key donors, in particular the Friends of Old St Paul’s, the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board and the public through on-site donations.

“This is an opportunity for those passionate about our heritage to be a part of its history by contributing to its ongoing use and enjoyment,” says Wallace.

“Heritage New Zealand is the guardian of the building, but it is owned by all New Zealanders; it belongs to the nation.”