The Very Rev Dr Trevor James takes a stroll around St Paul's Cathedral in the Octagon. Photo by Dan Hutchinson
Dunedin church administrators say they are taking a hard
look at what buildings they need and what they will "divest"
themselves of over the next few years, as the results of
earthquake-risk assessments come in. Dan Hutchinson
There is ''relief all round'' after St Paul's Cathedral
passed minimum earthquake standards recently but that might
not be enough to satisfy its owners or the general public.
Anglican Diocese manager Graeme Sykes said all the diocese's
churches and halls had passed the criteria for older
buildings - 34% of the new building standard - but there was
no money to make any major improvements.
''It [St Paul's] has passed but really, that is in a prime
public area so [there are] a lot of people around it, people
coming and going, general public.
''It is not in a bad state, it is in an OK state, but still,
you start tinkering with that building and you would be
looking at fairly significant amounts of money and it doesn't
have a big congregation.''
Mr Sykes said St Paul's was an example of a building that
would need a lot of fundraising to make significant
About 30 Anglican Church buildings had been assessed, with
just the St Kilda church and part of a hall in Northeast
Valley closed because of risk.
Over the next one or two years, decisions would be made at a
parish level on the future of buildings, including the
possibility of merging some churches, especially in rural
areas, '' and maybe in some cases the buildings are less
important'', Mr Sykes said.
Presbyterian Synod of Otago and Southland executive officer
Fergus Sime said they were still waiting for all the reports
to come in.
Last month, the Dunedin City Council extended by a year its
deadline for pre-1976 non-residential buildings to be tested
for seismic strength. Only 14% of reports were done by the
July 1, 2014, deadline.
Mr Sime said once the 75 building reports for Otago and
Southland were done, the synod would work with parishes to
help them decide on the future of their buildings.
The Very Rev Dr Trevor James, of St Paul's Cathedral, said
there was ''relief all round'' St Paul's exceeded the minimum
code but he still wanted to bring it up to a higher standard.
''The wider community would be quite bereft if we didn't have
the cathedral here and it wasn't safe and functioning. It is
an important part of the city scape.
''It is a constant demand on us that we maintain the building
and how we do something over and above [that] ... is quite a
He said one of the problems was that habits of church-going
and church affiliation had waned over the last 100 years so
there was not the same base of financial support. Money would
need to be sourced from the community and trusts.