Dhargyey Buddhist Centre director Peter Small (left) and the Venerable Lhagon Tulku yesterday, with 135-year-old slate tiles from the building's failing roof. Photo by Peter McIntosh
Buddhists are looking for signs from above, which are
threatening the future of the Dhargyey Buddhist Centre, in
The slate roof of the historic Royal Tce home is crumbling,
after 135 years of defying the elements.
''We've had four ceilings come down. A ceiling came down over
a bed last year and it was just fortunate that no-one was in
the bed,'' founding member Cathi Graham said yesterday.
''We can't just leave it any longer. It's too dangerous.''
Buddhists around New Zealand had rallied to save the
building, with $60,000 of donations, and a conservation
condition report had been prepared, centre director Peter
Small said yesterday.
''The slate roof is at the end of its life. All the valleys
are now rusting out and the original nails are rusting
through one by one, causing water ingress and damage to the
top-floor ornate ceilings.
''As slates are installed from the bottom up, this requires
the complete removal of all the slates on any planes to be
tied down. That is virtually all of them.''
The restoration was likely to cost up to $300,000, he said.
''We really want to do it in a permanent fashion. These ones
lasted 135 years, so it would be good if we could make it
last another 100 years.''
Dhargyey Buddhist Centre was established in 1984, after the
Dalai Lama advised his close friend Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey to
come to Dunedin.
''It's because of the Dalai Lama that the centre exists,'' Mr
''It's a historic building designed by New Zealand architects
and it's historic and sacred to Buddhists, because of the
quality of religious instruction and the monks who have come
here since 1984.''
The Mason and Wales-designed house was built in 1878 and
later owned by confectionery producer Richard Hudson.
A ''Donate a Slate'' open day will be held at the centre from
11am to 4pm on August 31.