Website for friends of Paradise lost

The charitable trust behind the historic Paradise Homestead destroyed by fire last month has launched a website aimed at helping it meet expenses until a new building is constructed.

Paradise Trust chairman Tom Pryde said the website (www.friendsofparadise.co.nz) went live on Monday and would serve as a hub for everyone interested in the progress of the rebuild.

''The homestead was our main source of income, and over the winter it's our only source. That's totally lost now until we rebuild, but our expenses continue.

''We are really reaching out to anybody who knows Paradise, lived at Paradise or stayed at Paradise.''

The 131-year-old Category 1-listed homestead was razed on May 23 after lightning struck a nearby power pole, resulting in a surge to the homestead's power system.

Mr Pryde said talks with the building's insurers were progressing well, but it was too soon to say when a design for the rebuild would be completed.

The new building could be open to guests within 18 months to two years, ''but we will take whatever time we need to be confident we will get it right''.

After consultation with the Historic Places Trust and insurers, work had been done to seal off the homestead's surviving bedroom wing from the elements.

The remainder of the site had been cleared of debris except for four chimneys that had been left ''standing like Stonehenge''.

''We haven't figured out where they will fit in the future, but we would like to do something with them as a nod to the past.''

Other work completed included the replacement of wiring to five buildings in the area ''blown out'' by the lightning strike.