Workmen begin drilling boreholes at the Oamaru Courthouse as part of work to establish the cost of earthquake-strengthening the historic building. Photo by Andrew Ashton.
As engineers began work this week on assessing the cost of
repairing the Oamaru Courthouse, the New Zealand Historic
Place Trust (NZHPT) said it was confident the Ministry of
Justice was doing all it could to save the 129-year-old
The ministry commissioned new work to assess the cost of
earthquake-strengthening the building after its original
estimate of more than $5 million was questioned locally.
NZHPT Otago-Southland area manager Owen Graham said the
organisation was working closely with the ministry to ensure
the building, which had been associated with the history of
the New Zealand justice system for more than 100 years, could
"The Oamaru Courthouse is a category 1 registered historic
place and has significant heritage value to Oamaru and New
"The ministry has a clear awareness of the heritage
significance of the building and its importance to the
"We are confident this will be taken into consideration when
a final plan is drawn up."
Mr Graham said strengthening methods for heritage buildings
like the courthouse were "many and varied".
Once the assessment work, which began on Tuesday, was
completed, the trust would give advice on strengthening
"We are pleased the Ministry of Justice is exploring a range
of options to return the Oamaru Courthouse to its full use,
and are doing a thorough assessment of the requirements for
"The costs of such work depend on an array of factors and the
New Zealand Historic Places Trust is currently working with
engineers, architects and the Ministry of Justice to get a
clearer idea of what these specific requirements for
strengthening will be in regards to the Oamaru Courthouse."
The courthouse was closed last November after it was deemed
an earthquake risk.