The historic schoolhouse in Paradise, near Glenorchy, is
rising from the ashes of the fire which gutted it in late
A fundraising drive will be launched to meet the cost of the
$15,000 restoration project.
The tiny one-room dwelling is being re-created by heritage
specialist builder Mike Kingan, of Wanaka, helped by Paradise
Charitable Trust co-manager Daman Groshinski.
The project began in earnest last week, and about two more
weeks of work will see the house reopened for accommodation
by the trust in October.
Despite accepting the virtually destroyed century-old cottage
was beyond repair, in the aftermath of the blaze on July 24,
trust chairman Tom Pryde, of Queenstown, said yesterday
"We're really building a new schoolhouse.
"We've managed to recover some pieces, the floor was largely
intact and the chimney and fireplace.
"People love the old schoolhouse, so we're building what you
might call a replica."
The structural fire appeared to have been caused by a
build-up of heat from the chimney within the walls of the
A young couple from Auckland holidaying in the shack had been
permitted to light the internal fireplace, which was also
used for cooking.
They were uninjured in the fire, which was a "colourful
chapter in the history of the property," Mr Pryde said.
Trustees were working on a strategy which will involve online
auctions of donated tourism packages and accommodation
elsewhere on the Paradise property. A public appeal for funds
was open and would be promoted either later this week or
A grand reopening of the new "Old School House" was not being
considered, Mr Pryde said.
The smallest of the five cabins near the restored Paradise
homestead was used by families working the Paradise Scheelite
mine from the early 1900s.