Spire appeal halfway

Scaffolding has been removed from the very top of the First Church spire, as work is  done from...
Scaffolding has been removed from the very top of the First Church spire, as work is done from the top down. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
Dunedin's First Church has reached the halfway point in its push to raise $600,000 to restore the historic building’s spire.

A grant from the Dunedin City Council has added to another last year from the Otago Community Trust, and public donations  have taken the fundraising to $300,000.

"It’s going very well," First Church treasurer Les Green said.

He had recently been notified the church had received $100,000 from the Dunedin City Council’s heritage fund.

"It’s tremendous.

"We thought that would come through. It’s come through now, so that’s really good."

That added to $125,000 granted by the Otago Community Trust in November.

The rest had come from congregation members and the public.

Mr Green said some "nice" donations had been received from members of the public since the church had publicised its plight.

He said "quite a lot" of those donations were in the four-figure range.

Mr Green said there was another application before a charitable trust and he hoped to hear about that soon.

Letters had been sent to people with a connection to the church, asking for donations.

City businesses might also expect a visit, he said.

Work began on the 56.4m spire last year after significant damage and deterioration was discovered.

Mr Green said work at the top of the spire had been completed and scaffolding at the highest point had been removed.

"They’re working from the top down."

Scaffolding was being removed on weekends, when workers were not there.

"I think there’s another lot ready to come down."

Council heritage policy planner Dan Windwood said the council had responded to a request from the church late last year.

He said the building was "an icon of the city", and played an important part in Otago’s heritage. It was also the sort of project where funds could not be easily raised by commercial methods.

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