Trust faces big repair bill for heritage church

Pukehiki Church Trust member Derrick Railton inside the building,  which might cost up to $500...
Pukehiki Church Trust member Derrick Railton inside the building, which might cost up to $500,000 to repair. Photos: Gerard O'Brien
Rotting weatherboards and peeling paint on the exterior of the church.
Rotting weatherboards and peeling paint on the exterior of the church.
Rotting weatherboards and peeling paint on the exterior of the church.
Rotting weatherboards and peeling paint on the exterior of the church.

A small Otago Peninsula trust that looks after one of the area’s prominent heritage buildings might have to raise up to $500,000  to save the landmark structure.

Recent maintenance work at the Pukehiki Church  uncovered rot throughout the building.

The trust has been promised $10,000 from the Dunedin City Council, but trust member Derrick Railton said there was a long road ahead.

The church was built in 1868 by Walter Riddell at a cost of £209 10s. It had its 150th anniversary last weekend.

It no longer functions regularly as a church but is popular for weddings.

Mr Railton said the trust had "battled away" to maintain the church over the last 24 years.

As weatherboards were removed for maintenance it discovered the likes of  windows with no flashings that had to be replaced.

Fundraising had been piecemeal, and the amounts given  from community trusts were not enough for what was required.

Estimates for the work had come in that were up to $500,000.

"At that point we had to stop. We had to spend money to raise money, because we need to go, probably, to the likes of the Lotteries Commission."

A conservation plan for the building alone would cost $20,000, and the $10,000 from the council would go towards that.

Mr Railton said the fundraising process for the church would be a big job.

"It’s a major task. It’s a major, major task.

"We have to try, and we have to try again.

"We’re determined to maintain this place."

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