Youngsters complete their big dig

Finishing off excavations at Pukehiki Church on Otago Peninsula are (from left) 18-year-olds Fin...
Finishing off excavations at Pukehiki Church on Otago Peninsula are (from left) 18-year-olds Fin Robertson, Nathan Spence and Rory McLean.
Excavating under the 140-year-old Pukehiki Church to remove tonnes of earth, in the wet and cold for the past eight to 10 months, has not dampened the spirits of a group of Otago Peninsula teenagers, who celebrated the end of the undertaking at the weekend.

The church, on Highcliff Rd, needed re-piling, as the old piles were in a pretty bad state, a Pukehiki Church trustee, Pat Robertson, said.

To give the trust a head start, the group of teenagers was hired to dig out under the church to make the old piles accessible for the contractors.

Between school, sport and part-time work commitments, the group of some five boys had spent about 70 hours digging earth from under the church, having devised a system entailing a sled and a trolley.

They had also dug a moat around the back of the church to help drain away rainwater.

Mrs Robertson said the boys were a great team and had made a magnificent job of getting the project started.

"The builders were amazed at how much they've done."

The trust was looking for funding to complete the work, she said.


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