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More than 70 guests attended the occasion which marked the rescue and restoration of the landmarks by the dedicated volunteers of the Wakatipu Community Maritime Preservation Society after 12 years and $800,000.
Society chairman Tony Butson told the crowd that during the toughest days of the project he thought
the buildings would never be finished, let alone opened by the Prime Minister.
Mr Butson thanked representatives of the 10 funders who trusted society members to do the job.
He expressed his gratitudeto the tradespeople and suppliers who made the redevelopment possible.
The chairman described the restoration of the building as a chimera, a mythical creature with a variety of animal body parts, due to the variety of materials and building styles which had to be dealt with, as the society followed the conservation principle of repair rather than renew.
Mr Key told the audience ''We are what we were in the past'' and attributed the effort to preserve a bygone era, which ''could easily have been lost to the wrecker's yard''.
The Prime Minister, who is also Minister of Tourism, applauded the ''great ingenuity'' of turning the shed and office into a place people wanted to visit, with the addition of a cafe and bistro.
''One of the great things about Queenstown is not just the natural beauty, it's the history of the place ... that's just magnificent,'' Mr Key said.