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Hikitia gets grant towards makeover

17 July 2008

Hikitia gets grant towards makeover

Scotland lays claim to the Loch Ness monster, however Wellington can truthfully claim to be home to a nautical dinosaur – the heavy lifting floating steam-crane, Hikitia.

Berthed at Taranaki Street Wharf, the Hikitia is believed to be the oldest ship of its type still operating in the world.

Built in Glasgow in 1926 the Hikitia steamed to Wellington (via the Panama Canal) in just 84 days. Capable of lifts in excess of 80 tonnes, the vessel was immediately put to work and for 82 years she has toiled away on the port’s heaviest lifts.

In 1990, when the port company decided the Hikitia had outlived its usefulness, two couples who recognised the unique value the crane added to the waterfront, decided to purchase the old vessel and restore it to its former glory. Since that time the ship has developed a loyal following among waterfront-goers and in 2006 ownership of the vessel was passed on to Wellington Maritime Heritage Trust.

The Trust recently received a $38,000 grant from Wellington City Council’s Built Heritage Fund to help with the Hikitia refurbishment project.

According to the trust’s manager, Malcolm McGregor, the grant will go towards waterblasting the ship and repainting the deck and tower platform.
“We are very grateful for this grant. This sort of funding ensures that this important vessel can continue to grace the harbour - and be put to good use - for many years to come.”

In the last round of the Built Heritage Fund, money was also allocated for repairs on the Plimmer Emporium (3 Plimmer Steps) and for a structural assessment of the Cadbury Building (60 Ghuznee Street) which is set to undergo earthquake strengthening.

Councillor Hayley Wain says the Built Heritage Fund is an initiative that confirms the Council’s commitment to preserving Wellington’s heritage.
“This city has a remarkable built environment and it’s important that we have initiatives in place such as the Built Heritage Fund to help protect it.”

The Built Heritage Fund is to help people conserve, restore, and protect aspects of the city’s built heritage for the enjoyment and benefit of present and future generations.

Three funding rounds are set for each year. The next round closes at 5pm on 31 July 2008. Results will be announced after 14 August. There will be further opportunities to apply in and March and July 2009.

For more information about grants, including a grants calendar, application forms, seminar dates, past allocations and guides to completing your application, visit www.Wellington.govt.nz, or phone the Council on 499 4444.


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