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Lyttelton Timeball Station rebuild receives $1m donation

Lyttelton Timeball Station rebuild receives ‘Landmark’ $1 million donation

Landmark Incorporated has become the founder donor for the rebuild of the Lyttelton Timeball Station, presenting a cheque for $1 million to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust today.

“We are extremely pleased to make this gift, from the people of Auckland to the people of Canterbury, knowing it will help to restore a significant landmark to an area that has lost so much of its heritage,” said David Chandler, President of Landmark Inc., a charitable organisation established in 1972 with the vision of preserving New Zealand’s heritage landmarks.

“Our focus has been on New Zealand’s heritage places and landmarks and the Timeball Station was one of New Zealand’s most significant places. It was a category 1 historic place and one of just a handful of working Timeball Stations in the world, so along with having a clear place in the community’s heart, it was internationally significant.

“To be able to provide this gift, and help ensure the Timeball can rise again is strongly aligned with Landmark’s purpose.”

NZHPT Chief Executive, Bruce Chapman, said the importance of this donation goes beyond its dollar value.

“In a sense this donation is the most important one because it makes the project a reality. When we sought the views of the Lyttelton community at the end of last year they gave us a very clear message that some form of rebuild is important to them. Landmark’s vision and generosity means the rebuild project has a firm foundation, and it has captured the community’s imagination.”

Chairperson of the NZHPT’s Board, Shonagh Kenderdine, said that before the Landmark offer the organisation had been hoping to find a way reinstate the timeball mechanism on Lyttelton’s skyline.

“The Board has approved in principle the rebuild of the tower and reinstatement of the flagpole, and the NZHPT is now exploring what else is feasible. The potential for a larger rebuild is there, which is exciting, but we are clear that regardless of what is the final outcome, this is just the start of an extended period of fundraising.”

The NZHPT is currently undertaking a study to determine what would be the most appropriate structure both for the site and to meet the needs and hopes of the community. No decisions are expected until later this year.

Mrs Kenderdine said the Timeball, like New Zealand’s other historic places, is an important reminder of our unique and complex history, and our global connections.

“After the building was lost we had messages of sympathy and sorrow from people around the country, and around the world. Today we can join in celebrating a bright future for this site.”

After the earthquake of 4 September 2010 damaged the Timeball Station, the NZHPT had planned to complete strengthening work and restore the building. The 22 February 2011 quake caused irreparable damage and the decision was made to carefully deconstruct the building, increasing the likelihood of salvaging building materials to help with any potential rebuild.

Another major quake on 13 June 2011 saw the building’s tower collapse, however a large amount of the building’s fabric has been recovered and remains in storage.


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