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Historic Iona Church set for stage three restoration

Otago’s historic Iona Church overlooking Port Chalmers is gearing up to commence further restoration work in coming months. The Historic Iona Church Restoration Trust were awarded a $150,000 grant last week from the latest round of grants from the Otago Community Trust.

Since 2010 the Iona Church Restoration Trust has fundraised and spent $1.3 million on the first two stages of the historic church’s restoration project. This earlier work involved earthquake-strengthening, replacement of flooring timber and trusses, and repointing of stonework as the building was weatherproofed.

Otago Community Trust chief executive Barbara Bridger said the Trust was pleased to be once again providing support to the restoration of Iona Church. $150,000 has also been awarded to the earlier restoration work back in 2011, she said.

Iona Church Restoration Trust chairman Andrew Noone said the third stage of our restoration project is focused on repairs to the North East elevation stonework, a number of stained-glass windows and necessary interior repairs which will include the relocation of the organ to allow access to the North East window.

“A small amount of seismic upgrading associated with the North East elevation will be included, along with a general electrical upgrade and the installation of a fire detection and security alarm system.”

Mr Noone said the Restoration Trust is extremely grateful for the significant grant from Otago Community Trust. This grant helps us along the way to ensuring this iconic historic building is restored to its former “splendour and glory”.

Iona Church is a Heritage New Zealand category 1 building.

The first part of the stone building was designed by N.Y.A. Wales and was built in 1871-72.

In 1882-3, additions by Mason and Wales effectively created a new church with a steeple, in which the town clock was installed by Little John and Co, of Wellington, about 1885.

Iona Church is now a union parish serving Port Chalmers Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches.

Otago Community Trust’s March funding round also supported several smaller community projects across the region. A $20,000 grant was awarded to the Tokomairiro Community Recreation Centre to assist with the cost of resurfacing the carpark area at the Milton Recreation Centre; SPCA Otago received a $16,550 grant to support the extension of the SPCA Dunedin Centre's top carpark and the Wanaka Guide and Scout Group received a $7,000 boost to support with the cost of upgrading the local Scout Den.

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