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International recognition for quake-damaged Chch landmark

7 October 2011

International recognition for quake-damaged Christchurch landmark

The significantly-damaged Canterbury Provincial Government Buildings in Christchurch has been placed onto a world list of sites to help ensure its retention and restoration.

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) nominated the iconic Christchurch landmark for inclusion on the World Monuments Fund Watch List in March. The Christchurch City Council and Department of Conservation bolstered the NZHPT submission with letters of support. Confirmation of its placement was received today.

The World Monuments Fund is the leading independent organisation dedicated to saving the world’s most treasured places. Based in New York, the Fund has helped preserve important architectural and cultural heritage sites in more than 90 countries through partnerships with local communities, funders and governments.

The Category I-registered Provincial Government Buildings were built from the late-1850s in a Gothic Revival style in timber and stone as the seat of the Provincial Government of Canterbury. Today they comprise one of the earliest Gothic Revival complexes of government buildings in the world.

The earthquakes of September 2010 and particularly February this year extensively damaged the impressive Stone Chamber and other stone elements of the complex.

NZHPT Southern Region General Manager, Malcolm Duff said the chamber interior in particular was held in high acclaim worldwide, with tiles arranged in geometric patterns and stained glass windows adding to the colour.

“In a New Zealand context the Provincial Government Buildings are unique, and to see them in their current state is very sad indeed.

“The NZHPT is delighted with the World Monuments Fund Watch listing. It will raise the profile of this iconic landmark’s plight at an international level, assist with fundraising initiatives and expert assistance as efforts to retain and restore continue.”

The NZHPT said the repair, restoration and possible partial reconstruction of the Canterbury Provincial Government Buildings would serve as a heritage conservation model and help promote the revitalisation of Christchurch’s cultural heritage.

“This project would likely act as a catalyst for smaller scale heritage revitalisation projects in the region and would facilitate the specialised training of heritage trades people,” Mr Duff said.

“Long-term it would remain as a link to Canterbury’s past as well as providing economic benefit through tourism.”


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