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Iconic County Council Landmark Makes A Comeback

The Kowai County Council Archives Building on Upper Sefton Rd is looking spic and span and ready for its unveiling.

Due to extensive damage in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, it received an insurance payout and a portion of the Lottery Environment and Heritage Grant (also used to fund earthquake repairs for Amuri Chambers and Waiau Memorial Hall), for strengthening and renovation work required to bring the iconic building back up to a standard where it could be used safely to its full potential.

The total project included repairs to all exterior and interior plaster and a new roof.

Extensive steel work and bracing was fitted to the ceiling area, bringing the building up to 34% of the New Building Standard, (NBS).

Councillor Michael Ward said a major effort was made to maintain the ornate plaster ceiling, which is a feature of the main room.

“It’s a great benefit for the community that we’ve had the opportunity to restore this iconic building to such a good standard, yet still maintain its original charm.”

The planned work was on budget, with works delayed due to COVID-19.

It will now be re-established as a place of remembrance – The 1922 building houses two marble war memorial plaques and a roll of honour to local servicemen who served in either of the World Wars, and marks a return of the Kowai Archives Society.

BACKGROUND: The Kowai Archive was established in 1990 by members of the Sefton - Kowai Country Women's Institute, who decided to "collect, preserve, research and exhibit records to illustrate and record (the) cultural history of the area." The Amberley Historical Society was established in the 1970's and amalgamated with the Archives in the early 1990's. It is listed as a Category II Historic Site under the Historic Places Act 1993 and is identified as a Heritage building in the Hurunui District Plan.

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