News | 4 October 2018

Council grants a tower of strength for heritage

Thirteen properties have received $450,000 in funding from the Built Heritage Incentive Fund (BHIF), continuing the Council’s commitment to heritage, tourism, the community, and the safety of future generations.

St John in the City BHIF recipient
Interior of St John's in the City

Twelve BHIF grants were approved during the Grants Subcommittee meeting on 19 September, but with a recommended grant of $168,500 for St John’s in the City, funding had to be approved by the City Strategy Committee – with the request being passed at today’s meeting.

Mayor Justin Lester says the preserving and securing of heritage buildings in Wellington is an important part of maintaining the unique character of the city.

“Our heritage buildings tell the story of our past, and also add to the unique landscape of the capital. St John’s in the City, a Category 1 historic building built in 1886, encompasses this completely.

“The strengthening work on the church that this fund will contribute to will preserve the historic features and look of the building, as well as enabling more frequent use and protecting both the lives of those using it and the building itself.”

The BHIF is a key initiative of the Wellington Heritage Policy 2010, and during the 2012/22 Long Term Plan deliberations it was agreed to focus on remedying earthquake prone features or preparing conservation plans and initial engineer reports. 

This is priority from a resilience and sustainability perspective according to Infrastructure and Sustainability Portfolio Lead Councillor Iona Pannett.

“Resilience and the environment are a couple of our top priority areas in our 10-Year Plan – so initiatives and investment like the Built Heritage Incentive Fund can address some of these challenges.

“Every earthquake is a reminder that we have a long way to go to ensure we are as resilient as we can be – but every grant we give through this fund, is a step in the right direction,” adds Cr Pannett.

Reverend Allister Lane says this grant will really add to the contribution the church has already committed to the project.

“The support of Wellington City Council, through the Built Heritage Incentive Fund, is a huge encouragement for the audacious strengthening project at St John’s in the City Presbyterian Church. We are thrilled to receive this boost to our massive fundraising goal of $4.2 million.

“St John’s church has been a presence in the cityscape for 133 years, standing on the corner of Willis and Dixon Streets, and we want to remain a vital presence into the future. The big strengthening project is essential for the building to stay and to be used effectively and safely.

“It is wonderful to know we have the support of our surrounding community – the city we love and serve,” he adds.

The construction work starts in October – focusing on securing the church building to new foundations, and attaching the bell tower to the main building to prevent it banging against the main building in a big quake.

Built of kauri in 1885, St John’s is a stunning large heritage inner-city timber building. Seating up to 800 people, it has been used for many large events, including the funerals of Prime Ministers Peter Fraser and Sir John Marshall. 

Grants Subcommittee Chair Sarah Free says there was a wide range of applications for the Built Heritage Incentive Fund this round.

“All these buildings are on the District Plan Heritage List and meet the criteria to be eligible for the BHIF. The projects range from seismic upgrades, restorations and refurbishments, and conservation plans – all of which contribute to the heritage values of the capital.”

The heritage buildings to receive BHIF allocations for this final round of the year are:

Project Venue

Support for

Amount granted

5C St Mary Street, Thorndon

Heritage Cottage Refurbishment


Augusta Apartments, 254-266 Willis Street

Augusta Apartments Restoration of Children's Dental Clinic


Sacred Heart Cathedral, 40 Hill Street, Thorndon

Earthquake Strengthening


Farmers Building, Barker and Pollock, 94-102 Cuba Street

Seismic strengthening and restoration of facades


52 Tarikaka Street, Ngaio

Repairs to a Tarikaka Street railway cottage including borer treatment, replacement of damaged weatherboards and painting


97 The Terrace

Seismic upgrade and restoration


Stonehams Building, 280 Lambton Quay

Stonehams facade remediation


Philosophy House, 33 Aro Street, Te Aro

Earthquake Strengthening Stage Two


Bond Store, 8 & 10 Egmont Street

Bond Store Seismic Upgrade design


The Moorings, 31 Glenbervie Terrace, Thorndon

Architectural Services for the Maintenance and Repair of The Moorings


Tea Store

Tea Store Seismic Upgrade design


Somerled House, 192 The Terrace

Seismic work and chimney repairs and conservation plan


St John’s in the City, 170 Willis St

Earthquake strengthening of church building