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Christchurch Heritage Restoration Following Earthquake

( Call for Government Assistance on Christchurch Heritage Restoration.

“Clearly many heritage buildings have suffered damage in the recent earthquake” said Archaeological Association President Rod Clough.

“Those in public ownership that are restorable can be expected to be put right by their owners but many are privately owned.”

Rod Clough notes that while some will be beyond saving, there will be many that can still be restored. Christchurch’s character depends on more than its public buildings. The privately owned buildings too are important to its heritage streetscapes. Many of those buildings in private ownership will be insured for indemnity value only – not enough to ensure restoration to a standard which recognises their heritage value.

“The Association is concerned that premature decisions to demolish may be being made by owners who cannot see any other way forward. Information on the history of Christchurch inherent in those buildings will be being lost.

The Government’s priority is properly on the immediate recovery, but as this progresses further, recovery of character should also feature. The Association urges that there should be a special fund to allow private owners firstly to get expert advice about repairing and strengthening masonry buildings, beyond what an insurer would cover, and secondly to give some assistance on restoration.”

Dr Clough believes the existence of even quite a small fund might encourage owners to see that they are not alone in the problems they face.

He is also concerned about the loss of heritage information – “If heritage buildings can’t be saved, it is important that they are properly recorded before being demolished. Most historic buildings also have associated archaeological remains beneath and around them, and if these can’t be protected from damage during redevelopment, they should be investigated and recorded so that information they hold relating to the history of the area can be saved. This will require consultation with the NZ Historic Places Trust.”

Media Release 16 September 2010 from New Zealand Archaeological Association.



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