Get us ‘home again’
The Cathedral is much more than a parish church. It is the ‘seat’ (cathedra) of the Archbishop and, as such, belongs to all of us. The success of this campaign relies on us all too.
There is $1 million left to raise towards a total cost of $14 million. We are so close to the finish line now and are now seeking support to make this final part happen.
Your contribution to this campaign will help us to complete the final stage of restoration and refurbishment and realise our vision for a safe, connected, and historically significant sacred space.
It will ensure we can be ‘home again’. ✟
On 13 July 2018, the main Cathedral building was deemed an earthquake risk and closed for seismic strengthening. Temporary bracing was put in place, with blue strops installed down the side of the building so that the foyer and chapel could be used while the long- term work on the Cathedral building was carried out.
In August 2020, work to strengthen and restore the Cathedral began. Further assessments of the building during this earthquake- strengthening work revealed other maintenance needs on the exterior brick and stonework as well as refurbishment required to the interior of the Cathedral.
The work, to be done in stages, would be mainly structural with some elements of architecture. It would involve major restrengthening of the roof, repairs and paint removal from the exterior and interior stone walls, restored copper cladding, repainting the interior walls and ceiling with lighter colours to enhance the natural light, and installing new carpets, lighting and fixtures.
In early 2020, with the plan ready, work began. During lockdown, the Government’s shovel-ready project came into place, which provided a further $6.5m for the project. The Wellington City Council also came on board with $120k. These grants allowed for the strengthening work and exterior restoration and stone masonry to begin.
Interior refurbishment is now under way, removing the heavy pink paint, installing new lighting, new grey and gold carpet. Lighter paint will be applied to some walls and fixtures, such as original ornate tin tiles on the ceilings.
The Cathedral will become once more a local and national tourist attraction, and its mana as a heritage building in Wellington’s historic Thorndon precinct and seat of the Catholic Church in New Zealand will be restored. ✟
If music be the food of love, play on
Music is the most universal of all languages and it is one that is firmly rooted here in the Cathedral with a choral tradition that started in the first Cathedral on this site.
For those involved in music and the arts, the Cathedral holds much significance as it has beautiful acoustics, a historic organ and seating for 500. There are various community groups that have used the Catholic complex as a venue for their meetings and for choral and musical recitals, and we look forward to hearing them within our historic walls once more.
An essential element in the restoration project is the refurbishment of the historic Hobday organ. Its rich sound has graced our Cathedral for over 115 years, inspiring worshippers and concert-goers alike who have delighted in the outstanding acoustics of a truly exceptional venue.
It is the largest Hobday organ in Wellington still in playable condition. It has been used for concerts and recordings, including by Radio New Zealand Concert, for organ recitals by visiting organists, and to accompany a variety of choirs.
This round of organ refurbishments is to be carried out by Peter D G Jewkes Pty Ltd in Australia, specialists in historic organ refurbishment. With over thirty years since the last major service, now is the perfect time to carry out this refurbishment work. ✟
“The Cathedral is one of only seven basilicas in New Zealand. It is noted for its excellent acoustics and its use as a public venue for various events including concerts and recitals.”
Councillor Iona Pannett, Wellington City Council Building Resilience and Heritage Portfolio Lead, May 2020
A place for you, and for me
We know that the Cathedral is a gathering place for the wider community – schools, societies, music groups, and others. It is also a spiritual home for Catholic Māori, Pasifika Catholics, as well as other diverse and important communities such as the Filipinos, the Polish community, and those from Spanish- speaking communities. ✟
“Re-opening means we can learn about how others worship and experience the face of God. There are so many wonderful ethnicities and cultures that make up our community. The ability for us to experience the richness of other people’s prayer and culture through their own festivals and celebrations is truly a blessing.”
John A. Cardinal Dew