Leaky War Memorial getting $1m refit

TOM HUNT
Last updated 13:29 19/03/2012
war memorial
PHIL REID/The Dominion Post
Curator Paul Riley said work on the structure will involve cleaning the exterior and making walkways safer.

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A $1 million clean and refit of the leaking National War Memorial in Wellington is under way.

Scaffolding on the nearly 80-year-old building on Buckle St started to go up today.

Work, expected to last till at least May, would see leaky windows fixed, dangerous internal walkways and ladders made safer, and the entire exterior and surrounding area cleaned, curator Paul Riley said.

"It's going to be noisy, it's going to be grubby, it's going to be a building site.''

Seismic testing would also be conducted.

However, the building was earthquake strengthened in the 1980s, which was also the last time it was thoroughly cleaned.

Throughout the project it was hoped the memorial could stay open to the public.

The project was expected to cost more than $1m.

National carillonist Timothy Hurd said windows in the room where the bell-ringing clavier was played - two-thirds up the 50.5 metre tower - leaked so much the room had been dubbed "Lake Buckle''.

"If it's blowing a gale at ground level it's twice that speed up this high.''

On Anzac Day the building turns 80, but work would still be under way.

However, a special programme was planned for the day, including playing the original music from the day the building opened.

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