Knox Church's rise offers 'vision of hope'

TIM FULTON
Last updated 05:00 03/09/2014
Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee at Knox Church
STACEY SQUIRES

FINAL TOUCH: Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee shows off his drilling skills on the roof of the Knox Church, which is being rebuilt after sustaining major earthquake damage.

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The repair of Christchurch's Knox Presbyterian Church is a "vision of hope for the city", parishioners say.

The last screws in the new roof were ceremonially inserted yesterday ahead of a planned full re-opening of the Bealey Ave landmark in November.

Project manager Ron Keating said the restoration had been the most satisfying job in his consulting career.

The quake-bracing technology used to strengthen the church was a first for New Zealand and possibly unique world-wide, he said.

He said the reconstruction was a tribute to Knox's parish of about 200, who had nearly raised the required $5.5 million with help from from wider community, grants and insurance funds.

"It's got the name of being a vision of hope for the city," a church-goer said.

Another said Knox's rise from near-ruin would be a particularly special for inner-city residents.

The 1904 church was built in wood but masked in red brick for more than a century.

Keating said engineers were surprised the building withstood the earthquakes but the technology now reinforcing it would be highly resilient.

Church officials said they had a series of rebuild targets for the rest of the year. The outside of the building was largely completed, featuring high copper panels and attractive new windows.

The roof had been raised to allow acoustic and thermal blankets and pipework for the sprinklers. Once the interior was fully dry, the walls including the original wainscot panelling would be fitted.

The church's official re-opening is planned for November 30, to coincide with Advent and St Andrew's Day.

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- The Press

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