Lime kilns damaged in conversion

JACQUIE WEBBY
Last updated 05:00 08/03/2014
teaneraki lime kilns
Jacquie Webby
HERITAGE LOST: The Teaneraki lime kilns are now lost to New Zealand history.

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Two of North Otago's most iconic stone structures have been badly damaged during work which is being done at an Enfield dairy conversion site by Oamaru company Mitchell and Webster.

The site is located at Coalpit Rd, Enfield, north-west of Oamaru.

The two lime kilns, one of which dates from 1898 and the other from 1900, were erected by William Meek on his farm at Teaneraki.

Work on the site was halted on Wednesday by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT), which has confirmed the construction dates of the structures.

NZHPT regional archaeologist for Otago/Southland, Matthew Schmidt, said the trust had no record of receiving a resource consent application for the current works on the property.

"No enquiries were made to this office (Dunedin) regarding the works by Mitchell and Webster or their legal representative," he said.

Nick Webster (of Mitchell and Webster) said he believed, "to the best of our knowledge, that we weren't doing anything wrong".

"We have resource consent and I can confirm work has stopped on the site."

Waitaki District Council (WDC) chief executive Michael Ross said a resource consent for earthworks and access for a dairy conversion was granted on January 15.

"Given no listing or detail is held on the Teaneraki Lime Kilns, this was not addressed within the resource consent decision," Mr Ross said.

"As the lime kilns are not listed in the District Plan or the NZHPT national register, the council is limited in its immediate power to protect these structures. The management and protection of historic heritage is achieved jointly through two pieces of legislation - the Resource Management Act (RMA) and the Historic Places Act 1993 (HPA).

"The Heritage Appendix of the (WDC) District Plan and corresponding rules are designed to identify and protect all areas within the district with sites of heritage value.

"The identification of these sites is done in conjunction with the NZHPT and land owners within the district. Lime kilns such as the former works at Makareao are currently registered in our District Plan Heritage Appendix."

NZHPT senior legal adviser Geraldine Baumann was awaiting a report: "We will be asking why this has happened and what decisions we can make ... We do have authority under the Act but a rebuild is unlikely."

HISTORIANS MOURN LOSS OF HISTORIC TEANERAKI KILNS

Historians are stunned to learn historic lime kilns have been destroyed during a North Otago dairy farm conversion.

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The two stone structures have been badly damaged during work carried out by Oamaru company Mitchell and Webster on an Enfield property.

"The Whitestone Civic Trust laments the fact that far stricter planning is not in place to protect the buildings and antiquities which are part of the fabric of this region," trust chairman Marcus Brown said.

Oamaru historian and engineer Bruce Comfort said the Teaneraki kilns of William Meek was part of a chain from Teaneraki to the sea at Kakanui.

"The Teaneraki kilns are standout examples of the kiln-makers art, as they were built by a stonemason and are beautifully proportioned and beautifully constructed."

NZHPT regional archaeologist Otago-Southland Matthew Schmidt said kilns built prior to 1900AD were archaeological sites and therefore protected under the Historic Places Act (1993).

The Waitaki District Council resource consent stated that should human remains or achaeological items be exposed, work should stop immediately, and police, the Historic Places Trust and local kaumatua should be contacted.

- The Timaru Herald

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