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By DAVID HILL

Kaiapoi’s restored St Bartholomew’s Church is a finalist for three awards.

The category one-listed heritage church, built in 1855, was officially reopened last July after being repaired, strengthened and restored following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

The church is now a finalist in the seismic category of the two-yearly Canterbury Heritage Awards, the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ Canterbury regional awards, and in the heritage and restoration category of the New Zealand Commercial Project Awards.

Kaiapoi Anglican Parish parishioner Stephen Walters says the congregation is proud to learn of the three announcements.

“We are very blessed and pleased with St Bartholomew’s. The thought, the design and the work and every aspect of the project has been to a high standard, which shows great respect for what is now the oldest Anglican church in Canterbury.

Hauled along . . . Kaiapoi’s St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church was moved off its site on to neighbouring red zone land to allow new foundations to be laid. Photo: File

“It’s really nice now that we can walk into the church and not feel like you are on a lean. The marble doesn’t go all over the place anymore. It just sits there.”

The Christchurch Anglican Diocese’s Church Property Trust recovery programme manager, Suzanne Price, says the announcements are exciting for Kaiapoi.

“After what Kaiapoi has been through and how much local heritage we have lost, it’s great news.”

Ms Price says St Bartholomew’s, now believed to be the oldest wooden church in the South Island, was a unique project for the trust as it was largely a restoration rather than earthquake repairs.

“We’ve got 230 earthquake-damaged buildings in our repair programme and most of them are repairs for earthquake damage and strengthening, so this was quite different.

“There was some damage, but St Bartholomew’s held up really well to the earthquakes, so it has been largely done on a shoestring budget as there wasn’t a lot of insurance money.”

The $1.2 million restoration was made possible thanks to a Lottery Commission grant of $523,000 and funding from the Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Building Trust.

The restoration was extensive and involved new foundations, a new roof, a complete repaint, the interior timber was oiled and restored, the stained-glass windows were restored. The bell and belfry were repaired.

The New Zealand Commercial Project Awards will be announced in Auckland on May 18, the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ Canterbury regional awards in the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral on June 7, and the Canterbury Heritage Awards in the Isaac Theatre Royal on June 15.