Landmark Christchurch cafe Sign of the Kiwi re-opens

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A historic landmark on Christchurch's Port Hills has been restored to its former glory after being significantly damaged in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

The Sign of the Kiwi at the junction of Dyers Pass and Summit Road has been closed to the public since the 6.3 magnitude quake.
Source: 1 NEWS

The Sign of the Kiwi at the junction of Dyers Pass and Summit Road has been closed to the public since the magnitude 6.3 quake on June 13 2011.

It was officially re-opened this morning by mayor Lianne Dalziel after a restoration costing nearly $1m.

The Category One heritage building - which will be a century old this June - was built by Harry Ell as a staging post and opened as a tearoom and rest house.

"It got a decent knock in the quakes and our assessments showed it was below 25 per cent of the current building code," Richie Moyle of the city council's Heritage Rebuild Programme told 1 NEWS.

"When we took up the floor, there was a massive boulder under it encroaching on everything ... what we've done is incorporate it as part of the structural reinforcing of the floor," Mr Moyle said.

"We've also strengthened the ceiling and put steel reinforcing in concrete columns but you can't tell - we've made it look just as it did before".

Café manager Janice Thornton became the proprietor of the landmark just days before the September 4 quake in 2010.

She thought the earthquakes had destroyed her dream of running the famous café.

"The floorboards were up, the ceiling was down, there was just chaos everywhere, but every time I've come up here week after week since the repairs began last year, there's been so many improvements and I just can't believe we're here today".

She says the feedback from people about it re-opening has been overwhelming and it is promising the best café service in Christchurch.

Another historic Port Hills rest house, The Sign of the Takahe, will also re-open at the completion of its repair project in the coming weeks.

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