Landmark Wellington church reopens for Easter four years after Seddon earthquake

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1 NEWS

A Wellington landmark and one of the most significant Catholic churches in New Zealand has re-opened its doors four years after the Seddon earthquake.

Wellington landmark St Mary of the Angels holds fond memories for many.
Source: 1 NEWS

St Mary of the Angels has undergone almost $10 million in seismic strengthening, finishing just in time for Easter.

The spiritual and cultural home for Wellingtonians for nearly 100 years has been brought to life again.

Barbara Jones got married in the the church 66 years ago

"It's a very emotional occasion coming back home again. How lucky I am to have survived to come back here," she said.

She's one of many thankful St Mary of the Angels is back open for Easter.

"As we celebrate the passion and death and resurrection of Christ, St Mary of the Angels rises," said Father Barry Scannell.

The church fundraised $9.5 million for seismic strengthening, including $500,000 from the city council following the 2013 Seddon quake.

"I was here for that first earthquake. We just got under the pews, which I never thought I'd be able to do. But we did," Ms Jones said.

Parishioner Brian McGuiness was also at Mass when the 6.5 quake struck.

"It really rocked and rolled the church and a lot of people ran out," he said.

It's his construction company that's brought the church up to almost 100 per cent of the building code.

But you'd never know the difference thanks to 3D digital mapping that's helped preserve the 1922 gothic architecture and some creative solutions to replace columns along the 21-metre-high ceiling.

"As one of the foreman put it, if he knew there was an earthquake coming tomorrow he would bring all this family here," Father Scannell said. 

The church family will gather for its Mass today in a true sanctuary in the city. 

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