Owner of Wellington’s iconic St Gerard’s Church confirms it will close in late May

The director of St Gerard’s Church, a landmark in Wellington’s inner city, has confirmed the historic building’s doors will close in late May.

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One of the capital’s most well-known landmarks has been attempting to raise funds since 2012 to undertake earthquake strengthening. Source: 1 NEWS

The owners, the ICPE Mission, have been attempting to raise funds to strengthen the building since 2012, when it was first determined the church was vulnerable to earthquake damage, director Silvana Abela said.

The building was constructed in 1908 and is rated at 25 per cent of the building standard, when buildings legally need to be strengthened to 34 per cent of the building standard.

Last year, a request to have the deadline for strengthening the category one historic building extended to 2037 was granted by Wellington City Council, she said.

Abela said over the years around $120,000 has been raised including money from lottery grants but most of that has been spent on engineering reports.

But since then, a feasibility study has shown raising $12 million to strengthen the church and monastery, or $10 million for the church alone, was not possible, Abela said.

“We started to feel what we call a moral responsibility towards the safety of people and that there was no end in sight to raising the money.”

She said various funding avenues have already been explored, and even if a grant from someone in the community, local council or Government does now become available, the church will remain empty until it’s strengthened.

Abela said 18 people will continue to live in the monastery onsite for the foreseeable future.

The last service will take place on May 23, celebrating Pentecost with a Catholic mass.