World War One Sanc­tu­ary open

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - CATRIN OWEN

Among the quiet and com­mem­o­ra­tion on the top floor of the Auck­land Mu­seum, builders worked tire­lessly to com­plete a ma­jor restora­tion.

Be­hind cladding and hoard­ings sat the World War One Sanc­tu­ary, sit­u­ated within the Mu­seum’s Hall of Mem­o­ries.

From April through un­til Au­gust the sanc­tu­ary was closed for the ex­ten­sive her­itage main­te­nance and re­pair work on the win­dows and frame­work.

Auck­land ar­chi­tect and crafts­man Chris Gib­bons led the project along­side trades­men Guil­laume Hyvert and Mark Gill.

‘‘The lo­gis­tics were hard as the mu­seum is one of the hard­est build­ings I’ve had to work on be­cause it’s open to the public,’’ Gib­bons says.

As the air-con­di­tion­ing for the mu­seum has to be reg­u­lated prop­erly, re­pair­ing the win­dows was a tough task.

‘‘All the win­dows got taken out and ob­vi­ously the mu­seum has to main­tain the same tem­per­a­ture to keep the dust out.’’

The ex­ten­sive restora­tion work came un­der bud­get at just un­der $500,000 and in­volved re­build­ing stained glass, re­mov­ing rust, fix­ing plas­ter and stonework all while try­ing to avoid dam­ag­ing the floor and the mar­ble mon­u­ment.

‘‘Ev­ery sur­face had to be pro­tected be­cause a lot of it is ir­re­place­able and all of this had to hap­pen with­out any­one know­ing, and es­pe­cially be­cause this space is a quiet place of re­flec­tion,’’ Gib­bons says.

The sanc­tu­ary was orig­i­nally de­signed by ar­chi­tects Hugh Gri­er­son, Ken­neth Aimer and Keith Draf­fin

A bronze wreath of kawakawa leaves, with olive, poppy and rose­mary sur­mount­ing the bronze tri­pod was de­signed from the ar­chi­tec­tural draw­ings by the sculp­tor Richard Gross.

The top floor of the mu­seum is ded­i­cated to the mem­ory of fallen sol­diers. New Zealand sent more men to fight in the First World War, per head of pop­u­la­tion, than any other na­tion with 18,166 Ki­wis los­ing their lives.

As nearly all those killed were buried over­seas, and al­most onethird have no known grave, the Hall of Mem­o­ries is a place for com­mem­o­ra­tion and re­flec­tion.

The sanc­tu­ary was re­opened on Au­gust 17. of­fi­cially

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Team Chain Re­ac­tion, from left, Mark Free­man, Sue Holmes, Pauline Miler, Craigie McCul­loch and Karen Lorimer.

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