His­toric win­dows re­placed

Church goes back to the fu­ture

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

The mys­tery has been solved and now Grant Baker can re­lax and en­joy the St Joseph’s win­dows with ev­ery­one else.

His search to have the 11 badly de­te­ri­o­rated glacier or ‘‘ poor man’s stained glass’’ win­dows re­placed at the church, just past the Pau­ata­hanui round­about on State High­way 58, has led him to on­line cat­a­logues in New York and Australia, and con­tact with the New Zealand Catholic Church, Alexander Turn­bull li­brary and Ar­chives New Zealand.

The trans­paren­cies on the win­dows, orig­i­nally paid for by fam­i­lies who lived near the church in 1895, were dis­cov­ered in a cat­a­logue at Mel­bourne Uni­ver­sity. Dig­i­tal copies were sent to Lower Hutt designer Chris Wil­son, who, via com­pany Dzine Signs, put them on to glass.

The process cost about $12,000, with some of the cost met by Trans­mis­sion Gully builders Leighton HEB.

The win­dows were in­stalled last week and will be blessed this month.

Baker said it was a sat­is­fac­tory fin­ish to a rip­ping yarn.

‘‘We’re go­ing to have a num­ber of mem­bers of the fam­i­lies [named on the win­dows] along when they’re blessed, which is fan­tas­tic,’’ he said.

‘‘They’re com­ing from all over the coun­try and even over­seas. I’m re­ally proud we’ve got there in the end.’’

Though some pic­tures on the win­dows are not com­pletely sharp – Wil­son said the trac­ing and print­ing made that very dif­fi­cult – at least the spell­ing of names like Bradey and Mul­h­ern had been cor­rected.

Reuben Mills, se­nior en­vi­ron­men­tal ad­viser for Leighton HEB, said it was nice to be in­volved in this project.

‘‘We’ve done our small part in help­ing to leave an en­dur­ing as­set for this com­mu­nity,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant this church is here for a long time af­ter Trans­mis­sion Gully has been built. We need to be very con­scious of his­tory.’’

Mills said vi­bra­tion from trucks and other ef­fects from con­struc­tion of Trans­mis­sion Gully would be mon­i­tored.

St Joseph’s and a petrol stor­age tank near Paekakariki, used by US troops dur­ing World War II, are the only her­itage as­pects that Leighton HEB has to be aware of dur­ing the mo­tor­way’s con­struc­tion.

Wil­son said do­ing the friezes was a real test of her skill, but she loved it.

‘‘It’s such a unique project and amaz­ing for me to do,’’ she said.

The win­dows are dou­bleglazed and have a UV fil­ter to halt the fad­ing process.

Baker said he was con­fi­dent it would be an­other 100 years be­fore they need re­plac­ing.

St Joseph’s Church, built in 1876, is the old­est Catholic Church still in use as a church in Welling­ton.

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