Historic windows replaced
Church goes back to the future
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.