Former Aubert creche could become major tourist attraction

An old creche in Memorial Park could bring an influx of tourists and millions of dollars to Wellington, but it’s not without headaches according to Suzanne Aubert Compassion Centre director Francis Fanning.

Fanning said a key part of that plan would be to turn the Home of Compassion creche, which was built by Mother Aubert in 1914 for low-income mothers, into a centre dedicated to her.

The process by which Aubert would be made a saint is well advanced.

Should she become New Zealand’s first saint, Fanning says said the city needed to be ready for the influx of pilgrim tourists.

“I can see Wellington could attract quite a number of pilgrims who would visit the city she worked in most of her life.”

He compared the opportunity for Wellington  the that which was created when Australian nun Mary MacKillop was made a saint.

It led to a boom in pilgrim tourism in Melbourne.

But there’s a problem – the current plan for the building, which was moved to Memorial Park in 2014, is for it to be made an education centre focused on World War I.

NZ Transport Agency offered the creche to Wellington City Council for $1 last year, but the offer was declined.

“It seems it’s a little strange that a woman who was known for her work with Maori and the disadvantaged should have her building used in association with war,” said Fanning.


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