Erskine College tumbles to make way for town houses


Demolition of the imposing Erskine College buildings in Island Bay, Wellington, is underway.

96 townhouses are to be constructed on the site.

As part of the overall development, the chapel is to be restored at the cost of $7 million.

Development manager Earl Hope-Pearson said the feeling was positive as work was able to begin.

“After 18 years of ownership from the Wellington Company, and various court cases, we’re finally working.”

Parts of the chapel, which is yet to be strengthened, have been protected from construction.

Heritage items have been taken out of the chapel and put into a secret location so that they’re protected.

Some religious icons in the chapel were destroyed by vandals in 2016.

Strengthening of the chapel was expected to start in August or September, said Hope-Pearson.

When the restoration is completed, it will be used for funerals, weddings and other functions.

The project has been predicted to cost $30m, but Hope-Pearson did not have a final total cost of the development.

The eventual development of the site would accommodate about 250 people.

Erskine College was built in 1906 by the Society of the Sacred Heart and was a Catholic girls’ boarding school until 1985.

An Environment Court decision recognised the college was of “outstanding heritage significance.”

However, it approved the demolition of the convent and school buildings.

But a condition of the Environment Court consent was that the chapel must be strengthened before any other work, including demolition, can take place.

The decision said: “The chapel, main building, and Reverend Mother’s Garden are of special architectural, cultural, social, technical and aesthetic significance.

“The chapel is the finest neo-Gothic interior in New Zealand. The Reverend Mother’s Garden is a garden space with high values.”


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