Timaru’s Basilica to get $3.9m earthquake upgrade


A $3.9 million upgrade of Timaru’s Sacred Heart Basilica aims to strengthen the building and protect it against future earthquakes.

Sacred Heart Parish council chairman Gary Shand said after the Canterbury earthquakes the church realised the building was not completely earthquake-proof and needed to be bolstered.

The main work will focus on putting steel structures and extra layers of concrete into areas of the Basilica to make it more stable.

The project had been given the go-ahead because the parish community had managed to raise $1 million of the $1.6 million it needed to contribute.

Along with this, and money kept aside, the Catholic Diocese will contribute close to $700,000 towards the project, but more was still needed.

With $600,000 still to be raised in Timaru, the parish was hoping businesses and the wider community would get involved.

“What we’ve got to push to the community is that it’s used for community events,” Shand said.

“If we can get to the $1.6 million, we’d be really happy.”

Other possible ideas to raise funds included a pre-closure concert and giving guided tours of the Basilica, although Shand was not sure about going up on the roof.

In an earlier 2015 report, the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch’s property and development manager Keith Beal said the cost of three possible schemes ranged between $5 million and $10 million.

However, he said those were very early estimates from the surveyors and the extent of the schemes would be looked at in more detail.


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