Seismic shift in church earthquake rating

Of 75 buildings in the Wairarapa tagged as ‘high seismic risk’, civic officials have listed St Patrick’s Church in Masterton as one of six deserving priority attention.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise (MBIE) rates St Patrick’s as only 26% NBS compliant (New Building Standard).

Church engineers originally rated the building at a much safer 49%.

The new public compliance level has surprised some who attended Mass at St Patrick’s.

“From 49% to just 26%, there’s something amiss there,” Mary Ann told CathNews.

“It’s quite serious, they’ve based their advice to the Cardinal on wrong figures,” she said.

Like other churches in the parish, Mary Ann is concerned the 26% rating will make the Masterton church too risky for parishioners to attend Mass.

The change in earthquake seismic rating comes amidst a time of significant change in the Wairarapa Catholic communities.

With three churches closed and up for sale, and now St Patrick’s new seismic rating, it leaves Mary Ann less sure about the future of the Masterton Catholic Church.

The parish plan is to have Mass available at Featherston and Masterton.

It is a move parishioners have questioned.

When asked for input the parish said it preferred a 5 church community model.

Pat, a Featherston parishioner wonders if it is a chance to relook at things.

He laments the loss of the local community and wonders if ‘Masterton’ understands.

“I don’t see why the priest can’t promote the local community and come to the people rather than all the community travel to where the priest is”.

A pragmatist, Pat admits his concerns may not eventuate.

After the merger of the five communities in 2014, by land area, the Wairarapa parish is the largest of the Archdiocese’s parishes.

While the church has changed, diverse in nature, the small civic communities remain.

“Local community matters.

“Interesting model, this church one,” Pat says, a little tongue in cheek.

He gets on with his day.



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