In July 2018 the Metropolitan Cathedral, a Category I heritage listed building was deemed earthquake prone and The Parish Leadership Team chose to close the Cathedral immediately in the interest of safety for parishioners and the public.
The difficult decision to close came after months of work by engineering firm Dunning Thornton Consultants who were engaged to provide a detailed structural assessment (DSA) of the building.
The Cathedral, designed by architect Francis Petre was opened in 1901 and in contrast to most other Wellington churches it’s classical rather than Gothic styling has made it a prominent building on the Thorndon landscape. The Cathedral is one of only a few fine examples of Petre’s work still standing today.
In the 1980s the Cathedral was strengthened and the complex enlarged to include the foyer, Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and Conolly Hall. This work was done well and the building elements that were strengthened remained rated well above the 33% minimum of NBS. However at roof level, ceiling diaphragms are insufficient to carry loads under the current building codes. This has resulted in their lower earthquake rating being applied to the building.
The closure came as a shock not only to the parishioners, but also the wider community. Many have found the Cathedral a place of spiritual enrichment, a place of beauty, and a place to take time out from busy city life. It’s fine acoustics and organ have also provided a home to musicians and community groups who have used it for concerts and recordings.
At present Team Architects and engineering firm Dunning Thornton have produced designs and estimates for the Cathedral strengthening. This combined with, organ refurbishment, and interior and exterior restoration form the goal we are striving towards. This project is likely to take several years and raising the funds for this essential work is now the priority. The Cathedral Parish needs your help to preserve this Wellington landmark.
Donations towards this project can be made here