WelCom August 2023
Running a project to strengthen and refurbish a Grade 1 listed heritage site, requires much more than technical skill.
To succeed, there has to be a personal commitment to the project, a willingness to perse-vere despite unforeseen obstacles and an appreciation of heritage for both the present and the future.
Our Cathedral has such a person in Jane Kelly.
Jane is a director in Team Architects, a group of nine independent architect companies, their combination of skills enabling them to lead a variety of specialised projects through-out New Zealand.
But Jane is also a parishioner of Sacred Heart Cathedral parish. She and Murray were married in the Cathedral and Jane participates in the parish liturgy committee. Her vested interest in the Cathedral project caused her to withdraw from involvement with parish finances.
The Cathedral and parish have been Jane’s spiritual home for over 20 years, giving her a unique insight into the significance of this Grade 1 heritage building, as a place of worship and a cultural treasure for Wellington city and beyond.
‘I’m working alongside people who really care about what they’re doing,’ she told me. ‘From the main contractors, LT McGuinness, the engineers, heritage architects, painters, stonemasons and steelworkers, there is a great sense of pulling together. This is more than a job for any of us.’
Beginning in 2018, Jane did not anticipate the project would still be going five years later. But she sees this as a ‘once-in-a-career’ project and would very happily do it again!
‘While earthquake strengthening was our primary task, it brought to light considerable structural and maintenance issues that couldn’t be ignored.’
Government assistance through the ‘Shovel-Ready’ grants, occasioned by the pandemic, provided the opportunity to solve long-term problems.
‘People will be surprised and delighted with the results,’ she assured me. ‘The stonework is particularly fascinating.’
There is hope that the Cathedral could reopen for Christmas this year.
Aware of some criticism over the decision to keep the Cathedral, I asked Jane for her thoughts.
‘The Cathedral is much more than a parish church,’ she replied. ‘You have to take into ac-count the history of this place, the ceremonies and events over more than a century, the quality of the building itself and what it means to our Archdiocese.
‘We do not honour those who have gone before us or those who will follow us by simply walking away.’
Jane Kelly specialises in the restoration of heritage housing and in the design of innovative aged-care facilities, including one at the Home of Compassion, Silverstream. In 2022, she was made a Fellow of the Te Kahui Whaihanga NZ Institute of Architects.
You can donate to the Cathedral Restoration Fund by Internet Banking to: Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish A/c: 02-0506-0138488-025 | Particulars (your surname and initials) | Code (your phone no) Reference (Reopen)