by ROWENA OREJANA
DUNEDIN — The last stage of the revitalisation of St Patrick’s Basilica, which will start towards the end of the year, is expected to cement its role as the hub of Catholic and community life in south Dunedin.
The final stage is expected to start towards the end of the year.
St Patrick’s parish priest Fr Gerard Aynsley told NZ Catholic that the diocese hopes to keep the cost at a low of $1.4 million. “One of the major components is that we have to bring it up to earthquake code. It is not as big a component as we thought it might be,” he said.
He added that the plans called for replacing the floor and putting in a heating system, removing the 1950s concrete porch, re-establishing the old entrance and glazing two arches to
bring in more light.
“At the moment, people come in through the concrete porch. That’s going to get removed. Macandrew Rd gets quite cold and windswept, so we’ll sort of redirect people into another part of the building,” he added.
The new entrance will also contain kitchen facilties, toilets, an office space and a gathering space for up to 100 people.
Fr Aynsley said they also hope to change the layout of the basilica. “One of the negative things about the basilica is the pillars. When people end up sitting behind them, they can’t
see anything. We hope to recreate the inside so that as many people as possible can have a good line of sight to the altar,” he said.
The two completed stages of the renovations had been very successful, said Fr Aynsley. “St Patrick is in the heart of south Dunedin so there are lots of MacDonalds and shops and
stuff around. But also a lot of small little cottages without backyards. What
we’ve built here is a park where workers can come to take their lunch and sit in the sun. But maybe not today,” he remarked, as the day was chilly. “But even for the wider community to come and use the park. It’s used a lot.”
He said the diocese has been receiving funding and still has $400,000 of the funds raised for stages one and two of the renovation.
“The basilica here is really quite a significant church for a lot of Catholics over the years. In its day, it is what is really the hub of Catholic life all down here. So maybe Catholic people all over the country will identify with St Patrick’s Basilica. We’re hoping people
will see it and say boy, I’d would like to support that,” he said.
Those who would like to help can post their donations to: St Patrick’s Redevelopment
Committee, 24 Forbury Rd, Dunedin 9012, or visit the website www.dspa.org.nz.
by ROWENA OREJANA