St John's in the City re-opens


St John’s in the City, Wellington, the Category 1 listed Presbyterian Church, has celebrated its reopening after nearly two years of earthquake strengthening.

The $6.5 million cost was met by generous pledges from current and former congregation members, as well as Wellington City Council and Government grants. 

LT McGuinness undertook the work, along with Dunning Thornton Architects and BECA as project managers, all with extensive experience working on heritage buildings. Built of kauri, totara and rimu in 1886, the church at the corner of Willis and Dixon Streets is one of the oldest large inner-city timber buildings in Wellington. It is celebrated nationally as an example of Gothic style in timber and was designed by Thomas Turnbull. 

“The earthquake strengthening of the St John’s Church is an act of faith,” says Reverend Allister Lane, the Minister of St John’s. 

“It’s a collective effort, characterised by teamwork, flexibility, and generosity.” 

The strengthening brings the church up to 70% of current building standards. 

Re-opening the church, Wellington Mayor Andy Foster said St John’s in the City has remained an important feature of Wellington. 

“This seisimic strengthening project has been completed by a church communituy that is strengthening itself and its building, and therby becoming more resilient. This is worth celebrating for the contribution this makes to a more resilient city. We all benefit when we are able to look after each other.”