May I especially welcome your Excellencies back to Christchurch.
Thank you both for returning so soon after the first South Island Investiture Ceremony to be held here for many years.
And thank you also for the opportunity to show you around Turanga
before coming here to reopen the Nurses’ Memorial Chapel.
These two places have enabled us to showcase the very best of the old and the new to you today - regeneration both as restoration and new growth.
The Nurses’ Memorial Chapel has truly survived against the odds. Proposals by previous hospital boards to demolish it in the 1970s and the 1980s, were successfully opposed, and the damage inflicted by the major earthquakes of 2010-2011 have led to the outstanding restoration we see before us today.
The project team tell me that restoring the chapel has been a challenging and meticulous process and although time does not allow a detailed summary of the work they have done, consider the fact that the original roof wasn’t tied in to the rest of the building, and bricks were layered on top of each other and not interlocked.
The original panelling, parquet flooring and other interior fittings were able to be reinstated true to form - the parquet floor was numbered so each block could be put back in its original place. New roof slates were cut to match the existing ones. And the exterior red brick lintels were produced locally to replace the existing damaged ones.
But the outstanding feature of the chapel the beautiful stained glass windows which commemorate pioneering nurses. We are going to look at them and reflect on this memorial chapel’s unique place in the world, as I read to you the names of the people who helped to restore it to its former glory.
• Richard Bullett, Insight Unlimited
• Heritage Architect and Consultant Tony Ussher
• George Sinclair and Paul Houthuyzen, Beca
• John Radburn and Brigitte Mackey, also from Insight Unlimited
• Richard Weirsma, Michael Pepper and Cameron O’Keefe, main contractor Max Projects
• Quentin Cassidy, QC Stonemasons
• Graham Stewart – repair and reinstatement of the stained glass windows and completion of the new Hester Maclean stained glass window.
• James Herdman, Slate Roofing
• The Nurses’ Memorial Trust and the Friends of the Chapel
• Fiona Wykes and Brendan Smyth, Council’s Urban Regeneration, Urban Design and Heritage team
• George Schwass, Canterbury District Health Board Senior Operations Manager, for his collaboration between the Council and CDHB
• Richie Moyle, Council Heritage Programme Manager
This was a much loved venue for special events including the Royal NZ Nursing Corps annual ANZAC service, and it will be again, thanks to your efforts.
Could I invite you all to join with me and thank each and every one of them and their teams for their commitment to this project, which restores to us an important part of our history as we commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, and the Influenza pandemic that followed, and the tribute this building represents to the nurses who sacrificed their lives in the service of others.
No reira tena koutou, tena koutou, tena ra tatou katoa