by ROWENA OREJANA
AUCKLAND — St Patrick’s Cathedral is embarking on a $67,000 project to restore its 100-year-old kauri doors to their former glory.
Dubbed the “doors of faith” by cathedral administrator Msgr Bernard Kiely, the 21 big wooden doors have been damaged by the weather.
Cathedral manager Kevin Sherlock said: “Some people might ask why we are doing the doors so soon after we’ve had the restoration and opened our doors in 2007. It’s just been a function of the weathering that has happened over time, particularly to the main porch doors that face to the west. The afternoon sun has been particularly hard on the doors.”
Mr Sherlock said that in the middle of last year they engaged
heritage architect Peter Reed of Salmond Reed Architects Ltd
to do the schedule and specification for the repairs. The
restoration and repair started on February 24 with two sets of
doors on the south porch.
There are nine sets of double doors and three single doors
around the cathedral. Each door was inspected for damage to
timber, handles and the hinges.
“The top is exposed to the sun and the rain and once you get moisture in there, it tends to trickle down within the wood
and it can be quite damaging.
They’ll have to replace some of the timber,” he said. To prevent
this in the future, the tops of the doors will be capped with
The cathedral received a grant of $30,000 from the ASB Community Trust. The other half of the project will be financed through fundraising.
“We’ve had one $2000 donation to date. And we’ve got one
of the donation boxes at the porch of the church set up with
a poster where people can make donations to the project. And
we’re also looking at trying to organise a sponsorship package
where an individual or a family can sponsor a door or a set of
doors being restored.”
Mr Sherlock said they will study the possibility of putting
donors’ names on brass plaques on the doors.
The cathedral has a 15 year long-term maintenance plan
drawn up by Opus Consultants four years ago. “The big
restoration was a very expensive project and we don’t want
the cathedral to fall into the disrepair it was before the
restoration. We want to stay on top of things via a planned
maintenance programme,” Mr Sherlock said.
He admitted the restoration of the doors came earlier than
planned. “They are old kauri doors. The ones on the nave,
or the main body of the church, they date back to the 1880s.
The ones on the transepts dates back to the 1908 period. Essentially, they’ve just become too weatherworn,” he said.