The importance of restoring and investing in heritage buildings will be the topic of a panel discussion at the Old Masonic Hall in Warkworth on Friday May 20, 6.30pm to 8.30pm.
The event is a fundraiser for the Warkworth Town Hall restoration and will include a panel with a range of experts and locals who are passionate about heritage buildings.
The panel will be chaired by international actress Ilona Rodgers, who chairs the Warkworth Town Hall Restoration Trust and will feature Auckland Notable Properties Trust founder Steve Bielby. Mr Bielby’s family founded Target Furniture and the business helps fund the trust’s work, which includes restoring the St James theatre in Auckland.
Mr Bielby says restoring historic buildings has to ensure the buildings are adapted to modern uses and don’t remain derelict and short on funding.
“I’m supportive of saving buildings where possible, but we’ve also got to evolve and develop,” Mr Bielby says. “Historic buildings add a lot of character and are part of the visual fabric of our communities, but there’s no point restoring museum pieces that won’t be used.
“It sounds like the Warkworth community has fought hard to retain the town hall and it’s great that Auckland Council has supported the initiative.”
The St James restoration is expected to cost $60 million. Council has agreed to fund $15 million and Mr Bielby hopes a further $15 to $20 million will come from the Government and other public funds. The remainder will be raised privately.
“I hope the project will be completed in the next three years.”
The panel will also include Antony Matthews, from Matthews and Matthews Architects, who designed the town hall restoration project; Mahurangi Kindergarten teacher and restoration advocate Sarah Clark; Chocolate Brown owner Susan Vize, who restored a historic building in Martinborough; and Hugh Gladwell, who played a leading role in restoring the Jane Gifford.
Town Hall Fundraising team chair Glennys Oliver says the event will be a chance to promote and celebrate Warkworth’s architectural heritage.
“We want to bring the public together around the pride in our historic buildings,” Ms Oliver says. “ There are a lot of groups doing great work to retain and restore the heritage features of the town, from the Jane Gifford to the Old Cement Works and that brings a range of benefits.”
Tickets $20, includes supper.
Tickets are available at Mahurangi Matters office, 17 Neville Street, Warkworth, or contact Glennys on 0274 438 026 or 09 945 0512 or Cunitia 425 5800