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Iona Church: Clock Restoration

The historic Iona Church at Port Chalmers, dating from the 1870s with additions during the 1880s, is undergoing a massive restoration process. Built from Port Chalmers bluestone and Oamaru stone and featuring kauri beams and woodwork and stained glass windows, this prominent landmark holds a Heritage New Zealand Category 1 heritage listing.

Since 1998, Salmond Reed has been actively involved, along with the Historic Iona Church Restoration Trust, in the quest to ensure that the main structure of Iona Church is secure and that the building will be brought up to an acceptable level of earthquake protection.
As a result, about $2 million worth of conservation, repair work and earthquake strengthening of the church began in June 2012.

The earliest stage of the works was concentrated on the church's bell tower which, with extreme exposure to weather in its coastal location, has eroded over time and was most in need of repair.

Coupled with this has been the restoration, as closely as possible to its original state, of the distinctive town clock which was installed c.1885. 

Many specialist trades were required for the precision work involved and while mainly traditional materials have been to the forefront, it has also included the use of modern materials to ensure that important features of the building survive into the future. For example in the restoration of the clock, clear epoxy resin has been used to bridge the gaps on the numerals which mark the four clock faces. With no models for the work of this kind, methods had to be developed to suit the special requirements. The cast iron numerals and surrounds could not be sand blasted because of concerns that salt built up over the years would be blasted further into the cast-iron. Instead, the four 60kg cast-iron faces were removed for refurbishment. Wooden moulds were developed to hold the resin in place while it dried and, on completion, the resin was painted black to match the rest of the clock face. The clock face surfaces have themselves been restored using white flashed opal glass from France, precision cut and hand-fitted by a specialist glazier.


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