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Historic Waihi church with $1 reserve sells for $11k

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HISTORIC: St James Presbyterian Church Waihi is up for sale with a $1 reserve. PHOTO/FILE
HISTORIC: St James Presbyterian Church Waihi is up for sale with a $1 reserve. PHOTO/FILE

A 110-year-old church up for sale with a $1 reserve has sold to the highest bidder online.

The St James Presbyterian Church building in Waihi was listed for sale on Trade Me. The auction closed shortely after 11am when the church sold for $11,100 from a total of 115 bids.

The church, made of heart rimu, was built in 1905 but has not been used since 2012 when an engineer's report found it only had 8 per cent of the strength of buildings built to the current earthquake safety standard but it is listed as a heritage building so it can't be knocked down.

The church is listed as a Category A heritage feature by Hauraki District Council so demolition is not allowed. It is also listed as a Category 2 historic place by Heritage New Zealand.

To undertake demolition, the church must be de-listed and gain approval from the council. Reverend Rhys Pearson has written to Heritage New Zealand to request the de-listing.

Session clerk Charles Mcdonald said the building needed extensive work which he estimated could cost millions and could not be paid for by the church.

Mr Mcdonald said the building had no foundations, no bracing, had borer in the wood and the roof was probably due to be replaced.

"We just don't have the money," he said.

Instead the church is asking someone to remove it from the Moresby Ave site, give it a new home and restore it.

The church had advertised the building through local newspapers and have now turned to Trade Me.

The listing said the church was willing to gift the building to anyone interested in giving it a new home. As at 4.30pm on Wednesday bidding for the building had reached $122.

St James Presbyterian Church
- Built in heart rimu with a corrugated iron roof
- Built in 1905 and opened in 1906
- Constructed in a cathedral cross configuration
- The building is 26.5m long and 15.5m wide

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