Historic St David’s faces demolition because of strict earthquake standards.

A church whose congregation helped to shape Auckland is facing demolition after failing to meet new earthquake standards.

St David's Presbyterian Church, in Khyber Pass Rd, was built in 1927 of brick and Oamaru stone. It has a serene atmosphere with subdued light from stained glass windows erected in memory of parishioners who died in both world wars.

In its heyday, it held three services each Sunday for a congregation including business, trade union leaders and governors-general.

However, St David's minister Doug Lendrum said an initial assessment showed the building was at only 28 per cent of the earthquake design strength of the new building standard. The standard expected is 34 per cent.

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"We have major concerns and we are looking at options," said Mr Lendrum.

One option was to apply for resource consent to demolish the building and use the site for a 420-pupil Presbyterian Primary School for years 1 to 8. The parish was awaiting approval to explore that option from the Presbyterian Church Property Trustees as legal owners.

"St David's people have played a significant role in the establishment of Auckland from the mid-1800s and we think that heritage is the congregation's legacy and we want to recapture that opportunity of contributing to the city through a primary school."

Mr Lendrum said it was not known how much it would cost to bring the church to the required standard without a detailed report.

"The reality is any refurbishment of the church will be astronomically expensive and we have no money and a dwindling congregation."

A group called "Friends of St David's" is registering a charitable trust to support its restoration and the creation of the new school. Founder Paul Baragwanath said the church could become the heart and soul of the new school and wider community.

The Herald understands that Auckland's regional heritage organisation has asked for St David's to be considered for addition to the Auckland Council's heritage protection list.

For more go to: saintdavidsfriends.org.nz

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