An idea of the time and care needed to complete Rotorua Museum's earthquake strengthening can be gauged at upcoming film screenings.

Friends of Rotorua Museum is holding two screenings of a documentary on the rebuild of St Mary of the Angels Church.

They will be held on May 12 and May 16 at the Rotorua Lakes Council chamber.

The documentary allows the viewer to look through the eyes of architects, builders and craftsmen as they carry out the work of strengthening the historical Wellington church.

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Friends of Rotorua Museum member Julie Parsons says the group decided to show the documentary to help illustrate the challenges of earthquake strengthening an historic landmark building, with similar complexity to Rotorua Museum.

"By showing the film we hope to explain some of the reasons why a project of this type takes time and needs to be completed with care."

She says there are many similarities in the St Mary of the Angels project when compared to the Bath House building, home to Rotorua Museum.

The Bath House building - opened in 1908 - is only 14 years older than the St Marys rebuilt building (opened 1922) and both are excellent examples of unique styles of architecture, she says.

Julie says both buildings have category one classification bestowed by Heritage New Zealand, and so any construction or design decisions need to be made in close consultation with them.

Internal strengthening work on St Mary of the Angels. Photo / Society of Mary
Internal strengthening work on St Mary of the Angels. Photo / Society of Mary

"The film is a unique and interesting look at a project of this magnitude through the eyes of architects, builders and craftsmen as they carry out earthquake strengthening."

St Mary of the Angels Church in Wellington was originally established in 1843. Over 30 years the church was enlarged several times.

Unfortunately, fire destroyed the church on May 28, 1918.

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The new French Gothic Church was designed by Frederick de Jersey Clere who had won much respect in recent years for the in excess of 100 churches he designed.

The new church was opened on March 26, 1922 by Archbishop Redwood SM.

Several periods of restoration and strengthening have taken place since the 1950s, and have seen St Mary of the Angels as the world's first neo-Gothic church built using reinforced concrete construction.

For more information contact Julie Parsons, phone (07) 351 7823 or email Julie.parsons@rotorualc.nz.

The details
- What: Film - St Mary of the Angels - Screenings
- When: Sunday May 12, 2pm and Thursday May 16, 5.30pm
- Where: Rotorua Lakes Council, Chamber, 1061 Haupapa St
- Cost: Free for Friends of the Museum members or koha