The Durie Hill Elevator is getting a new entrance feature for its 101st birthday.
Its 100th year was celebrated in 2019, and the Whanganui Regional Heritage Trust wanted to celebrate by revamping its Anzac Pde entrance.
The trust raised $245,000 to pay for the design and construction, and hopes work will start soon and be finished before the end of the year.
The project was led by trustees - the late Bruce Falk, Ann McNamara and Mary-Ann Ewing. After Falk's death, Bruce Dickson and Denis McGowan stepped in.
There was a low-key competition for the design. It was chosen by trustees and by voters at the trust's Home Show stall.
The winner is graduate architect Henry Dickson, the grandson of trustee Bruce Dickson. The design is low-maintenance, with a pergola of metal alloy. New interpretive signs will be added on its walls.
A pou will be carved and added later, as funds permit.
Future additions could be a bicycle rack for Mountains to Sea riders who stop for a look, and storage lockers for luggage.
The former entrance carvings, done by Austin Brassell, have been ceremonially removed and are stored by local Iwi. When work begins, Whanganui District Council will oversee the demolition and construction.
The project has the support of iwi, council and the Step Up Durie Hill group. The New Zealand Lottery Grants Board provided $140,000 for it, with the Four Regions Trust and Whanganui District Council each providing $50,000.
A fundraising dinner at the Red Lion Inn raised another $3500.
The elevator is the only one of its kind in New Zealand, and one of only two in the world that service hill suburbs. The other is in Lisbon, Portugal.
The elevator is a Heritage New Zealand Category 1 historic place. It is Whanganui's number one tourist attraction and takes an average of 3129 people for a ride each month.