No visitors today — or any day soon

The Bath House, home of Rotorua Museum, closed until further notice. Image: Su Leslie 2019

The 2016 earthquake centred around Kaikoura in the South Island, left its mark on many other parts of New Zealand.

Seven hundred kilometres away, the much-loved (and much-photographed) 1908 Bath House in Government Gardens, Rotorua, was deemed unsafe for use and closed for earthquake strengthening.

North Wing, The Bath House, Rotorua. Image: Su Leslie 2019

The processes of working out how strengthening can be done, how long it will take — and how much it will cost — are underway.

Meanwhile, there are no visitor voices in the rather lovely galleries, and no footsteps on the parquet floors.

Posted to Silent Sunday

35 thoughts on “No visitors today — or any day soon

  1. What a lovely building Su, I do hope they restore it. We are having the same problem with the Prime Minister’s residence on Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Canada. It wasn’t an earth quake that caused it either, it was neglect. These old buildings are part of our heritage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Seven hundred kilometres away? Really? Such a shame the earthquake had an effect on what looks like an Arts and Crafts designed building. You have to wonder how many more buildings are unsafe within that range! A lot of people’s homes I imagine!

    Liked by 1 person

    • After the Kairoura earthquake, there was a major reassessment of the Earthquake Code, with both tougher requirements, and an updating of the level of risk in different parts of the country. Lots of public and commercial buildings in both North and South Island towns have been shut for repair. The deadline for earthquake strengthening is 2030, and the costs will be prohibitive for many landlords, especially in small towns where rents aren’t high enough to cover the cost. So within 20 years, a lot of NZs heritage architecture will probably disappear.
      In general, houses are much safer because they tend to be timber-framed and have little or no masonry.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds like you need a lot of fund raising! It would be a dreadful shame to lose buildings like this one and if they aren’t open then they can’t collect any revenue and are more likely to fall into disrepair. I understand the H&S issues but then the government needs to put some money behind the scheme. Do you have a National Heritage organisation in NZ?

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not crazy about it, but there really isn’t anywhere in NZ that’s totally immune. Auckland is in a very low earthquake zone (relative to further south), but we’re built on a massive volcanic field. The last major eruption was about 600 years ago and we got a whole new island in the Hauraki Gulf out of it!


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