Otahuna Lodge today re-opens its doors and extends a very warm welcome to its first guests four months after the 7.1-magnitude earthquake in Canterbury, New Zealand.
The earthquake restoration programme of 115-year-old Otahuna is thus far the most advanced undertaken to any heritage building in the wider Canterbury region. A daily average of more than 40 tradesmen, engineers and architects have been working onsite since September, focusing on roof repairs, seismic strengthening and the re-creation - in both brick and lightweight construction - of Otahuna's eleven Victorian stepped chimneys.
"Our goal in rebuilding the chimneys in such a fashion was of course to recreate the original architectural whimsy of their respective profiles," says Managing Director Hall Cannon, "while also recording the effects of such a major event on the building's celebrated history. Our vision for Otahuna has always been for the property to shine as an example of how careful architectural conservation can enrich a contemporary environment."
All of Otahuna's 15 wood-burning fireplaces, including 8 in the Lodge's suites, have been restored to their previous condition.
"The team is thrilled to be resuming normal operations and looking after our guests as before," says Cannon. "We would like to thank our guests too, many of whom have postponed their holiday in order to be able to include a stay at Otahuna after our 10th January re-opening."