by Al Williams
Historic Burkes Pass buildings are being rescued by a trust that is looking for more hands that care.
The Burkes Pass Heritage Trust has been given $2000 in Mackenzie District Council heritage protection funding towards 60% of the estimated cost to replace the roof of the historic Alma Cottage.
Trust chairwoman Jane Batchelor one of a group of five cob buildings in the Burkes Pass valley and “possibly one of the best preserved cob buildings still lived in, in the country”.
“It is listed on the heritage schedule of the council who encourage owners of these special buildings by providing a fund which is available for projects that enhance their heritage value,” Mrs Batchelor said.
“This recognises that heritage is valuable and a benefit to the community and that it can make a huge difference to owners if their efforts are seen to be appreciated.
“It also means that owners are more likely to make repairs or alterations in an appropriate, thoughtful manner that improves, rather than degrades the heritage nature of the building.”
Alma Cottage has been recognised by Heritage New Zealand as a category 2 building.
A covenant was registered on the title which gave it the highest level of protection a building could have in New Zealand, Mrs Batchelor said.
“We are aware that it is a treasure and have collected many stories and photographs from its previous owners and visitors that we are always pleased to share.”
Records showed it was built in the 1870s by Bridget and James Keeffe Zealand from London with their baby daughter, Alice. They later had 10 children.
Mrs Batchelor said the trust planned to replace the roof this summer.
“It will require some good weather, dry with no big winds and availability of friends or family to give us a hand.”
Anyone keen to help or find out more about the Burkes Pass Heritage Trust is encouraged to go to the group’s website, www.burkespass.org.nz, or its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/burkespassht.