Published on : Thursday, December 21, 2017
It is an example of Edwardian Baroque architecture, which is almost unrivalled in the Manawatū town.
But unless the Government of New Zealand lengthens the timelines for commercial building owners to undertake earthquake strengthening, Feilding is at risk of being boarded up and left abandoned.
Owner David Wiseman is pleading to officials to allow him, and others in the town, to upgrade their buildings in incremental stages or risk depleting the heart and soul of rural town centres.
With the introduction of the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016, New Zealand has been categorised into three seismic risk areas – high, medium and low – with a focus on vulnerable buildings and safety.
Both Manawatū and Rangitīkei districts have been labelled high risk areas.
There are new laws, introduced on July 1 this year, mean councils and building owners in high-risk areas must complete inspections of priority earthquake-prone buildings by the end of December 2019.
Owners of high-priority buildings will then have seven-and-a-half years to either strengthen or demolish the building.
This abandoned hotel is constructed of bricks, with concrete foundations, a native timber interior and a corner, stained-glass window.
The alterations to the exterior have resulted in several windows being replaced with aluminium, removal of the parapet handrail, and an ornate cast iron verandah being replaced by a cantilevered wrought iron balcony.
Only the base of the original scrolled cupola – or ‘Feilding Hotel’ dome on the roof – remains. Before TV Brown built the Feilding Hotel in 1875, patrons walked or rode the thirst-provoking distance to Awahuri if they wanted alcohol.
The hotel was badly damaged in 1909 and 1910 by fires. In the first fire, fireman Douglas Williamson died.