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Beautiful chapel ready for opening

ChapelThe building of a replacement for the 74-year-old chapel at the Hastings Cemetery is complete, with an official opening scheduled for Friday (July 6).

The design of the front of the building reflects the façade of the original which is an important nod to history, said Hawke’s Bay Crematorium Committee chairman and Hastings District councillor Malcolm Dixon.

The historic building was found to be earthquake prone in 2012. The need to replace it meant the less-than-ideal layout of the original could also be addressed and the capacity increased. The new building can comfortably fit 100 people, with more able to gather on a covered outdoor deck.

The layout allows all of the congregation to see the lectern during a funeral; not possible with the old T-section design.

“It has been a fascinating project, not least because of the discovery of historic documents in the old building’s walls, put in there by the builders during the original construction in 1944,” Mr Dixon said.

The pieces of paper, listing the names of the workers and carrying a message detailing the progress of World War II and the price of food, have pride of place behind glass in the new building.

Mr Dixon and fellow committee member and Hastings councillor Kevin Watkins took a tour of the new building as the construction work was finished off yesterday [June 29].

Mr Dixon said the finished building is everything they had hoped it would be. “This is a real asset for our community. It is light, bright and warm, while retaining the atmosphere of the original building. We are very pleased.”

Mr Watkins said the “critically important facility” recognised the heritage of the site. “In everything we do, we aim to treasure our history and I think the redevelopment of this building is a very fine example of that.”

The Hawke’s Bay Crematorium Committee, which manages the crematorium and chapel, is made up of representatives from the Hastings, Napier and Central Hawke’s Bay councils.

The chapel is available for use from Monday, July 2.

29 June 2018

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