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Passion project . . . Anna Miles and Michael Simpson inside the old Kakanui Church. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

The old Kakanui church needs your help.

After buying the nearly 150-year-old building in November last year, Waimate couple Anna Miles and Michael Simpson have set about preserving it and are applying to have it listed as a historic place with Heritage New Zealand.

Support from the local community was a key part of the application process, Ms Miles said.

“What would be ideal for us is to get members of the public to get in touch with us .. saying they support the idea of it being listed with Heritage New Zealand and the reasons why it’s important within the Kakanui community.

“If it’s with Heritage New Zealand, it becomes recognised as a place of significance in New Zealand’s heritage.”

Listing the church, designed by renowned Scottish architect Robert Lawson, would help secure its future, Ms Miles said.

“It goes back to being one of the early buildings in Kakanui and it’s a link to the early settlement of North Otago.

“It’s got a lot to give, I think.”

Increasing the building’s eligibility for funding was not the motivation for the application.

“We think that it is a significant heritage building and it needs to be recognised.

“Our whole thing with this building is to restore it and have it preserved for the future.”

Since the couple bought the church, they have been mainly working on waterproofing and bird-proofing the exterior, and assessing structural needs.

“There are some ugly bits under there but we were kind of expecting them.

“One awesome thing is we managed to get up into the roof space of what we call the Sunday School.

“That’s a 1933 addition at the back and where it’s butted on it still has the original paint scheme, which is amazing because then we will be able to colour-match with the original colours.”

Ms Miles and Mr Simpson are also seeking photos, particularly of the inside of the church, to assist with the restoration process.

They are also interested to hear any stories people have about the church.

To write a letter of support for the project, or share photos, email kakanuichurch@gmail.com.