The Deacons Court of First Church has agreed to hold a Public Appeal for Funding towards the

Restoration of the First Church Spire. Applications are being made to various trusts.

The total cost of this work is estimated to be in the region of $600,000

TO DONATE TO THIS APPEAL post to First Church Office, PO BOX 374 Dunedin (cheques payable to First  Church of Otago Restoration)name and address for a receipt please

 For paying into First Church Bank account :

BANK ACCOUNT WESTPAC  03 0905 0933091-00( name for receipt –  please email  your address  to

Please note all donations are eligible for tax rebates)


In November 2016 it became apparent that some of the masonry was becoming unstable on the spire. Prompt action was taken to erect a protective shield above the main entrance to  ensure the safety of the church members and the public.

A very large crane with an extending jib was hired and our engineer, architect and a stone mason entered a special cage and examined the spire. It was then reported to First Church Property Committee that the Oamaru stone work needed to be safely restored. A protective fence has been erected around the area and scaffolding erected around the entire spire. The report noted considerable damage to the stonework and mortar on the spire. – Work has now commenced to restore the damaged Spire.

Upkeep   Maintenance of First Church building is ongoing and in recent years some of the larger  projects have been completed with money raised by various Trusts and First Church  congregation donations.

Some projects over recent years include:

  • Restoration of the Building in 1992/93 $1.5million
  • Carpeting the church building $65,000
  • Restoring the entrance gates and iron fence around First Church at a cost of $50,000 (almost completed.)
  • Security System $35,000
  • Earthquake strengthening for church building completed 2017 $233,052
  • First Church works committee is constantly repairing and improving aspects of the   building and grounds. The costs of maintenance is always rising with compliance fees ( $10,000 annually approx.), insurance ($35,000 year approx. ) and surprises such as burst pipes and electrical faults etc appear in a building of such age, regularly   demanding attention.

 Heritage Centre – The Heritage Centre at the back of First Church (opened in 1998) is manned by volunteers and over 15,000 people annually go into the Centre from all parts of the world. (In this year’s tourist season some 5000 leaflets in Chinese were taken by visitors to the Church – almost more than were taken in English. This if nothing else reflects the extremely   cosmopolitan nature of the people who crowd the streets of Dunedin – especially in  summer). We also print our brochures in French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and German.

We have regular parties on educational visits from as far afield as Timaru and Balclutha, along with local schools. As well we have a constant stream of genealogists enquiring of us; even from the other side of the world. Cruise ship and Otago  museum heritage walking tours , are also regularly through the building. Many more people go through the church and use the church grounds ( which form an oasis of calm in the centre of our city).

All of this is maintained by a small and aging  congregation, who constantly rise to the next  challenge this historic building (dating from 1873)        demands.






Comments are closed.