It was a very special weekend for Ryman Healthcare’s Jane Winstone Retirement Village as the restoration work on the iconic chapel was recognised in the Whanganui Regional Heritage Awards.
The village, located on Oakland Avenue, Whanganui, is unique in Ryman’s portfolio. The village was built on the historic Sacred Heart college site and included a very special chapel in need of some repair.
The chapel was built in 1918 but closed in 2012 for extensive strengthening work. Ryman Healthcare paid for the $1 million restoration as part of its commitment to the Sisters of St Joseph when it took over guardianship of the building.
Ryman honoured a “handshake deal’’ to preserve the gothic-style chapel which is regarded as one of Whanganui’s architectural treasures.
Then chief executive Simon Challies said at the time that while it was a significant cost, Ryman had made a promise that the chapel would stay.
The work, carried out by contractor DML Builders of Whanganui, meant the safety rating was lifted at least 75 per cent, well above the 33 per cent required.
Interior work of the chapel was completed in time for a Christmas Eve Carol service in 2013. Since then, the chapel has become a staple feature for Sunday services, and Easter and Christmas celebrations.
At the Whanganui Regional Heritage Awards, Jane Winstone Village received two awards, 1st equal for Public Realm – Saved & Restored, and Merit for the Seismic category.
Village Manager Lisa Puklowski celebrates the win!
Jane Winstone Village Manager Lisa Puklowski, who put the entry together, was delighted by the recognition of the chapel that is the heart of their community.
“It was a fun night of glitz and glam, we knew we were a finalist and up against some fierce competition,” she said.
“I was honoured to accept two awards for the Jane Winstone chapel on behalf of Ryman.
Our chapel is an establishment that we are particularly proud of at Jane Winstone and it holds a special place in many people’s hearts.
“Our residents are feeling extremely proud and are looking forward to celebrating at an extra special happy hour this week in honour of our chapel.”
The Jane Winstone Retirement Village was built in 2006. It was named in honour of Whanganui’s Jane Winstone, a pioneering Kiwi aviator who died in World War 2 when the engine of her Spitfire failed.
The Whanganui Regional Heritage Awards began in 2020 with the idea of promoting and celebrating heritage retention, conservation and education in the Whanganui, Ruapehu and Rangitikei districts.