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75 buildings’ hidden dangers revealed


A long-list of earthquake-prone buildings in Wairarapa have been published for the first time, including many in day-to-day use. Some affected occupants and owners have spoken out.

Dozens of Wairarapa properties are receiving priority attention on the government’s earthquake-prone building register.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Enterprise [MBIE] has made public reports on buildings nationwide.

MBIE rated 38 districts in a “high seismic-risk area”.

They range from the fiords of western Southland to Gisborne’s East Cape, taking in Wairarapa.

Of 75 buildings in the Wairarapa districts of Masterton, South Wairarapa. and Carterton tagged as risky, six have been identified as priorities.

Five of these are in Masterton, including the council-owned municipal buildings, and the others are four commercial buildings on the town’s main shopping centre, Queen St.

The sixth is a shop on Carterton’s High St North.

Priority buildings include those that are considered higher risk because of their construction, type, use or location. This includes buildings such as hospitals, schools and emergency centres.

Buildings come to the attention of Territorial Authorities [TAs] because they meet certain criteria that indicated that a building could potentially be earthquake-prone.

The TAs then contact the building owners, who have the building assessed.

Each building rated as a risk should be marked with a notice.


Alan Stewart is executive chairman of Hansells Masterton. His company’s State Highway 2 factory was one of the properties listed, although not a priority.

Stewart said the company received notice of repairs in October, from Masterton District Council, with a requirement to fix the issues raised within 15 years.

Having sold the company 20 years ago, Stewart repurchased the food manufacturers in 2016.

He said the priority was to service more immediate debts and keep the company buoyant.

But he said the strengthening was part of the company’s long term plans.

“When we took it over, we borrowed money to repurchase the business, and when that’s paid off, we’ll rip out the front of the building and bring it up to a higher standard.

“And certainly before 2035. But it’s not seen as a priority.

“The council woke up and found they needed to do something, told us we had until 2035, and told us we needed to put it up.

“Health and safety-wise, we’re conscious we have to look after our staff.

“We have our own engineers on site, and we make sure everything is fine.

“We are in the process of putting a bit of extra bracing in the warehouse because we want to make sure there is no risk.”

Regent 58

Carterton’s Regent 58 Brewery will close its doors in May due to a lack of available properties in the district that are up to the New Building Standard.

Above 67 per cent of the New Building Standard is considered to be an acceptable seismic risk.

According to company owner Brent Goble, with their existing property reaching its “use by date”, a lack of other suitable options meant the company would close doors for good soon.

Goble, a geology graduate, is sceptical about the earthquake regulations.

“We live in a country of earthquakes. Get over it. Whatever you do with earthquakes, it will be hit and miss, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

He said the strict rules were having an impact on business such as his.

“In a small community like this, we haven’t got a lot of money. There’s a lot of money to be made by these regulations, but obviously not by us in this town.”

The brewery had a small loyal following over its 12-year stay, but it could not find a new home.

Goble said he felt “really sorry” for anyone trying to start any small business under these regulations.

Masterton Bowling Club

The Masterton Bowling Club building has been designated earthquake-prone, at 25 per cent of the current standard.

The designation had not interrupted play, with a full contingent on the green on the day Times-Age approached them.

Gary Caffell, Masterton District Councillor and President of the Bowling Club said they were aware of the issue and plans were in place to address it.

Caffell said it was part of the club’s 15-year plan.

“We know we have to do it and we would look to do it before then if we possibly can. It comes down to funding, like everybody.

Caffell said the club had members who would be able to help.

“We are fortunate we have people in the club who are pretty experienced in building matters. They will be able to advise.”

Caffell did not think there was imminent danger to the public at the club.

“Obviously we have to be aware that there is a problem there, but at this stage we don’t think it is such that we have to do the work right now.

“We don’t have any plans to close or anything like that,” he said.

“We’ve had a report on what’s needed to be done and we’ll be doing it.”

AAA PartsWorld

AAA PartsWorld in Masterton has been rated as meeting only 17 per cent of the earthquake code.

Owner Bill Sergent said he had also had a report done, which had highlighted which parts of the building were at risk.

Sergent said the public earthquake-prone building notification had been up for months.

“You’ve got 15 years to do it,” he said.

He was considering the most appropriate next steps.

He did not think there was an imminent risk to the public, and most people only went into the office which was a small part of the one-storey building.

Sergent had been proactive by receiving professional advice on the building in advance of the council notification.

Masterton Pet Shop

Masterton Pet Shop in Dixon St had been rated at less than 20 per cent compliant with the New Building Standard.

When the Times-Age visited the shop, the Earthquake-Prone Building notice was not on display, although a spokesperson said the notice was in the office and would be going up soon.

St Patrick’s Church

Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church on Dixon St has been rated 26 per cent compliant.

Earthquake-Prone notices were prominently displayed on all the exits.

Bullick and Blackmore

Owner of men’s and ladieswear retail store Bullick and Blackmore on Queen St in Masterton Richard McLeod, said customer safety was his priority and that plans were under way to get the store up to the required standard.

The store had an earthquake rating less than 30 per cent given to them by Masterton District Council.

The earthquake rating sticker was clearly visible in the store.

McLeod said the council had been fair with their timeframe allocation for works [January 13, 2036] and planned to complete the seismic work within that time.

“We recognise the building’s earthquake rating is less than 30 per cent and we are concerned about customer safety,” McLeod said.

“Hence why we are going to get the structural work under way and have plans to bring it up to standard within the time frame allocated to keep our customers safe.”

The Boat Shed and Autos

The Boat Shed and Autos on Bannister St in Masterton is another store that has made immediate plans on the seismic work needed for their building, citing customer and staff safety as their primary concern.

The Boat Shed and Autos earthquake rating was 15 per cent and had an October 20, 2035 deadline for repairs.

The store owners said they had already discussed the required repairs with a contractor and planned to complete repairs required to keep staff and customers safe well within the timeframe.

Councils respond

Councils are responsible for managing the process in their territory.

Carterton District Council’s infrastructure and services manager Dave Gittings said it worked through all the area’s building stock, and identified all the potential earthquake-prone buildings and requested engineer reports or issued building notices.

“It took some time and expense to go through the building stock with an experienced structural engineer. The actual identification is reasonably straightforward.”

Gittings said Mayor Greg Lang had been working closely with property owners and investors “to facilitate conversations”.

“Businesses and investors continuously talk and embrace the unlimited possibilities Carterton has open to it with the town centre revitalisation.

“The Mayor’s Task Force for the town centre has been working on how the council can work with the community to facilitate the reinvigoration of the town centre and what it will look like. It’s not about the council investing in bricks and mortar, but about joining the dots and creating platforms.”

Gittings said the work would ultimately fit into Lang’s vision of Carterton as a mini-Melbourne, with laneways and shared spaces.

“The Task Force has been developing the concept of east and west flows, or laneways, providing opportunities at the rear of buildings, such as co-sharing opportunities for one business in the front of a property and one at the rear.

“This will allow for much better traffic and pedestrian flows and will create opportunities for inner town living. This is one of the consultation items in the council’s draft Ten Year Plan.”

Neighbouring Masterton District Council said buildings can be deemed unusable if action is not taken.

“Having identified potentially earthquake-prone priority buildings, work is continuing to identify all other potentially earthquake-prone buildings by July next year, as required by legislation,” an MDC spokesperson said.

“The first step is to write to owners requesting a seismic assessment, which owners will have 12 months to obtain.

“The process is relatively straightforward for councils but can be more challenging for building owners, and we aim to work constructively with them.

“Building owners are generally aware of the requirements of the law and the council’s role in implementing it.”

Earthquake ratings

Masterton – 32
160 SH2 – Hansells NZ Ltd, 32%; 64 Chapel St – Masterton Municipal Buildings, 0%-20%; 53 Queen St, TBD; 47 Queen St, TBD; 207 Queen St Shoe Clinic, 0%-20%; 230 Queen St, TBD; 216 Queen St, TBD; 21 Queen St, TBD; 19 Queen St, TBD; 185 Queen St – Old Westpac Bank, TBD; 115 Queen St – Master Fried Chicken, TBD; 152 Queen St, TBD; 54 Queen St, 20%-34%; 2 Akura Rd – Equippers Church – Rear Building, 25%; 14 Cole St – Masterton Miniature Rifle Club, 0%-0%; 4 Chapel St Heat Shop, 15%; 42 Bannister St – The Boat Shed and Autos, 15%; 2 Akura Rd – Equippers Church – Main Building [1/3], 20%; 375 Queen St – St Patrick’s Catholic Church, 26%; 361 Queen St Bridgestone, 8%; 31 Perry St- Donald Press Building, 8.20%; 107 Ngaumutawa Rd – Gough Gough & Hamer, 26.40%; 107 Ngaumutawa Rd – Yard Factory, 10%; 107 Ngaumutawa Rd – Yard Office,16%; 293 High St James Trucks & Machinery, 30%; 148 Dixon St – AAA Parts World, 17%; 139 Dixon St Masterton Bowling Club, 25%; 126 Dixon St – Pet Shop, 0%-20%; 1 Dixon St – Park Bowling Clubrooms, 23%; 1 Dixon St – Pioneer Clubrooms, 23%; 161 Dixon St – Marist Clubroom – accessory building, 23%; 199 Queen St – Bullick & Blackmore,
20% – 34%.

Carterton – 28
High Street South , 0%-20%; 284 Dalefield Rd, TBD; 35 High St, TBD; 11 Belvedere Rd, TBD; 258 High St, TBD; 34 High St, 0%-20%; 30 High St, TBD; 83 High St, TBD; 3 Belvedere Rd, TBD; 181 Belvedere Rd, TBD; 3258 SH2, TBD; 139 High St, 20%-34%; 48 High St , TBD; 58 High St, TBD; 53 High St, TBD; 55 High St, TBD; 47 High St, TBD; 26 High St, TBD; 24 High St, TBD; 147 High St, TBD; 50 Memorial Square Peter O’Leary Motors, 0%-20%; 20 Memorial Square – Buckhorn Bar and Grill, 20%-34%; 11 Carters Line, TBD; 52 High St, 0%-20%; 91 High St, 20%-34%; 15 High St, 0%-20%; 31 High St, 0%-20%; 1 High St, 0%-20%.

Greytown – 1
68 Main St, 0%-20%.

Featherston – 5
61 Fox St, 0%-20; 49 Fox St, 0%-20; 81 Fox St, 0%-20%; 26 Birdwood St, 20%-34%; 50 Bell St – Church, 0%-20%.

Martinborough – 9
36 Venice St, 20%-34%; 14 Memorial Square, 0%-20%; 36 Kitchener St, 0%-20%; 37 Jellicoe St, 20%-34%; 28 Jellicoe St, 0%-20%; 16 Jellicoe St, 0%-20%; 14 Jellicoe St, 0%-20%; Hinakura Road, 0%-20%; 23 Cork St, 0%-20%.

*TBD – to be determined

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