St Mary’s Catholic Church in Carterton, which has been closed, along with Martinborough’s St Anthony’s.
PHOTO/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz

Two Wairarapa Catholic churches have closed abruptly after being deemed earthquake-prone for some time.

The decision to shut St Mary’s church in Carterton and St Anthony’s church in Martinborough was made by the Catholic Parish of Wairarapa’s finance committee and pastoral team last week.

No-one from the Catholic Parish of Wairarapa was prepared to speak to the Times-Age about the closures.

It is understood the decision was based on keeping parishioners safe.

A meeting of Carterton parishioners was held on Sunday with emotions reportedly running high.

Any building meeting less than 34 per cent of the New Building Standard [NBS] is classified earth-quake prone.

Both of the closed churches are currently below 20 per cent of NBS, putting them in the lowest category, E, which according to New Zealand Insurance makes their relative risk “extremely high”.

It is understood that St Mary’s dates back to the 1800s and St Anthony’s to the early 1900s.

The respective district councils have given the churches until 2021 to get them up to code, and neither has forced the closures.

A notice on St Mary’s door said its parishioners could attend parish services in other Wairarapa towns.

St Anthony’s parishioners will be using the small hall behind the church on Kitchener St.

In July it was reported that Wellington’s Sacred Heart Cathedral “abruptly closed”.