15 Mar 2016

Akaroa’s grand old dame – The Gaiety – is back to her former glory.

The 137-year-old Italianate theatre was damaged in the earthquakes but has been repaired and strengthened and will re-open its doors to the public on April 1.

“The date has a certain symmetry,’’ said Banks Peninsula Councillor Andrew Turner, who will officially re-open the building with Mayor Lianne Dalziel. “The original opening of the hall, which started out as the Oddfellows Lodge, was April 3 in 1879.

“The hall has a proud history in Akaroa and its closure over the last five years has definitely been felt. The opening celebration, organised by the Friends of the Gaiety group, will also serve as a thank you to the community for their patience.

“The journey has been challenging and rewarding, and the end result is a better, stronger Gaiety that will last for generations to come,’’ Cr Turner said.

Some locals have already had the chance to explore the freshly-repaired building. Earlier this month a group were given a tour of the building by Richie Moyle, the Christchurch City Council’s Heritage Rebuild Programme Manager.

“The general response was delight, particularly when everyone got to see the extent and quality of the repairs and strengthening. It’s as beautiful as ever, but now it has the added bonus of real structural strength. If Akaroa ever felt a strong shake, The Gaiety is where I’d want to be,’’ Mr Moyle said.