The New Zealand Chapter met for the first time in Dunedin on 30 November 2019. There were eight attendees from all over the country and a further six interested members who unfortunately couldn’t make it. From a brief discussion around the table, it was clear that the range of interests within the group encompasses:
- Lime-burning technology, including historic sites such as the Otago Peninsular & Warkworth, near Auckland;
- Traditional building repairs (renders, plasters & mortars);
- Seismic strengthening of unreinforced masonry buildings;
- New build, including earth & straw bale buildings;
- Lime as a medium for art;
- Sustainability & the use of lime;
- Archaeology, recording & research.
The group includes members with connections to the Earth Building Association of New Zealand, ICOMOS NZ, Dunedin City Council, Heritage New Zealand, and private companies (professional and contractors). The key issues facing the group are:
- Lack of availability of lime and other associated products;
- Lack of availability of lime skills and knowledge;
- No current means of sharing information about where products and skills are available around the country; and
- Very few engineers know anything about lime and its benefits for use in seismic strengthening and repair projects.
The latter is very important to address for the conservation of New Zealand’s built heritage. The need for strengthening typically relates to unreinforced masonry buildings, such as historic stone and brick structures, which are by law required to be strengthened under earthquake-prone buildings legislation in NZ.
The initial aims of the Chapter include making a presentation at the Engineering Heritage Australia conference in Dunedin later in the year and organising a get-together for members before the end of 2020 with a view to both providing training and promoting the growth of the Chapter.