Yesteryear Property: Former Otautau Presbyterian Church
Age: Built in 1927
Address: Corner of Main and Chester Sts
As many of the migrants who settled in Western Southland during the late-1800s were Presbyterians, the first services for the congregation were held in the dining room of the Otautau Hotel during the 1860s, before relocating to the school on Queen St, which opened in 1880. In the 1890s a wooden church was built on Queen St where the New Life Church now is. In 1925 it was decided to build a new Presbyterian church, so the double-brick church was erected on the current site in 1927 and officially commissioned in February 1928.
What was it originally built for? A church. The altar area was reconfigured during World War 2 when the pulpit was placed to one side, the altar table placed in the middle and the choir seats to the other side. It had a false ceiling put in during the 1960s-70s.
What is it currently used for? The final service was held on July 31 last year, before it was decommissioned because of a declining membership and a preliminary seismic assessment showed it to be between 20%-25% of the new building standard (NBS), below the minimum 34% NBS limit. The chattels, including the bell, and furniture were sold last year.
What are the most interesting features? Although it now has no chattels, it still retains its lead-light windows. Bell tower. Huge hall-like space.
Who currently owns this property? It is for tender (closes Friday, August 25, noon)