Huge numbers of historic buildings all over New Zealand face an uncertain future in the wake of the Canterbury quakes.
The rational thing for Henk Tabak to have done after he bought his 126-year-old triple-brick building in Christchurch’s working-class suburb of Woolston was to knock it down and build something new. Over its life, the corner building had been home to a general store, coal merchant and cobbler, but when he bought it in 2004, it was in a state of neglect. The restoration job was completed in 2006. Unlike hundreds of old brick buildings around Christchurch, it has stood solid through the earthquakes and survived the subsequent frenzy of demolition throughout the city. But his former insurer has abandoned the NZ market, and for the past year he hasn’t been able to get earthquake insurance for the building at any price. ...
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