Summer Newsroom

Changing South: What’s next for McLean’s Mansion?

*Watch the video below*

New Zealand in 1900 had seen nothing like it: a mega-mansion, the largest wooden house in the land.

After the Canterbury earthquakes the building, McLean’s Mansion, fell into disrepair, visited by vandals, many of whom covered the walls and century-old timber with graffiti.

Chimneys were toppled in the earthquakes – 45,000 bricks sit outside the mansion’s main entrance – with more than 250 tonnes of bricks and masonry removed since.

With a $1.9 million grant for repairs from the Christchurch City Council, the McLean’s Mansion Charitable Trust is now seeking to raise additional funding for the restoration. The aim is to ensure the unique, heritage building is admired anew, as one of New Zealand’s architectural treasures.

The mansion’s plight is captured in a video series Newsroom is running over summer called Changing South, by Christchurch documentary-maker Gerard Smyth. The series looks at life the South Island – the people, the places and how events like the Christchurch earthquake have had a lasting impact.

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