By 3 News online staff
A mystery donor has pledged several hundred thousand dollars to repair the quake-damaged Lyttelton Timeball Station, one of only five of the iconic structures left in the world.
The 136-year-old building suffered extensive damage in the quakes and has since been deconstructed.
Paul McGahon, a manager for the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, says a “group interested in heritage” contacted his organisation saying they’d like to help the building’s repair.
The identity of the group is being kept confidential at this stage.
"It's a significant amount, but it gave us the ability to be able to start thinking and planning”, says Mr McGahon.
“The important thing for us at the moment is finding what the public wants out of the Timeball site, particularly the Lyttelton community.”
While Mr McGahon does not believe that the confidential amount being offered will be enough for a full rebuild, he says it will go a long way towards recreating the tower.
The public are now invited to an open day organised for Saturday, when they will be able to view and discuss a rebuild proposal put together by the Historic Places Trust, and have their say by filling out a questionnaire.
Much of the original stone and timber was stored after the deconstruction of the Station, Mr McGahon says, meaning that a rebuild will retain a strong sense of familiarity.
The Trust are also considering making the identity of the donor public, depending on feedback from the community on Saturday.
“If there's a strong desire by the public for something to be built there and we proceed then we will certainly be going public on that,” says Mr McGahon.