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Landmark lift-off

Halfway house . . . the bottom storey of the former manse that stood in the middle of the former St Mary’s School is now in Taupo.

Tauranga contractors Bay of Plenty House Removals Ltd started the approximately eight-hour journey overnight at 10pm and were expecting to be in Taupo by 6am today.

Company owner Steve Jones said the house would be transported via the Waioeka Gorge rather than Napier because of a number of overhanging Pohutukawa trees after Wairoa.

The building was braced before Gisborne contractors C.R. Taylor Ltd lifted off the top storey and placed it on the ground.

The two storeys were cut in half, with the bottom storey lifted on to separate trucks, structurally strengthened and prepared for transporting.

The new owner had previously removed asbestos and the chimneys.

Mr Jones has worked in Gisborne before and said the house was solidly built of rimu and kauri.

The job before him was not a complex one except for the height of the building.

“I’ve done this most of my life.”

The building legally had to be off the road by 6am.

Mr Jones said the building would be placed on a pre-arranged site if the expected arrival time of 6am was not met.

The top storey, also cut into halves, will be transported to Taupo next week.

Contractors prepare the manse that stood in Childers Road, surrounded by the former St Marys School site, for transport to Taupo last night. The bottom storey, separated from the top and cut into two pieces, was transported via Waioeka Gorge to its new home just after 10pm. Many have stopped over the past four or five days to see the house dismantled, while neighbours came out last night to watch the bottom storey begin its journey. The top storey will be transported next week. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell