Despite having million dollar views on its doorstep the Officers’ Mess at Fort Takapuna was in a serious state of disrepair when, in late 2009, members of the Devonport Rotary Club agreed to assist Sculpture on Shore in their fund-raising event by undertaking a quick makeover of the building so they could display their artworks.

Having been granted permission by DOC (the owners of the building), this ‘quick makeover’ turned out to be much more, with members spending more than 300 hours during week-end working bees restoring the dank and mouldy interior rooms. Ceilings and walls had holes, peeling paint and wallpaper. Graffiti had also been sprayed over the walls and in some parts, ceilings were collapsed.

Club members donated their skills and expertise in trades such as building, gib-boarding, flooring, plastering and painting but also spent in excess of $5,000 on materials to restore the rooms to somewhere near their former glory.

Members of the local community and passers-by were attracted by the activity and either joined in the working bees or brought tea/coffee and home baking to help sustain the workers. A true community project!