New Freemasons centre in NZ part of modernisation drive

Freemasons New Zealand says the opening of a centre in Christchurch is part of a "new, modern era" for the organisation.

After about two years of work, the Canterbury Kilwinning Lodge is opening in Woolston's Ferry Road today.

It's hoped that the new centre will give the Freemasons a renewed presence in Christchurch, after earthquakes forced the closure of a number of centres.

For the past five years a centre in Shirley has hosted the majority of masonic events in the city.

Freemasons New Zealand Grand Master, Mark Winger, said the new, purpose-built, boutique-style building would accommodate masonic ceremonies, as well as social activities for the wider community.

"Around the country, there'll be at least two other buildings that we'll be dedicating this year - and it really goes to show that freemasonry is a modern organisation. We're planning for the future and we are in growth mode," he said.

"Because we are speaking up about freemasonry, we are finding that more men are expressing interest in the organisation and joining."

As part of the opening a lodge meeting will be held, then guests will take part in a special Ceremony of the Dedication, to bless the new facilities.

Mr Winger said freemasonry in Christchurch supported a number of charitable organisations, including Camp Purple, for children with Crohn's and Colitis and Living Springs, an outdoor camp facility.