The Masonic Hall suffered extensive damage in a November 2019 fire. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Freemasons still waiting a year after ‘devastating’ fire


It’s been over a year since Nelson’s Masonic Hall was significantly damaged by a fire and the future of the building is still on hold.

Nelson Freemason representative and district grand master Ian McLean says no decision has been finalised regarding the future of the Nile St building as they are still waiting to hear back from their insurance company.

“We’ve been having to meet at various halls around Nelson. Would be nice to have our own space again,” says Ian.

No one was injured in the fire which Ian says was caused by an electrical fault on November 5, last year.

However, the Masonic Hall faced extensive damage across the foyer and meeting rooms.

The freemason group had been at the site since 1990.

Ian says they were able to retrieve some furniture from the site this week to be cleaned, but historic items and community groups’ belongings were lost to the blaze.

“Hopefully the decision is coming back to us soon,” he says.

“There’s so many community groups that use the building it’s just absolutely devastating.”

Kahurangi Irish Dance school was one of these community groups and they had been at the Masonic Hall for over a decade.

Head teacher Lianna Connor says she burst into tears when she first heard news of the fire, the group lost paperwork, costumes and their speaker system.

“It was devastating,” she says.

Lianna wanted to thank the generosity of Beggs Music Nelson who donated new speakers to the group.

While they are situated at the Tāhunanui Community Hub, Lianna says they are still looking for a permanent space one year on.