30 May 2022
4 min read
“Humans have made use of stone as a resource to provide refuge and protection throughout history,” says Parkside Quarries’ Ramahia Keno. “Limestone is a resource that earth constantly renews, and Ōamaru stone is a sedimentary limestone that comes from the sedimentation of calcareous skeletal materials, shells and coral on the seafloor over millions of years.”
This beautiful, natural material has been quarried by Parkside Quarries for over 100 years, with no end in sight.
“As well as being a raw and natural product that the earth continuously regenerates, the process to quarry limestone at Parkside is incredibly simple when compared to manufactured products – perhaps, even, a realistic solution to shortages and long lead times in our construction industry,” says Ramahia.
Being an entirely local product, Ōamaru stone doesn’t come with the delays commonly associated with imported products – with Parkside’s six-week lead time remaining the same during the construction industry’s current supply shortage.
“In most cases, we can deliver an average house lot of Ōamaru limestone within six weeks of a confirmed order.”
I think humans are supposed to be surrounded by nature and using stone is a great way to uplift your connection to the earth.
Customers are also able to visit the quarry and see the stone that will be used in their home or project.
“One of the things that people who choose to buy Ōamaru limestone love to do is come and see how simple the process is, to stand in the pit where we quarry the limestone. You just get this sense of drama – of being in this space surrounded by stone. It’s quite a special experience. I think humans are supposed to be surrounded by nature and using stone is a great way to uplift your connection to the earth.”
Short lead times remain consistent even though every piece of limestone is bespoke. The stone is extracted from Parkside’s quarry floor as a rectangular block which is then transported only a couple hundred metres away for further cutting, according to the precise requirements of the project.
“It’s super simple. We can provide an end product directly from the quarry,” says Ramahia, with Parkside not reliant on any external products or further processing.
I’d love people to dream about what they could do with limestone and then talk to us about how we can help make it happen.
Produced on site, the stone slabs are each cut to the exact measurements required for each project, and the expert team are even able to use a CNC machine to further customise the stone.
“We can add details to the stone – anything from simple fluting on a window or door jam, through to complete fabrication of sculptural pieces.”
This idea of thinking creatively with the stone is something that Ramahia and the Parkside Quarries team would love to see more of: “I think by looking overseas, we could be inspired to do grand things with limestone in a contemporary way. We are seeing architects wanting to do very clever things with the limestone – it’s an exciting time with modern twists being put on this ancient product.”
Ramahia mentions the design and construction of projects such as the Wine Museum and the ampelographic garden in Patrimonio, Corsica, where large solid limestone blocks play a structural role.
“Rather than being a quaint nod to traditional stone use, this project is more of a mammoth symbol of appreciation of the inherent qualities of limestone,” she says.
“I’d love people to dream about what they could do with limestone and then talk to us about how we can help make it happen.”
Who knows, maybe we will start seeing skyscrapers across New Zealand made from Ōamaru limestone?
“It’s a highly versatile, stunning, and ultimately, enduring product. It seems like common sense and utmost respect for the environment to use the stone and earth that lies under our feet.”