Installing the Bishop Selwyn Chapel garden Cross

Another momentous day in the journey of Selwyn’s Vision!

On Thursday 4 August 2016, the Cross for the Bishop Selwyn Chapel was installed in the Trinity Garden at Holy Trinity Cathedral. The Cross was designed by Christchurch-based artist, Neil Dawson.

Yesterday’s install was the culmination of a year-long project. Nine New Zealand artists were approached in 2015 to design a Cross for the Chapel, which would need to sit in the garden. Eight artists submitted proposals, from which two were short-listed, and Neil Dawson’s proposal was finally selected.

It has been a pleasure to work on this project with Neil, a world renowned artist. This will be his first major public sculpture in Auckland in 20 years.

Neil, who is the son of a Methodist Minister, has never designed a cross before, nor any ecclesiastical artwork. Neil says the challenge of designing a unique cross was made easy by the wonderful design of the Chapel, by Fearon Hay Architects. All Neil’s work is about looking ‘through’ objects.  He says the experience of looking through the Cross to the trees in the garden will create constantly changing effects of light, reflection and shadow. Working in concert with the Chapel ceiling, the Cross leans away to create a feeling of ascension.

Neil’s Cross is made from stainless steel tube and bar, and is coated in gold leaf. The Cross is 5.6 m and is elevated on a pole to allow it to visually float amid Bishop Selwyn’s oaks.

Neil worked with a team of people, including structural engineers Ruamoko Solutions, Southern Stainless Steel Fabricators, his assistant Lisa Patterson, and gilder Kate Woodley.

Stainless steel fabrication
Kate Woodley
Gilder Kate Woodley at work
Neil Dawson supervising the foundation excavation
The Cross is removed from the container on a trolley
The crane lifts the Cross …..
….. up past the corner of the Bishop Selwyn Chapel ….


….. around into the garden ….
……. where it is bolted into place on its pole




Neil Dawson with Dean Jo Kelly-Moore in front of the Cross

We are very grateful to Neil and his team for this wonderful sculptural Cross.

32 ft Double Open Wood

A huge milestone for the Cathedral and the organ building world in general this week when the bottom octave of the 32′ Double Open Wood was hoisted into place.

These are the first pipes of this stop to be made for a cathedral since the 1920s, and the first stop of its kind to be installed in a New Zealand organ for over a century.

The pipes, which were made in two or three sections, depending on size, were assembled in the Pedal chamber. Each section was bolted to the wall with resin bonded fixings.

Over the next two weeks this stop will be joined by the rest of the Pedal section of the organ, which includes three more stops of 32′ pitch.

If you are visiting the Cathedral, take the opportunity to look up and see these enormous wooden square structures, as once the casework is installed in front of them, they will never again be visible, however their presence will certainly be felt and heard!

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Bolting the fixings to the wall
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Tightening the bolts
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Preparing to lift the top section onto the lower section
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Fixing the top section to the wall
Philip Smith, Cathedral Organist, in front of Bottom C!

First team of organ builders are on their way home to the UK

Today we farewell Team 1 from Nicholson and Co who have been here for 6 weeks installing the first components of the Cathedral organ.

In 6 very busy weeks they have installed the componentry for the ‘south’ organ (Parnell Road side) and the main casework and pipes.

We look forward to welcoming Team 2 next week.



The St Mary’s-in-Holy Trinity carpark has been closed this week for re-asphalting.

The carpark continues to be closed while the asphalt cures and the line-marking is completed.

The Cathedral carpark in Brighton Road continues to be open and is not affected by these works.

The St Mary’s carpark and thoroughfare will re-open on Monday 11 July 2016.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation while these important works take place.





The first pipes go up!

The organ builders are making excellent progress and there is much to see.  Their first two weeks here were spent installing the blowers and other equipment in the plant rooms.

This week the first of the casework was installed, with the first of the pipes.

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And the scaffolding continues to grow!

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Gilding completed; scaffolding comes down

The gilders have now finished on site at the Bishop Selwyn Chapel, and this week the Chapel is again visible!

The shrinkwrap covering the exterior scaffolding has been removed, allowing a first glimpse of the gilded ceiling.

The scaffolding will be fully dismantled by early next week, however the Chapel will still be fenced from public access, as it remains a building site while a number of final completion works are undertaken.

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