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.


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.