Office move shows progress of project

April 27, 2017

A new office and campaign manager are visible signs The Cathedral Project is gathering momentum.

A temporary building has been lowered onto the site of the Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary to house an office and campaign manager Jan Mason.

The Cathedral Project – A Taranaki Taonga is the name of the major campaign to raise funds and develop historic St Mary’s on Vivian St New Plymouth.  

The major focus is earthquake strengthening and reopening the 170-year-old stone church – the oldest in the country – as soon as possible.

Listen to the Radio New Zealand story here, read coverage from the Taranaki Daily News or check out the Anglican church's nationwide website here.

While the work is being done it makes sense to enhance and future proof the building and its surroundings, says Dean Peter Beck.

“We want to build on our existing vision of an outwardly facing cathedral that welcomes people of all faiths and none. This is our chance to create a flexible space that allows for contemporary or traditional worship, a meeting or musical performance.”

“The total vision is of a single cathedral site with worship, mission, education, visitor hospitality and tourism all accommodated on the beautiful and historically significant area,” says Cathedral Dean Peter Beck.

He welcomes the arrival of the campaign office, which is adjacent to the existing Hatherly Hall area of St Mary’s on Vivian St, New Plymouth.

“Fundraising has begun and while the target is substantial, there’s no doubt that Taranaki connects to St Mary’s and its surroundings. This is their chance to be involved, to come and talk to campaign manager Jan Mason, find out what’s happening and see how they can contribute.”

The head of the NZ Anglican church, Archbishop Philip Richardson, who is also the Bishop of Taranaki, is optimistic about what The Cathedral Project can achieve.

“Reopening St Mary’s has never been in any doubt. The remediation work will be done with sensitivity and a ‘light touch’ in terms of any changes and it will only enhance its beauty and significance to our community.”

Peter Tennent is chairperson of the Campaign Executive Committee spearheading the fundraising campaign.

He says playing a leadership role in the multi-faceted project is an exciting prospect. “Those of us involved are all motivated by the heart, the emotion, the lifting of this community and country - and less by the bricks and mortar of this project.”

Image: The site office was donated by Clelands Construction.

Photo: The site office being lifted into position beside the Hatherly Hall

Photo: More than 40 people attended the blessing of the site office. Among them (from left) Revd. Canon Sue Pickering, Campaign manager Jan Mason, and project committee members Terry Parkes and Cathy Thurston.

Photo: Bishop Philip Richardson anointed the hands of four key player in the Cathedral Project: Dean Peter Beck (foreground), Campaign manager Jan Mason, Remediation manager Jenny Goddard, and Project chairperson Peter Tennent.

Background notes

The campaign office is supported by Clelands Construction, which has provided the building and site positioning.

The earthquake strengthening work is being overseen by Cathedral Remediation and Design Manager Jenny Goddard.

Engineering works proposed for the cathedral are complex but will be largely invisible from the outside.

The total project cost is $15 million, with the first priority the reopening of the cathedral.

Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary on Vivian St, has been closed since January 31, 2016 after a Detailed Seismic Assessment (DSA) determined it needed earthquake strengthening.

Although the site's offices and Hatherly Hall have remained open, Sunday services are being held across the road in the Peace Hall. 

St Mary’s was built in 1846 and is the oldest stone church in New Zealand.

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