The Cathedral Project: A Taranaki Taonga

What is The Cathedral Project?

The closure of the Cathedral in January 2016 has awakened the region to its historical and cultural value.

We are raising funds for a single cathedral precinct with worship, mission, education, visitor hospitality and tourism facilities, all accommodated on the beautiful and historically significant site in New Plymouth.

What are the different stages?

The first milestone is re-opening the historic stone church. The vision is of an outwardly facing cathedral that welcomes people of all faiths and none to a flexible space that allows for contemporary or traditional worship, a meeting or musical performance.

New lighting, heating and seating will improve comfort and enhance the Godliness, beauty and ambience of the space. An internal chapel will be enclosed as a quiet, reflective space.

 The second step is the building of an atrium hospitality space behind the cathedral. Designed as a light filled jewel, it will become a premier welcome and function space in the region and improve financial viability.

 The third step is the extension of the Hatherly Hall across the site weaving the stories of church, war, racial divide and peaceful protest in Taranaki in to a unique visitor experience.

 Alongside this will be educational, youth and counselling spaces with new and existing community facilities to meet the cathedral mandate of mission for this century and the next.

How much will it cost?

The total project cost is $15 million. The Project will start once substantial funds are in place.

How long will it take?

In total this will be a five-year project – but we want the Cathedral re-opened much sooner.

How will the Cathedral be strengthened?

The earthquake strengthening work is significant but will be largely hidden from view.

The preliminary design shows there will be a new roof constructed over a web of steel frames all hidden from below by the existing timber ceiling.

A concrete beam will be poured along the top of the stone walls with fixings to connect the huge timber trusses to the walls.

Stones either side of the beam will conceal this strong modern construction. Steel pins will be inserted within the thick stone walls in to new concrete foundations and a specialised grout injected into the cavity of the massive walls to strengthen them.

The techniques involved have been used in similar stone buildings in Christchurch, and have been acknowledged by Heritage New Zealand as an effective solution. To see pictures and read more about what the interior will look like go here.


At a glance

Reopening the 170-year-old stone church – the oldest in the country.

Requires earthquake strengthening as well as new facilities such as lighting, heating and seating to enhance accessibility, beauty, ambience, Godliness.

Building a proposed atrium behind the cathedral for hospitality, premier functions and events

Extension of the Hatherly Hall across the site weaving stories of church, war, racial divide and peaceful protest.

Further consultation on the whole of the Vivian St site being undertaken.

Estimated at $15 million with work to start once substantial funds in place.

First priority – other work to take place over successive years.

Cathedral closed in January 2016 but church worship continues in The Interim Cathedral in the Peace Hall on Vivian St.

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Shoulder-tapping led to vital project role

The Very Reverend Dean Peter Beck is deeply passionate about leading the charge to restore Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary’s. His dream is to see the completed $15m project, named The Cathedral Project – A Taranaki Taonga, open its doors to all. “The cathedral will be a place of welcome for all faiths and none,” predicts Dean Peter, pictured above on the left with Archbishop Philip Richardson. “This building will have its way with you. I do sense the... read more

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