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Church of the Good Shepherd

Looking towards the village of Tekapo and the Southern Alps. The photo is taken from the sheep dog monument.


Timaru Herald July 16 2015 No photography inside the Church of the Good Shepherd per The Mackenzie Co-operating Parish who oversees the church.
An increase in numbers and visitors disrespecting God's house have resulted in a photo ban inside Tekapo's iconic Church of the Good Shepherd. The interdenominational church is one of the most popular scenic icons in the country with an estimated 100,000-plus visitors a year. Visitor numbers had increased by a third in the month of April. In April 2014 there were 4100 visitors and in April this year there were 6000. On average there are between 60 and 80 weddings a year.

"No need for stained glass. The clear glass chancel window allows the congregation to be inspired by the magnificent view during services"

Lake Tekapo is 44 km NW of Fairlie. 51 km NE of Twizel. A memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie, the Church of the Good Shepherd, lies on the shore of Lake Tekapo on Pioneer Drive with the surroundings left in their natural state covered with matagouri, tussock and rock. Registered as Category 1 with the NZ Historic Places Trust.  Historic place of special or outstanding historical or cultural heritage significance or value.For years church services were held at the various station homesteads in the Mackenzie. In 1933 some residents wrote the Anglican Vestry, Reverend W.E.D. Davies, asking for a church to be built and backed their suggestion with generous promises of money and land. Mr George Murray, Braemar Station, donated the land. The foundation stone was laid by the Duke of Gloucester on 15th January 1935 and seven months later dedicated 3rd August 1935 by Bishop Campbell West-Weston. Built to last from lakeside stone and oak with a clear plate glass window to allow a view of the blue lake from its dam-controlled outlet at the village, due north for almost 20 kilometres to tussock brown hillsides and mountain scenery. The church was built in a year and a half after Reverend Davies made a proposal for the church in September of 1933, McDonald said. "It was built by local builders." Les Loomes helped to build the church. He would fish at Lake Alexandrina.

This Church is in the Cooperating Parish of Fairlie and the Mackenzie with regular services once a month sometimes fortnightly. A dedicated committee of locals oversee the church activities, maintenance, landscaping and employee a caretaker. The bushes in front of the church are matagourie with a pine tree behind and the Southern Alps covered in snow. The architect was Richard S.D. Harman of Christchurch (1896-1953) but he worked on a plan drawn by Mrs Norman Hope of 'The Grampians'. The pews and other items where donated by families in memory of someone's beloved. Seats up to eighty five. In 1948 heating and lighting was added. In 1956 it was decided to change the roofing material, wooden shingles, to slate and purchase additional land around the church to prevent the land from being built on. Visit the church or read "High Endeavour" by William Vance for a listing of donors.  

Press, 13 October 1934, Page 26 TEKAPO CHURCH
Contract for building let. Successful appeal for funds.
The construction of an Anglican church at Tekapo is to be begun in the very near future. The site chosen is on the left side of the road as the bridge is approached, and commands ah uninterrupted view of the lake. At the suggestion of Dean Julius, a plate glass window will be, built in the end facing the lake. Local stone, sand, and shingle will be used, and the heavy timbering will be of rimu. The Rev. W. E. Davis, in whose parish Tekapo is situated, stated yesterday that it was not possible to carry on work in the Mackenzie country from his headquarters at Fairlie. He had suggested that it might be possible to raise funds for a church, and a committee was formed, consisting of himself as chairman, Mrs Norman Hope, Messrs Hope, B. N. Murray, R.R. Beauchamp, G. G. Murray, W. G. Hosken, C. J. Talbot, A. Gillingham, and D. Jeune. The appeal for funds has met with a generous response, and all the necessary money is in hand or guaranteed. The church will be opened free of debt The architect is Mr R. S. D. Harman, who has embodied in his plans the suggestions of Mrs Hope. The contract has been let to Mr F. Trott and building operations will begin almost at once. The church will constitute a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie country. While Anglican property, it will be available for use by the Methodist and Presbyterian denominations, when not in use for Anglican services, subject to the approval of the vicar and wardens of the parochial district. Mr Davis will preach at the Merivale church next Sunday morning, and at the Fendalton church in the evening; at both services there will be a retiring collection taken in aid of the building and furnishing fund of the new church. [Allan Gillingham had inherited the family farm , Lambrook, at Winscombe and Dudley Jeune was the Mackenzie Country County Clerk]

  

Press, 16 January 1935, Page 10
THE HERMITAGE, January 15. The Duke of Gloucester had an exceptionally busy day in South Canterbury, attending welcome ceremonies on his way from the Hermitage to Longbeach, where he will stay privately until next Saturday. His Royal Highness drove the car himself for the greater part of the journey. The laying of the foundation-stone of the Church of the Good Shepherd, at Lake Tekapo, in the Mackenzie Country, was an impressive function held in the presence of a large body of settlers, some of whom came from as far away as Geraldine. An interesting feature of the building, when completed, will be a plate-glass window, erected toward the east, in order to provide an unbroken view of Lake Tekapo, and the alpine background. The actual service was conducted by Bishop Campbell West-Watson. Other clergy in attendance were the vicar, the Rev. W. E. Davies, Canon H. O. T. Hanby, and the Rev. Messrs Oldham and Thorpe, and the Rev. J. Mann, the last-named being a Presbyterian. The Minister for Public Works, the Hon. J. Bitchener, was also present on the platform. The stone was laid by the Duke of Gloucester with the following words:�"In the faith of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we place this foundation-stone, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; amen." Before the conclusion of the ceremony, the following were presented to his Royal Highness: Mrs Davies, Mr and Mrs Bruce Murray, Mr and .Mrs Gerald Murray, Mr and Mrs Norman Hope, Mrs G. W. Hosken, Mrs C. J. Talbot, Mr and Mrs Alan Gillingham, and Mr and. Mrs R. S. D. Harman.
At Fairlie. As a memento, the Duke was presented with a kowhai mallet. There was an exceptionally large gathering at Fairlie, where his Royal Highness was given a rousing reception. The parade of returned soldiers took place in front of the war memorial, where the Prince deposited a wreath. The Duke was received at the dais by the Hon. J. Bitchener, the county chairman, Mr Murray, and the county clerk, Mr D. Jeune, and through them representative citizens were later presented to the Royal visitor. The Duke was loudly cheered as he took his place in the front seat of the car and drove off to his next function �Geraldine. As at Fairlie, there was a generous display of flags and bunting at Geraldine. At 3.40 p.m. his Royal Highness, still in the driving seat, departed for Longbeach, where he arrived early in the evening. Wayside salutations throughout the day were frequent, and even in remote spots knots of settlers were assembled to wave good luck to the Royal car and its occupant. In several places Union Jacks, fluttering from the tops of telegraph poles, reinforced the good wishes of the settlers, and at others men harvesting in the fields stopped work to cheer the Duke as the car went past.
    FAIRLIE, January 15. On his way from the Hermitage to Longbeach the Duke of Gloucester stopped for a few minutes at Fairlie. There were many visitors to the township and his Royal Highness was given a rousing welcome. The Mackenzie County Council, with Mr D. Jeune as organiser, had had the main street of Fairlie decorated with streamers of flags and the tradespeople had decorated their shop fronts with greenery. When the time for the arrival of the Duke drew near, there was a large gathering of children and the public. Some 300 children, all with flags, made an attractive showing, lined up in the main street, and there were more than 1000 adults also present. Returned soldiers to the number of 50 paraded in front of the War Memorial and the Mackenzie Highland Pipe Band, under Drum-Major Slow, was also on parade. On the arrival of the Royal car, the Duke inspected the returned men, stopping to chat with a man here and there. After his inspection the Duke ascended the steps leading to the memorial and laid a wreath at the foot of the memorial. Before descending he paused to read the inscription. Hearty and prolonged cheering accompanied the Duke as he walked through the ranks of the children. He was played back to his car by the Pipe Band and was given an enthusiastic send-off.

Press, 26 July 1935, Page 8 CHURCH AT LAKE TEKAPO
DEDICATION NEXT MONTH GIFTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS ACKNOWLEDGED

The new church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, the foundation stone of which was laid by the Duke of Gloucester on January 15 last, will be dedicated by Bishop West-Watson on Saturday, August 3. The church, which is a very attractive edifice, has been built as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country, and will serve a long-felt want. It commands an excellent view of Lake Tekapo, and a plate-glass window erected towards the east, an outstanding feature in the building, provides an unbroken view of the lake and the alpine background. The stone work throughout the church is very fine, and the heavy timbering used in the roof and the massive red pine beams, add dignity to the interior, forming a splendid relief to the cream-coloured walls. The oak shingles on the roof have been well laid and soften the stone work and enrich the appearance of the building. The whole effect of the little church is striking and has won the admiration of all who have seen it. The furnishings, most of which are gifts to the church, are simple but good. The unusual stone altar is an outstanding feature. On it is carved a figure of the Good Shepherd, which is in keeping with the Mackenzie Country and the stone church. It is a departure from the familiar and traditional figure of Christ, and is a strong knit figure with a suggestion of breadth and height. A lamb is firmly carried under one arm, and the face looking out and down the church is square and strong. The wooden furnishings are made of oak, as a syrnbol of the British endurance, stability and strength.

Souvenir Publication
A very attractive publication, embracing the dedication ceremony, has been prepared by the vicar, the Rev. W. E. D. Davies. Mr Davies acknowledges gifts of furnishings and money, and extends his thanks to all subscribers :or their wonderful response to appeal. Many memorial gifts were also received. The stone font was given by Mr and Mrs J. M. H. Tripp, "Silverton," Geraldine; the altar is the gift of Mrs Frances E. Hope; and the bronze altar cross the gift, of Mrs Edith Ormsby. The candlesticks were given by the station hands of the Grampians station; the oak stand and book of remembrance by Mrs John Barker, Mrs Gilbert Grigg, and Mrs J. H. Grigg; the oak lectern by Mrs Margaret Anniss; the hand-wrought chalice and paten by Miss Frances Musgrave and Charles and Peter Musgrave; the alms dish by Miss D. Bruce (Fendalton); and the cruets for the credence table by Miss Kitto (Fendalton); the prayer book for the altar by Mrs Dennistoun, and the alter linen by Mrs Seddon. The altar hangings were presented by Mr and Mrs R. G. Raymond; the organ by Mr and Mrs W. G. Hosken; the Bible by Mr and Mrs J. J. Page, and the vicar's prayer desk and seat by Mrs Caroline Bushell.
    Several of the pews are also memorial gifts. These have been given by Messrs Henry A., Herbert A., D., and H. J. Le Cren, Mary Smart, James W. Preston, the New Zealand Alpine Club, Mrs E. E. Hayter, and Mrs L. M. Murray. Pews have also been presented by Mr and Mrs F. J. Carter, Mrs Bicknell, Mr B. N. Murray, and Mr Ogilvie (Christchurch). The altar rail was the gift of Mr H. S. Russell. Mr Peter Hope a visitor from Great Britain, bought and presented a site immediately west of the church section in order to prevent any building being erected near it. Additional subscriptions of the furnishing fund have been sent by Miss E. H. Tripp, Mrs C. M H. Stopford, Mr B. Tripp, "Wellwisher," and Mrs Teschemaker, and to the building fund by Mesdames J. M. Barker, Cave, Hayter, Lyford, J. Warren, and Watson, Mr and Mrs Vincent, Mr and Mrs W. Byers, Miss P. Boyle, Major P. Johnson, Messrs P. A. Elworthy, C. Major. Marshall, H. L. Porter, Rattray, W. Seymour, L. Hayter, Hurley, H. B. S. Johnstone, E. S. Kinnetten, Stevenson, and the parish of Timaru.
    The vicar offers thanks to "The Press," the Timaru "Herald," and the Timaru "Post" for articles and pictures, the committee, and the architect, Mr R. S. D. Harman.

 1948. The immediate surroundings of the church was left in its natural state covered with matagouri, tussock and rock.

1948  


April 1947 "Whites Aviation Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library".

Probably the most photographed church in New Zealand.  See the night sky. Reflection  a.  b. d  e. f.

"This monument was erected by the runholders of the Mackenzie County and those who also appreciate the value of the collie dog, without the help of which, the grazing of this mountain county would be impossible."  Unveiled on March 7th, 1968 by Sir Arthur C.B. Porritt, Bt. C.C.M.C., K.C.V.C.. C.B.E., Governor General of New Zealand.  "Beannachdan Air na Cu Caorach." Sculptured by Mrs Innes Elliot, a Mackenzie farmer's wife. The model was sent to England for casting in brass.

Hurricks, Peter, 1950-  O'Connor, Shirley The Story of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo, New Zealand; written by Peter Hurricks; drawings by Shirley O'Connor. [Fairlie]: P. Hurricks, [1985]  This booklet was produced for the fifty jubilee of the church. Rev. Peter Hurricks was appointed the parish vicar for five years in 1983.

  

"It is not surprising that a landscape which comes in through the windows should attract poets."

A forgotten artist rediscovered. Frederick George Gurnsey born in Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales, 18 January 1868, was one of the greatest European carvers in wood and stone ever to have worked in New Zealand. For almost fifty years, following his emigration from Britain in 1907, Gurnsey taught and carved in Canterbury.  He trained at the Central School in London. Between 1917 and 1920, he was acting Director of the Canterbury College School of Art, forerunner of today's School of Fine Arts. After taking early retirement in 1924, he devoted the rest of his life to freelance carving.  St. Mary's Church, Timaru, whose late Victorian heaviness is lent charm by Gurnsey's west doors, pulpit, choir stalls, organ case and altar (1925-50) and Litany Desk. St. Thomas, Woodbury has angels and roses carved by Gurnsey. The alter cross at St. Anne's, Pleasant Valley is a good example of his skill in metal work. He also did the work on the Bridge of Remembrance in CHCH.

The Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo (1934-5), where Gurnsey carved the one large block of Oamaru stone altar (the figure of Jesus is depicted in strong clear lines and is shown carrying the lamb firmly under one arm), altar cross and oak lectern stand are based on a designs by Mrs. Hope. The church is a memorial and is filled with pioneering memories. This beautiful Chapel is a well known landmark in many countries all around the world. He also did the relief carving on the stone font - edelweiss, mountain lilies and keas from drawings done by the donor of the font Mr Jack Tripp.  Mr Gurnsey died in Christchurch on 23 October 1953. An obituary appeared in The Press in Oct 1953. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography has a lengthy bio regarding Mr Gurnsey. Dr Mark Stocker,  Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Canterbury, where he has taught since 1986, wrote Angels and Roses: The Art of Frederick George Gurnsey and said his versatility provides a fascinating insight into artistic styles: from the Art Nouveau of the country church font cover to the 17th century "Wrenaissance" style of the Bishopscourt font and chair; from the Elizabethan revivalism of his flagons to the distinctively New Zealand imagery on the North Otago pews. Angels and Roses was a collaboration between Mark Stocker, Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Canterbury, and Anna Crighton, Registrar at the McDougall Art Gallery, who did the preliminary research on Gurnsey as a post graduate student at the University of Canterbury several years ago.

Esther HOPE 1885-1975. An artist, b. at Waihi, Woodbury, daughter of John Mathias Barker. She studied painting in England and on the Continent. Served as V.A.D. (Voluntary Aid Department) in Malta during First World War. She painted many water colours of the mountains and plains of the Mackenzie. Her sketch of a sod cottage can be found on the cover of Oliver A. Gillespie's South Canterbury A Record of Settlement and multiple pen and pencil drawings that depict high country life are found through out Jennifer Rayne's cookery book The Mackenzie Muster thanks to the generosity of Andrew Hope of Albury Park and twenty one  of her drawings are in Mrs A.E. Woodhouse's "New Zealand Farm & Station Verse."  Inside the front cover of 'High Endeavour' there is a drawing of station buildings by Mrs Hope. She spent most of her married life on 'Grampians Station'. 

George Murray was the owner of 'Braemar Station' in 1933 and represented the Tekapo riding on the Mackenzie County Council and was chairman from 1933 to 1935 and during his chairmanship the large central median plots down the main street in Fairlie were created.

Church of the Good Shepherd opened in 1935.  Recongised world wide.
June 1984

Photo taken 2nd Nov. 2009 by Gary W. "It is not surprising that a landscape which comes in through the windows should attract poets."
The alter plate glass window in the Church of the Good Shepherd, taken Nov. 2009, designed "to encompass the beauty of God's creation" and Motuariki Island to the right has pines with large cones. 13 Jan. 2013 an accidental fire destroyed 40% of the trees on the 25ha Motuariki Island. "It was a very sad sight to see these beautiful pines of many years old ablaze." Mr Empson said. The blaze got really big. Weddings are still held here but the minster has to be ordained, no celebrants allowed.


In the memory of the Pioneers of the Mackenzie Country. Foundation stone laid 6th January 1935. Campbell, Bishop. W.E.D. Davies, Vicar. The church was opened in August of that year.

Pew: IN MEMORY OF John McHutchison and his wife Mary the first white woman to live in the Mackenzie and to cross the Tekapo River in 1856, to settle at The Wolds given by Misses F. and D. McHutchison, Mrs D.J. Canning and Mr N.J. Walton. 

Weddings 
From that August 3, 1935 opening, the church began to play a significant role in the life of the Mackenzie community, and only a short while later the first marriage ceremony was conducted in it. Interestingly, the bridegroom on the day was one of the men who built it, Mr Doug Rodman, who was married to Miss Peggy Trott.  Dec. 1935 John William Douglas married Peggy Geraldine Trott. Dorothy Trott, bridesmaid. G.H. Harrison best man. Freda White, bridesmaid.

Press, 16 December 1935, Page 3 RODMAN�TROTT
It was fitting that the first wedding to be celebrated at the little memorial Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo should have been that of Peggy Geraldine, second daughter of Mr and Mrs F. Trott, Tekapo, and John Douglas, only son of Mrs Rodman and the late Mr Rodman, because the bridegroom had participated in the building of the structure. The wedding, which took place on Saturday, was a picturesque one, the beautiful view of the lake with its vivid blue, showing from the window behind the altar, blended with the frocks of the bridesmaids and the blue irises and blue delphiniums arranged in the church. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. W. J. Couling, and music was played by Mrs Hoskins, of Simon�s Hill Station. The bride, who was escorted by her father, wore a cream satin frock, the bodice having a high cowl neckline, and long bishop sleeves. The skirt was close fitting and flowed into a long train at the back. Her embroidered tulle veil was arranged from a coronet of pearls, and she carried a sheaf of delphiniums. Miss Freda White (Christchurch) and Miss Dorothy Trott, sister of the bride, attended as bridesmaids. They wore early Victorian frocks of blue check taffeta, the bodices being trimmed with crystal buttons down the front. Turned-down collars were caught with small bows of delphinium blue velvet, and blue velvet sashes were tied in flat bows at the front of the waistlines. They wore halo head-dresses of delphiniums, and carried posies of delphiniums and abutilons. A reception was held at Tekapo House, where Mrs Trott received the guests, wearing a black georgette frock, the bodice being of grey and black patterned georgette. Her hat was of black straw, and she wore a fur necklet and carried a bouquet of cream roses. Mrs Rodman wore a cigar brown tailored suit trimmed with a wide brown taffeta collar and bow. Her hat was of brown straw, and she carried a bouquet of pink roses.


Mr and Mrs J.W.D. Rodman were the first couple married in the Church of the Good Shepherd.
Note there is a typo in the initials of Mr. Rodman. The Press 16 Dec. 1935 also got his initials wrong.

Roberta Susan Anderson married John Rodman in 1904. Children:
1905 Mary Roberta Patricia
1909 John William Douglas

The Press, 6 Feb. 1936. John Frederick Bruce Stronach, 2nd son of Mrs Robert Latter (Christchurch) married Ruth Graham Haggitt , elder daughter of Dean P.B. Haggitt (Nelson) on January 28th 1936.


He was a musterer.

Press, 9 September 1936, Page 2 ISITT�ISITT
At the Church of the Good Shepherd, Tekapo the wedding was celebrated recently by the Rev. Ronald Watson (Ashburton), of Mary Katherine (Maisie), only daughter of Mr and Mrs C. W. Isitt (�La Mothe,� Fairlie), to the Rev. William Moore Isitt, of Hendon, London. Dr. Harold Gibson (Invercargill), the bride�s cousin, was the organist. The bride wore a suit of parchment silk cord, a mink stole, and a picture hat of brown Bangkok straw. She carried a posy of scarlet anemones. Mr C. W. Isitt escorted his daughter, who was attended by Mrs Frank C. Isitt, as matron of honour. Mrs Isitt wore a smart navy suit, made with a cape effect, and relieved with cream and navy checked material. Her wide brimmed hat was of navy straw, and she wore a posy of primroses. Mr John C. Isitt was best man. As the bride left the church she was presented with a lucky horseshoe by her small niece, Lynn Isitt. A reception was held at �Takapo House,� where Mrs Isitt received the guests wearing a finely checked black and white suit, and a black fur felt hat. Her posy was of grape hyacinths and primroses. When the Rev. and Mrs W. Isitt left for their wedding tour the bride was wearing 'a tailored brown suit, a small close-fitting hat, and a dark musquash coat.

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