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Iconic NZ Landmark Celebrates 75 Year Milestone

Iconic New Zealand Landmark Celebrates 75 Year Milestone

His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester[1] KG GCVO, will join generations of Mackenzie Country residents next month in celebrating the 75th Jubilee of one of New Zealand’s most famous landmarks - The Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Tekapo.

A special one hour 75th Jubilee Church service will be held on Saturday 22 May at 11.30am and all are welcome to attend. This will be followed by a lunch for which registrations are required. Another service will be held on Sunday 23 May at 11.30am.

The position of The Duke of Gloucester has a unique connection with the Church of the Good Shepherd - the Church’s foundation stone was laid on 15th January 1935 by his father, His Royal Highness Prince Henry, The Duke of Gloucester.

John Murray, a member of the 75th Jubilee committee and great grandson of George Murray (the runholder of Braemar Station who purchased the land for the church to be built on), says everyone is delighted the Duke of Gloucester is able to attend the Saturday service and lunch.

“It is fitting that the present Duke of Gloucester is able to be invited to attend our 75th Jubilee celebrations considering the historical connection with the position. The Duke is in New Zealand to attend the St John celebrations for 125 years of service to New Zealand communities.”

Built by the runholders of the Mackenzie as a place of Christian worship and a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country, The Church of the Good Shepherd is situated on the shores of Lake Tekapo with unspoiled views of the lake and mountains.

Over the years the church’s quaint charm and stunning location have turned it into an international must-see tourist attraction and the subject of countless photos and postcards.

While to many The Church of the Good Shepherd is an international icon, to the people of the Mackenzie Country it is much more – it is an integral part of the community and the local history where people go for Sunday services, baptisms, weddings and funerals.

“The church has become a mainstay for our community over the years, including our run holders who come from near and far,” says John. “Our population has grown since 1935 but the church is still the place we all come together to celebrate the good times and support each other through the bad. There are also many visitors from within New Zealand and overseas who join with the local congregation to worship at the church.”

Many of the church’s key features are items donated by local families, many of whom (or their descendants) will be attending the 75th celebrations. These include the church bell and the famous altar window which faces north toward the lake and mountains ‘to encompass the beauty of God’s creation’.

The Church of the Good Shepherd was designed originally by Christchurch architect Richard Harman who took the idea from a plasticine model sculptured by Mrs Esther Hope, a local artist from Grampians Station. The interior carvings of the altar and oak furnishings were carved by Frederick George Gurnsey, a notable Canterbury sculptor.

Architectural plans of the Church will be available to view as well as a copy of the Book of Remembrance in which the local stations and farmhands’ names are recorded and a copy of the original Register of Services.

While vested in Anglican Church Property Trustees of the Diocese of Christchurch, the church was not consecrated as part of the dedication service held on 3rd August 1935. For this reason, the Church is interdenominational and used by all Christian denominations in the area. It is part of the Mackenzie Anglican/Presbyterian Co-operating Parish of Fairlie. Congregations of the three main faiths worship regularly in the Church.

For more information about The Church of the Good Shepherd or the 75th Jubilee celebrations visit www.mtcooknz.com.


The Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo

[1] Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester (Richard Alexander Walter George; born 26 August 1944) is a member of the British Royal Family, the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. He has been The Duke of Gloucester since his father's death in 1974. The Duke is currently 19th in the line of succession. The Duke of Gloucester carries out Royal engagements on behalf of his cousin, Queen Elizabeth II.

ENDS

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