Metal hands caught Metalier’s eyes

Metal hands used as a handle in a dear little church in Little Akaroa, Pigeon Bay on Banks Peninsular, New Zealand, caught my eye on a recent visit to the South Island. The history of the church and the settlement in Little Akaroa is an interesting one.  Bishop Selwyn visited there in February 1856 travelling in his mission schooner.

It is told that as the schooner’s rowing boat neared shore the Bishop called out “Do you know who I am? I am Bishop Selwyn, the travelling Bishop”. With that he leapt out of the rowing boat into waist deep water and helped pull the boat to the beach. We expect that he wasn’t wearing his mitre at the time.

The current church building which house the metal hands was built in the years 1905-6. It was built under the direction of a Mr Menzies who was a well-known local amateur carver “of the highest order”.

The outward appearance of the church is concrete with a pebble dashed surface. The church is designed in the well-known cruciform pattern with a little bell tower. It is well proportioned. Nothing on the outside prepares you for the inside however. The church is lavishly decorated in Maori form carving, White limestone features Maori carvings, the rafters are decorated with Maori patterns and there were Maori designs in the coloured glass.

It was unusual for this period to use Maori patterns and St Luke’s is one of the earliest European buildings to feature them. It seems that Mr Menzies did not consult local Maori who were somewhat put out about the use of their designs.

The little metal hands feature as a door handle on what looks like it could be the door to the choir vestry. Metalier can design and coat door handles to enhance any door. Just try us!

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