Church build picks up gold at project awards

Award winning . . . St Mary’s Church in Pleasant Point won a gold medal in the New Zealand Commercial Projects Awards, which recognised the contribution of the whole team including (from left) architect Desmond Prisk and Timaru Construction senior project manager Graham Cadigan. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

The team behind the construction of St Mary’s Church in Pleasant Point have the Midas touch.

The church won a gold medal in the tourism and leisure category at the New Zealand Commercial Project Awards held on May 23.

The Master Builders-run awards judges said the build process was under the constant watch of local parishioners, adding a layer of communal interest to the project’s execution.

‘‘This project, unique for its small, close-knit community setting, demanded special attention to detail, especially when working at high elevations on the church’s steep roof.

‘‘The new church stands as a testament to resilience, community involvement, and the ability to overcome logistical and technical challenges in construction.’’

Opihi Parish property manager David Attwood said parishioners were feeling very proud.

‘‘But also we’re thrilled for the builder and architect in particular.’’

Mr Attwood said Timaru Construction had navigated the complexities of building through a pandemic, with supply chain challenges affecting the cost and schedule.

He said architect Desmond Prisk had put his heart in to the project, and had been overwhelmed on its opening by the beauty of it.

Mr Attwood said he felt the award said a lot about the character of the Pleasant Point community, and the character of the parish.

When he had attended a recent mass to give a background on what the awards meant, he reminded the congregation it was not about who had led the project, but all of the community behind it.

Spectacular sight . . . The church paid homage to its original form, the new structure echoing the former building through recycled timber and salvaged interior elements.

He said you could do anything if you had a mandate from the people and their support behind the process.

‘‘I said the Pleasant Point community — in particular — should feel very proud of what was achieved.

‘‘You were the people who fought for it, you gave the mandate for it, and you supported it.’’

He said the build was well supported by the parish and the diocese.

‘‘The construction team and the architect capped it all off.’’

He said the building had an ambience to it that was quite special.

‘‘People can go in there at any time for some time out and to say a prayer.’’

He said non-religious people were not excluded from the building.

‘‘They can sit there and contemplate life

‘‘They can enjoy the ambience.’’