Taupo artist Jennifer Cook-Battersby opens her studio for Garden Walks

Taupo artist Jennifer Cook-Battersby opens her studio for Garden Walks

Taupō Vicar, Rev’d Jenny Chalmers says that ‘Gardens, Flowers, and All That Jazz’ ia a jazzed up version of the long-established St Andrew’s garden walks. Nineteen of Taupō’s top gardens will be open on Saturday November 18, and Sunday November 19 which pretty well coincides with the 87th birthday of the church in Titiraupenga St. “Think a whole lot of hoop-la, bebop, outside action and indoor entertainment.  Festival, flavours, art, music, sculpture and a fabulous flower carpet in the church,” says the Rev’d Chalmers. ‘Gardens, Flowers, and All That Jazz’ will feature Jennifer Cook–Battersby's studio patio garden. 

Jenny traces the opening of the first St Andrew’s Church to 1931. “It was delayed by the Hawkes Bay earthquakes, but the process had been kicked off back in 1928 during the bleakest days of the Great Depression. That 35-seater church has survived two enlargement projects and Taupō worshippers and concert-goers now enjoy it as the picturesque timber and stained-glass sanctuary.”

The 1930s church was dedicated in memory of St Andrew of Lake Galilee - the patron saint of anglers. But Taupō Anglican Church already had its roots deep in its community, dating from the earliest planting of mission work among Ngāti Tuwharetoa in the 1830s. A century of mission work followed among Māori all around Lake Taupō, at a time when Taupō itself boasted only a few hundred inhabitants and no easy road access.

Then the congregation was served by clergy who were part of the Rotorua Māori Mission. However, with its own new 1931 building, the infant congregation grew, and took its place as a high-profile organisation as Taupō itself blossomed. By the 1960s, the original timber church was clearly far too small for its regular users, and a new auditorium (or ‘nave’) was added, seating another 100.

Taupō and the congregations continued to steadily grow, until at the end of the 1990s, a complete redevelopment resulted in the present graceful 250-seat auditorium and a frequently-used set of meeting rooms and offices. The older parts of the church were reconfigured and melded into the new St Andrew’s Centre.

The Rev’d Chalmers says that two more stained galss windows will be added this year.The first in memory of Annette Collier, who with her husband Gordon Collier owned impressive Titoki Point gardens, was placed in the sanctuary and dedicated at the end of September. The second, on the left hand of the nave, donated by local businessman Malcolm Flowers has been designed and work on it will begin shortly .  

And so, Gardens Flowers & All That Jazz kicks off on Friday night [Nov 17] at St Andrew’s with a bright cocktail party complete with a floral carpet in the church, plus canapés, refreshments, music “and dancing (if you dare) – raising the rafters as well as funds.”

The garden walks happen on Saturday Nov 18, between 10am and 4pm, and on Sunday Nov 19th between 10am and 2pm. Sixteen of the town’s most beautiful private gardens will be open for viewing, some for the first time ever, and each with a unique point of difference. They will be themed for the event and host a range of demonstrations. “Think art, sculpture, live jazz, Christmas displays, and classical music in some gardens, plus vintage cars on hand,” says Rev’d Jenny

Refreshments will be served at St Andrew’s from 4.15 till 5.30pm 

Sunday Nov 19 is the “Festival of Christ in Creation” in the Anglican Church calendar, and so the worship that day will follow the theme of “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” The church complex will be open that week for the public who’d like to view the floral carpet, with a Christmas theme  - “a feast of floral art.”

Posted: Fri 23 Oct 2015