The stained glass windows on either side of the ambulatory were designed by Beverley Shore-Bennett of Wellington. Those on the left hand side (facing the altar) depict the life of Christ. Those on the right hand side depict sayings from St John’s Gospel.
The West windows above the gallery are of abstract design and are best viewed in the evening light when the sun is low.
Beverley Shore-Bennett said at the dedication of the final three windows in 2005 “Glass is not just beauty, but communication; it should lead you to ponder, recollect and be inspired by the great Christian truths.”
The window designs were realised by two glass collaborators – Paul Hutchins and Stephen Belanger-Taylor. Again at the 2005 dedication Beverley Shore-Bennett commented that “I like to think of the process similar to a composer setting down a symphony on paper but the notes remain just black and white marks until the musicians turn the composition into glorious music. Paul and Stephen’s skill has been superb.”
The glass makers
Stephen Bélanger-Taylor studied at the Royal College of Art, London and since graduating in 1965 has worked on and created stained glass windows in the UK, France, Canada, New Zealand and the USA. The majority of his work is in Canada and New Zealand with his most recent, 2007, being the 3 west windows in the church of St. Thomas, Woodbury, New Zealand. The designs he interpreted into stained glass for the Nave windows at Waiapu Cathedral represented a particular challenge in that they had to 'fit' with existing glass but still give him the creative freedom for his own work.
Beverley Shore Bennett MBE was born in Wellington in 1928, descended on both sides from New Zealand pioneers.
She attended Samuel Marsden Collegiate School and while still there joined evening life classes with F.V.Ellis at Wellington Art School. Her love of, and skill in, portraiture was born when she attended special classes with Betty Rhind.
On leaving Marsden she attended full time art school and in 1951 travelled to England spending two years at the Byam Shaw School of Drawing and Painting. While there she took part in several exhibitions including at the Royal Academy.
In 1953 Beverley returned home. She married and continued painting portrait commissions. Then in 1969 she was asked to design a window for Wellington Cathedral in memory of the founder of the Holm Shipping Company. This began a wonderful collaboration with glass makers Roy Miller, Paul Hutchins and Stephen Belanger-Taylor. There are now over three hundred of her window designs in New Zealand. Her work in Napier Cathedral began with the four-light west window.
Beverley has also designed and made church vestments and hangings, the largest being the dossal in Wellington Cathedral.
She is the only New Zealand woman to be an elected Fellow of the British Society of Master Glass Painters.
While Beverley is no longer actively involved in design she is kept busy with consultancy work and with family life, and as a lay minister in her Waikanae parish.