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Christchurch City Council Media Release 6 September 2001

Lighting of Chalice in Cathedral Square

Artist's impression of Chalice
Artist's impression of Chalice

An official lighting ceremony for Chalice, Christchurch’s major new art icon by Neil Dawson, will be held this Friday, 7 September 2001, at 8pm.

The Cathedral Square ceremony will include the gifting of Chalice by the Turning Point 2000 Trust to the Christchurch City Council for the people of Christchurch.

Those attending the ceremony, to which members of the public are invited, will include:

Chalice will be lit with one flood light situated inside the base of the cone.

Ian Leggat, Chairman of the Turning Point 2000 Trust, says, "Turning Point 2000 is delighted to present Chalice to the people of Canterbury. Chalice is an elegant sculpture which will delight and surprise all who see it. It is a cultural landmark of international quality and epic scale which expresses the spirit of Canterbury."


The Turning Point 2000 Trust commissioned Neil Dawson to produce a major contemporary, public artwork for Christchurch. Chalice, a permanent sculpture, celebrates the new millennium and the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Christchurch and Canterbury by the Canterbury Association.

The sculpture project was led by Art 2000, one of fourteen Turning Point 2000 Advisory Groups. Turning Point 2000 raised the funds for Chalice through grants from The Community Trust and the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board. In addition, Christchurch City Council has met the cost of the foundations, granite base, drainage works and lighting.

Chalice has a primary hexagonal steel structure and a solid steel conical base. The native leaf patterns are cut from aluminium sheet, welded to custom-made triangular beam structures, and then bolted into position on the frame.

The exterior of the conical structure is painted silver using a durable automotive paint. The interior of the sculpture, seen through the perforated shell, is painted metallic blue.

Surrounding the foot of Chalice is a dark band of black pearl granite in six segments making a circle just over 3 metres in diameter.

Chalice stands 18 metres high and is 1.2 metres in diameter at the ground and 8.5 metres in diameter at the top. The conical shape mirrors the spire of Christchurch Cathedral.

Chalice has a solid steel base up to approximately three metres above the ground and beyond that comprises a perforated network of 42 aluminium shapes depicting the leaves of native trees that previously grew in the city area. The leaves depicted are mapou, kowhai, mahoe, totara, karamu, titoki, ngaio, maratata and koromiko. The 42 leaf patterns – complex constructions made up of computer routed shapes – are also intended to reflect the geometric features of the Cathedral, architecture, windows and tiles. As the leaves become larger, higher up the sculpture, they also become more detailed and less dense. The open texture of the artwork allows views into and through it.

Neil Dawson’s sculptures are sought after nationally and internationally and his works are on display at Stadium Australia in Sydney, Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Wellington and Auckland.

Neil has designed Chalice and closely supervised production of the fully engineered sculpture. The project has also involved a number of local contractors including:

Further enquiries to:

Rae Finlay (former CEO of Turning Point 2000)
Managing Director of Tenth Dot Management
Tel 03 365 2411
Fax 03 365 2414
Mobile 025 54 2000

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