Teschemakers’ site ‘blows visitors away’

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Strong support was shown at the Teschemaker’s open day yesterday, which also celebrated the historic altar staying in North Otago.

Spokesperson for the Teschemaker’s Heritage Protection Society Susie Scott said nearly 100 people visited and they were all very impressed.

“This was really letting people know and allowing people to come and see what a stunning place it is,” she said.

“They were totally blown away by the lovely place.

“It was fabulous.”

There has been some controversy surrounding the historic site, resulting in a battle to retain the altar and other fittings within the chapel involved protests at the site and a long court battle.

Recently, a High Court decision confirmed the altar could not be removed from the chapel without a resource consent.

Ms Scott said she hoped the decision marked the end of the battle and that there would not be an application for a resource consent.

She said the altar was the history and heritage of Teschemakers.

Yesterday, a spokesperson for the Trinity Trust confirmed they were looking at applying for a resource consent.

The chapel was built in 1916 and is part of the former Catholic girls’ boarding school, on land and buildings donated by Ms Scott’s grandfather Peter McCarthy in 1911 and 1918.

The 270-piece altar, which was imported from Italy, was donated to the chapel in 1926 by the Hart family.

When Teschemakers was sold by the Dominican Sisters in 2000, it was intended that the altar and the stained glass windows in the chapel would be gifted to the Holy Name parish.

Last year a reunion was held, which attracted a large number of people.

“It was an intregal part of the boarding school, the home to the nuns, and to the local community,” she said.

“And to all of the students that have gone through that place.”

The plan is to turn Teschemakers into a wedding, conference and bus tour venue.

All proceeds from the open day, which has an admission charge of $10, will go to the Teschemakers’ Heritage Protection Society.

Check out page 9 of today’s Oamaru Mail for more photos.

By Jessie Waite