St George's Gate Pa

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The cross was carved by James Tapiata (nephew of Puti Rolleston, a parishioner). It has a greenstone Maori fishhook entwined around a cross, to remember Christís mission as a fisher of people, and to show the ties between Maori and Pakeha.


The carving on the font represents a merging of the two cultures, with the designs intended to be symbolic.
The base is carved in the traditional fish motif, intended to represent the fronds of fern, recalling that the crowds cast palm fronds before Christ as he entered Jerusalem.
Radiating from the design are widening circles which are repeated and elaborated in the pedestal, the sides of which are designed in interlocking and ever-widening circles which portray eternity and the everlasting love of God.
In two panels the spirals are notched, and there is no difference, just as there is no discrimination between members of the Christian family. The pattern of the fishbone is also used symbolizing the calling of the disciples and the command: "Henceforth you shall be fishers of people." The top, or receptacle for the basin, is carved in western style and features the dove, the spirit of peace, carrying in its beak a branch of a tree which encircles the font and encloses it, and finally joins together in two hands, one offering a calabash of water and the other outstretched to receive it.
This portion of the font recalls the Battle of Gate Pa, on the site of St George's Church, in 1864, and commemorates the act of a Christian Maori giving water to a wounded English officer; "If thine enemy thirst, give him drink."
The font illustrates the union of two cultures in a common bond, each retaining its identity and being made richer by the contribution of the other.

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