Giving Beyond - A contribution of significance

17 November 2021Media Release

Since the February 2011 earthquakes, the Christchurch community has fought hard to save its cathedral. Architectural historian and heritage consultant to CCRL, Jenny May, is someone whose continued efforts have helped safeguard this church for future generations. 
Jenny plays a crucial role in the work of the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Project. With heritage professional William Fulton, she provides advice on the heritage aspects of the project including compliance matters with regard to the heritage related conditions of the resource consents. She works closely with the architects, engineers, stonemasons and contractors to ensure the protection, conservation and good heritage practice of the building. Jenny was also an 
establishment Trustee of the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Trust.

“A building is just stone and mortar but it’s the history, culture and stories that bring a building alive,” says Jenny. “I have a good understanding of the cultural and spiritual heritage of this church. When contractors bring me items they have found, I can generally identify where they are from and 
can tell a story about them.”
It’s this knowledge that allows her to ensure the human history of the building is maintained.
Jenny has been incredibly generous with both her time and financial contributions to the reinstatement project. As well as giving monetary donations, she has also undertaken aspects of work in kind. 

“I think it’s really important that we give as a community, in whatever ways we can,” says Jenny.
Her reasons for her giving seem to be fuelled by her drive to connect the wider community 
to this cathedral. “This building is important to the people of Christchurch,” she says. 
“And not necessarily the people who attend as part of the Cathedral community. 
Everyone has their own connection to this building - it means different things to different people. 
As Jenny says, “Donating to this project isn’t about how much you give. It’s about people’s willingness to be part of a wider community and their recognition of the cultural and spiritual significance of this place.”
“I’m always delighted when the contractors ask me about the heritage and history of the cathedral,” says Jenny. “When I’m on site or have been up on the crane or scaffolding, the team are always interested in the cultural and historical aspects of the building, I feel grateful that it brings them meaning.”

In addition to her role at CCRL, Jenny is involved in several heritage projects in the city. She has and continues to be involved in a number of Trusts and Boards including serving as a Lay Canon of the Dean and Chapter of Christ Church Cathedral. Jenny will continue to remain active and interested in the reinstatement project and is passionate about encouraging the community to continue to engage in the reinstatement of this iconic and significant spiritual building.