Diocese of Dunedin Crest by Diocese of Dunedin

The Mystery of a Crest

You will be familiar with the crest for the Diocese of Dunedin... but who designed it and how did it come about?

We were asked this from an interesting source. Rev’d Liz Greville JP, Mihana Awhina/Missioner for Te Hui Amorangi ki te Upoko o te Ika (north of Wellington) requested a high resolution copy of our crest, and if we knew anything about it's history and how it came about. She writes:

I am developing a work about the establishing of the Anglican Dioceses and Amorangi in Aotearoa NZ. One part of the learning will be a timeline with the crests on it and relate to other components currently being worked on as part of our NZ church history unit.

So, with a little bit of sleuthing, we came up with... not much to pass on. We were wondering if anyone out there has anything they recall about our Diocesan crest?

We asked the Ven Bernard Wilkinson and Dr Tony Fitchett what they knew, and Tony wrote back saying:

I'm afraid I don't know anything about the background of the coat of arms, apart from the fact that (my) grandfather was involved it getting it made official. I assume the stars represent the Southern Cross - the arms of several dioceses have stars, but generally only three, derived, I think, from the Diocese of Auckland [which, as the Diocese of NZ, once included the whole country, as well as Melanesia] - and the book is presumably the Bible.

We did pass on some information as follows: 

The office has a copy of an official certificate (attached) that was issued in 1949 to Bishop Fitchett confirming our crest. The Diocese was formed on 1 January 1869 (formerly it came under the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch) and originally the crest of Bishop Nevil Tarrant was used. The certificate we have says it is “Gules a Saltire between four Mullets Argent surrounded by an open Bible”. Gules is a darker shade of red, mullet means a straight sided star with "argent" being the white border to the star.

We have also found reference to commissioning of the seal in 15 October 1931 in papers past, as reported in an Otago Daily Times (page 6) newspaper account of what went on in Synod. 

If you know anything else about our Crest, please get in touch with Andrew Metcalfe phone 03 488 0821. We will update this article with any contributions. 

Diocese of Dunedin Crest in Auckland with an extra (unusual) detail — Image by: Andrew Metcalfe