Resene Total Colour Awards category winner Damien Walker joked about getting up and taking to the catwalk to receive his award on August 28.

“[The Resene Total Colour Awards] was in collaboration with New Zealand Fashion Week, which is so much fun, going on the catwalk was so much fun,” he laughed.

His renovation work on the Holy Passion of Our Lord church in Amberley, about 40 minutes north of Christchurch, won the Resene Total Colour Heritage Award for 2019.

From left: Rosanna Staub (interior designer
and planner), Noel Walker (business accounts
manager), Kathy Light (business and financial
advisor), Damien Walker (founder and director
of the Studio of Saint Philomena), Jo Gainsford
(award-winning colour consultant).

“It was quite amazing that [the Holy Passion of Our Lord church in Amberley] was presented at something like that. It is quite prestigious.”

Founded and directed by Mr Walker in 2011, the Studio of Saint Philomena in North Canterbury has taken on a number of projects — from religious icon restoration to fully renovating Catholic heritage buildings — since the
Christchurch earthquakes.

Entries in the Resene awards came from throughout Oceania, including New Zealand, Australia and Indonesia.

Mr Walker said it was “unique” for the Canterbury region to win such an

“We were competing in the categories with some of the large architectural
and design firms in New Zealand, Australia, and abroad.”

Mr Walker said the win means a lot for the diocese.

“It’s massive. It’s an opportunity to showcase the heritage that we’ve
got and the gems that we’ve got in the diocese.

“It’s great for the studio [too] because it gives us the opportunity to show that we are capable of handling and looking after and nurturing some of these buildings and to help with the face of New Zealand and grow its beauty.”

Good Shepherd (Hurunui) parish priest Fr Mathew Siji Valloppallil, MCBS, was elated with the win.

Mr Walker was approached by Fr John O’Connor, now Rangiora parish priest, in 2016 to restore the church to its former glory in celebration of
its 150 year anniversary in 2019.

Mr Walker took advice from an English historic building specialist and professional colour consultant Jo Gainsford on how to tackle the project. They came up with a number of reference images, drawings and initial colour boards ideally suited for the church.

“It’s quite an unusual colour scheme up there. Very different,” Mr Walker said.

“The Resene colour range was chosen,enabling us to match closely the
original colours and tones, that were in keeping with the building of [the] 1950s era,” he said.

The judges felt this project was “clearly dear to the hearts of many”.

“The colour palette has been ever so carefully researched, and delightfully celebrates the building’s history.

In sympathy with the tradition of ecclesiastical ornamentation, the bold
colour palette is immediately inviting and uplifting, not austere as you might expect. The colour focus captures your attention and holds it; a passionate use of colour.”