23 Aug 2015

Snapshot ban 'reclaiming the space'

11:18 am on 23 August 2015

Taking photos inside the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shore of Lake Tekapo has been banned to preserve the space for quiet reflection.

The Church of the Good Shepherd, Tekapo.

The Church of the Good Shepherd, Tekapo. Photo: 123RF

One of the most photographed churches in the country, the 1935 stone building is a popular tourist destination attracting an estimated 100,000 visitors each year.

A large window behind the altar allows visitors a view of the picturesque lake and mountains.

Parish minister Reverend Andrew McDonald said it was a place where people were invited to be still, and reflect.

"Some people come in there, maybe experiencing grief or just taking time to reflect over their life and to enjoy the stunning view in front of them," he told Radio New Zealand's Sunday Morning programme.

But with increasing tourism and coaches full of travellers, the tranquil space was under pressure.

"Some people would be sitting in the church, reflecting quietly while there'd be a queue of twenty people hustling for a photograph at the altar.

"And we thought, actually, no we had to really reclaim that space and provide it for those who want to be reflective."

A service was being held today to celebrate the church's 80th anniversary.