Sam Duckor-Jones moved to Greymouth in October 2021 where he transformed an old church into his wonderfully pink art project “Gloria of Greymouth”
"I've always had a big crush on the West Coast, even though I hadn't spent time here except for fast drives through on the road on South Island road-trips." Sam confesses, Sam was always much of a ‘nature boy’ as a kid. "I couldn't afford to live in my hometown anymore, so when this church came up in Greymouth, I thought it's a great opportunity to live with that beating, back bush that I love so much."
Describing his journey to creating ‘Gloria’, Sam explains, "I wasn't just looking for a place to live. I was also looking for a workshop to make art in." The church became the perfect canvas for his creativity. "I suddenly realized that the church could be the artwork itself, and then everything just moved very quickly and spiraled in a positive way into becoming Gloria of Greymouth."
“One of the main parts of the Gloria Kuapapa (Principles) is to celebrate queer communities, rainbow communities in small towns. Encourage queer people who are everywhere to stay and thrive in their small towns instead of having to run away to Auckland or Sydney.”
Sam envisions it as an immersive public sculpture. Describing the evolving project, Sam shares, "I've got seven parishioners so far, and I'm going to build 30 of them." These parishioners Sam describes are made of paper mâché and adorned in various fun costumes.
When asked about his favourite part of living on the West Coast, Sam passionately states, "It's by far the friendliest place I've ever lived." He praises the welcoming community “Everyone is very easy to talk to and get close to and generous with their friendship, Sharing the friendship circles with me.”
Sam also loves the natural environment of the West Coast, “I adore the environment. I love the sound of the surf in the air. I love just the power of that coast that gets in your ears, I love having access to the rainforest for a casual stroll in the afternoon.” He adds
Describing the kind of person who thrives on the West Coast, Sam highlights the need to be open-minded, non-judgmental, and ready to embrace the elements. "It's a rollercoaster. It's fun. It's just completely magical," he concludes.