The building has been designed to be a low-level structure to minimise its visual impact and to ensure that St Patrick's Church remains paramount on the site.
The building is viewed primarily as a series of stone walls; reminiscent of the stone structures built by the early settlers. The roof hovering over it will also be clad in stone so that the entire structure will be read as one.
The Olive Leaf roof structure is to be seen floating over a light-filled communal hall. A cool, peaceful, more intimate space lies below ground level accessed via a spiral stairway ending in an enclosed crypt-like space reminiscent of churches of old. This space offers a peaceful, quiet, spiritual place for locals and visitors alike.
Incorporated into the design are also features highlighting the rich cultural heritage of the early settlers in the area. Symbolic Maori motifs in mosaics are patterned into the stone walls. A glass koru motif will be embedded into the floor of the outdoor entrance courtyard to allow sunlight to filter to the quiet sanctuary space below.
The Olive Leaf Centre is intended to form an integral part of an overall site complex and will ensure the preservation and maintenance of both the Mary Mackillop Cottage and the St Patrick's Church.
The Centre will be administered by the 'Olive Leaf Trust', an independent charitable body. The Trust is optimistic that it will be able to fund the project through grants and donations including those from patrons of the arts.