You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Bishop Wright said after the service the story ultimately illustrated the access, even in a desert, of God's saving love.
"It's always hopeful that the love of God is always available," he said.
The sesquicentennial was that of the whole diocese, including Otago and Southland.
He acknowledged the challenging history of the cathedral building, including the earlier need for rebuilding, and the removal and later replacement of some parts of the physical structure over the years - all steps which were reflected in a display of historical photographs at the cathedral.
The biblical story of the wellspring of love and transformation offered just as much hope for parishioners today as it had 150 years ago, and the strength of the diocese was ultimately based on the love of God, and not on buildings, he said.
The present Bishop, the Right Rev Steven Benford, presided at the two-hour service, and, after the 25 doves were released, he blessed a memorial native tree.