St Paul’s Memorial Church at Putiki and Parish Hall proposed for heritage listing


Heritage New Zealand is proposing to recognise the outstanding heritage significance of Whanganui’s St Paul’s Memorial Church (Anglican) and its Pūtiki Parish Hall, as a Category 1 historic place on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero.

St Paul’s Memorial Church, consecrated in December 1937, continues the long history of the Anglican mission at Pūtiki. As well as being an important community spiritual facility, the Church is associated with Sir Apirana Ngata’s programme to revive traditional Māori arts. The magnificent interior is a showcase of carving, tukutuku panelling, kōwhaiwhai- painted rafters, and kākaho-lined ceilings. These come together in a special and striking fusion with the European neo-Gothic architectural form of the building.

Because of this, Blyss Wagstaff, Senior Heritage Assessment Advisor, Central Region, Heritage New Zealand says that the Church “…is an embodiment of the influences that Christianity and Māori culture have had on each other”. The adjacent Hall was built in 1953 and in 1972 eminent artist, the late Dr Cliff Whiting, continued to evolve Ngata’s ideas by creating contemporary interpretations of customary art on the Hall’s interior.

There is an on-going Whiting family connection with the Pūtiki buildings, because Heritage New Zealand’s Director Kaiwhakahaere Tautiaki Taonga and Kaupapa Māori, Dean Whiting, has been working on the conservation of the Church interior, along with colleague Jim Schuster. This work has created an opportunity to pass on their knowledge to tangata whenua arts specialists working on the project, while ensuring the future of the building’s taonga. “The listing acknowledges the important place that St Paul’s represents not only as a spiritual home for its community but a key part of the arts and cultural renaissance led by Ngata,” says Dean.

You can find out more about this place on Heritage New Zealand’s website on the Notified Proposals page.

You can make a submission about the proposed List entry until 19 March 2019.

Written submissions should be addressed to 

Karen Astwood
Area Manager Central
Heritage New Zealand
PO Box 2629
Wellington 6140

There is official submission form to complete - please email or write to us to let us know your views about this proposal.