Church of St Peter and St Paul (Catholic)

83 Puhoi Road, Puhoi

  • Church of St Peter and St Paul (Catholic). Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl. Taken By: Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl. Date: 22/09/2013.
  • Church of St Peter and St Paul (Catholic). Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl. Taken By: Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl. Date: 22/09/2013.
  • Church of St Peter and St Paul (Catholic). Image courtesy of .
    Copyright: Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl. Taken By: Shellie Evans - flyingkiwigirl. Date: 22/09/2013.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 83 Date Entered 16th November 1989


City/District Council

Auckland Council (Rodney District Council)


Auckland Council

Legal description

Allot 125 Parish of Puhoi (CT NA50/228), North Auckland Land District

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The first settlers in Puhoi, arrived in 1863. They were all of Bohemian origin (part of present-day Czechoslovakia) and Catholic. From the outset the settlers wanted a church in their community. In 1865 a visiting priest, Father D'Acherman, began bi-monthly visits and in 1880, the first resident priest, Father Adelaar was appointed. Services were held in the government school. In this same year Father Adelaar suggested a church be erected.

This suggestion was accepted with enthusiasm by the entire community which contributed the time, labour and finance. The church was completed in a few months at a cost of £267 and the first service held on 19 July 1881. The new church was reported to be spacious, well-lit and ventilated. The name of the church had originated from the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul. The settlers had landed in Puhoi on this day in 1863.

The church was used to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the founding of Puhoi in 1923 and in 1963 it was used to commemorate one hundred years of settlement. At both jubilees alterations and improvements were made to the church. The major contribution of the settlers was the provision of coloured glass windows, each window bearing the name of the first families. For this each family paid five pounds. The church is now visited by a priest from Warkworth and the Puhoi presbytery is no longer occupied.

Architectural Significance:

The church is simple in both style and construction. This may have been deliberate as not only were the funds donated to build the church, but the timber and labour was provided by the parishioners. This church does not have the exposed timber wall framing and the vertical board and battening characteristic of the Selwyn churches.

Particularly significant is the unusual and attractive arrangement of lancet windows on the front elevation. This gives the Church of Saints Peter and Paul a simple but pleasing symmetry.

Townscape/Landmark Significance:

The church is clearly visible from the road approach and is a prominent central feature of the community. It nestles below the surrounding farmland which encircles the village and is part of a precinct.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Wrigley, James (1838 - 1882)

James Wrigley (1837?-1882) was born in Huddersfield, England. He served his articles with the firm of Pritchett and Sons of York, Huddersfield and Darlington, said to have been the leading firm in the North of England. After arriving in Auckland in 1859, he is reported to have erected many of the largest buildings in Auckland Province. Wrigley served for many years on the Auckland City Council, and was chairman of the Remuera and Newmarket Highway Board on several occasions. He was also the last elected member of the Provincial Council in New Zealand, although he did not take up his seat due to the Council’s subsequent abolition.

Structures built to Wrigley’s design include St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Howick (1872), Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Waiuku (1873) and the Roman Catholic Church of St Peter and St Paul, Puhoi (1881). He is also believed to have designed the Wesleyan Chapel in Pitt Street (c.1860) and the Anglican Church of St Mathias, Panmure (1866). An elite merchant’s house at 29 Princes Street known as Hamurana (1876) is his work, as is the original portion of Carrington Hospital (1865) and substantial additions to the Northern Club in 1870. Wrigley's work in North Auckland included additions to the Waiwera Hotel (1880). He was also responsible for several cottages in Dargaville.

Source: Registration Report for D. Graham and Company's Building (Former), May 2014

Wenzlick, James

Local builder in Puhoi. Builder of Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Puhoi 1881.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Architectural Description (Style):

The church is a Carpenter Gothic building with a gable roof supported by simple scissor trusses. The porch located in the centre of the main elevation is also gabled. The fenestration on this façade is particularly interesting. Around and above the porch three levels of lancet windows of diminishing size meet in one window beneath the open-work belfry and spire. The main door and windows all have wooden Gothic Revival hood mouldings. The original glazing has been replaced by decorative leadlight windows which are Art Nouveau. A choir loft with a steep staircase is located at the end of the nave.

Originally the internal timbers were varnished. The small window above the altar is Italian stained glass and depicts the keys of St Peter and the papal crown.

Notable Features

The coloured glass windows along each side of the church. Beneath each window is the name of an original family.

The unusual arrangement of lancet windows on the church's front façade.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1881 -

1899 -
Lean to at front of church replaced by elaborate stepped altar and side-sacristy.

1923 -
Plain glass window (side and front) replaced by coloured glass windows.

1963 -
Pews replaced. Six original pews retained and installed in choir loft, stepped altar replaced by table-like slab.

Construction Details

The church is constructed of Kauri. The exterior is clad in weatherboards. The gable roof is supported by exposed scissor trusses with each alternate one linked by a tie rod. The interior is lined with tongue and groove sarking.

Information Sources

Auckland Weekly News

Auckland Weekly News

30 July 1881, Pg. 5

Knight, 1972

Cyril Knight, The Selwyn Churches of Auckland, Auckland, 1972.

New Zealand Heritage

New Zealand Heritage

Vol. III, P. 863-868

Salmond, 1986

Jeremy Salmond, Old New Zealand Houses 1800-1940, Auckland, 1986, Reed Methuen

University of Auckland

University of Auckland

Sheppard Collection

Other Information

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.