St Mark's Church (Anglican)

85-89 Remuera Road, Remuera, Auckland

  • St Mark's Church (Anglican). Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Ian Munnings. Taken By: Ian Munnings. Date: 20/06/2008.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 113 Date Entered 15th February 1990


City/District Council

Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)


Auckland Council

Legal description

Lot 3 DP 44814 Pt Allot 2 Sec 11 Subs of Auckland


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.

The original Thatcher-designed St Marks church, built on the site in 1847 was later moved to Bassett Road, and replaced by the smaller, simpler, functions church which forms the nave of St Marks today. The new church was consecrated by Bishop Selwyn. Such was the growth of the district that in 1870 a new church was considered. However, additions throughout the 1870s provided the additional seating capacity required.

The musical life of the church also resulted in a need for extra space. The 1873 extensions provided an organ chamber for the newly acquired organ. In 1881 the new tower again enlarged the organ space and also provided for the recently purchased bell, while the 1889 extension to the vestry gave accommodation for the choir. In 1925 the original (now Basset Road) church was found to be borer Infested. It was destroyed by fire, but the main door, which was sound, was used for the outside door of the ladies choir vestry at St Marks.

In 1935 a disastrous fire destroyed the organ, much of the woodwork in the chancel and the east window. Restoration work was undertaken. In 1954 a new window was installed. Many notable families of Remuera and Auckland have worshipped at St Marks and have been associated with its development over the years.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

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.

St Marks Church has been long associated with the parish, Remuera district and Auckland City. It has grown and developed in response to the needs of the community for a place to worship.

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.


St Marks Church, Remuera, exhibits many of the characteristic features of the Carpenter Gothic style favoured by Bishop Selwyn. After the passing of the Church Building Act 1818, Gothic Revival became the accepted style for a church building. Selwyn was strongly influenced by the Camden Society which was founded at Cambridge, England, in 1839. He adapted their principles of Ecclesiology (the science of Church building and decoration) to suit colonial conditions. Earlier attempts to build New Zealand stone churches similar to those in England proved disastrous. Gothic details, originally a stone, were therefore translated into timber construction.

St Marks Church exhibits some of the simpler features of the Selwyn style, such as vertical board and batten cladding, diamond-pane windows, and an unpainted interior. Stained glass windows were usually added later as finance permitted.

The church was constructed in situ and not prefabricated as the previous church on the site had been. Inside the framing timbers were not exposed as the roof construction is much simpler than in most Selwyn churches. Unlike the Selwyn churches it does not have an apse.

Characteristically, the church was developed in stages as money became available. With the exception of the tower, the addition to St Marks adhered to the Carpenter Gothic style. The Perpendicular Gothic style tower gives the church a particularly picturesque rural England appearance.


Originally the property was surrounded by farmland. It is now part of a built-up residential area, with native trees. The tower is still a prominent feature of the local skyline.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Gummer, William Henry

Gummer (1884-1966) was articled to W.A. Holman, an Auckland architect, and qualified as an Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1910. From 1908 to 1913 he travelled in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States. During this time he worked for Edwin Lutyens, a leading English architect of the time, and for Daniel Burnham in Chicago. Burnham was a major American architect and one of the founders of the influential Chicago School of Architecture.

Gummer joined the firm of Hoggard and Prouse of Auckland and Wellington in 1913. Significant commissions undertaken during this period included the New Zealand Insurance (later known as the Guardian Trust) Building, Auckland (1914-18).

In 1923 Gummer, one of the most outstanding architects working in New Zealand in the first half of the twentieth century, joined with Charles Reginald Ford (1880-1972) to create an architectural partnership of national significance. The practice was responsible for the design of the Dilworth Building (1926), Auckland, the Dominion Museum (1936) and the State Insurance Building (1940), both Wellington. Gummer and Ford were awarded Gold Medals by the New Zealand Institute of Architects for their designs of the Auckland Railway Station and Remuera Library.

Gummer was also responsible for the Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch and the Cenotaph in Dunedin (1927), and the stylistically and structurally advanced Tauroa (1916), Craggy Range (1919), Arden (1926) and Te Mata (1935) homesteads at Havelock North. Elected a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 1914, he was president of the Institute from 1933-4 and was later elected a life member.

Herapath, Philip

Herapath became a member of the Auckland Institute of Architects in 1885. His designs included institutional and ecclesiastical buildings, such as the main block of Auckland Hospital (1875, demolished 1964) and Wesleyan churches in Pitt St (1865), Onehunga (1877), Pukekohe and Pokeno (1878). The most important remaining example of his work is the Beresford Street Congregational Church (1875), now St James's Presbyterian Church. This was a pioneer design in concrete.

Mahoney, Edward

Edward Mahoney (1824-1895)

Edward Mahoney emigrated from Cork, Ireland with his wife Margaret and three children. The Mahoneys arrived in Auckland in 1856 where Edward set up as a building and timber merchant. In 1876 he established the architectural practice that later became Edward Mahoney & Sons, which for over thirty years designed and supervised construction of many Catholic buildings as well as churches for other denominations.

The Church of St John the Baptist, Parnell (1861) and St Mary's Convent Chapel (1866) are two of the earliest surviving ecclesiastical buildings designed by Edward Mahoney and reflect the gradual evolution from simple Gothic Revival structures to more ambitious and creative use of the Gothic form such as may be seen in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Khyber Pass (1881); and St Patrick's Cathedral, the latter completed in 1901.

Edward Mahoney was a founding member of the Auckland Institute of Architects, attending the first meeting in December 1880 where he was appointed honorary treasurer. He became president of the Institute in 1883. His sons Thomas (1855?-1923) and Robert (1862-1895) joined him in practice in 1876 and the early 1880s respectively.

Upon Edward's retirement in 1885, Thomas and Robert carried on the practice. After Robert's death in 1895, Thomas changed the firm's name to E. Mahoney & Son. The Mahoneys designed a wide variety of buildings including the Auckland Customhouse, hotels, commercial buildings and houses, their best-known surviving domestic buildings being the Pah, at Hillsborough (1877) and the Dilworth Terrace Houses, Parnell (1899). Their ecclesiastical buildings included St Mary's Church of the Assumption, Onehunga (1888) and St Benedict's Church, Newton (1888).

The firm of Edward Mahoney & Son continued to practice for a short period after Thomas Mahoney’s death in 1923, but was eventually dissolved in 1926.

Source: NZHPT Registration Report for Bank of New Zealand (Former), Devonport (Register no. 4511).

Patterson, Daniel Boys

Patterson (1880-1962) was born and trained in England. He immigrated to New Zealand about 1910, and became a member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects in 1914. He was senior partner in the firm of D B Patterson, Lewis and Sutcliffe, which was responsible for churches, hotels and commercial buildings throughout the Auckland province, the largest being the Mater Misericordiae Hospital. He died 7 May 1962 aged 82.

Rix-Trott, Geoffrey Alwyn

Rix-Trott was a partner in the firm Massey, Beatson, Rix-Trott and Carter. They were responsible for a wide variety of buildings including several educational buildings such as Auckland Grammar School, Takapuna Grammar School (1956) and Auckland University (1961-1965) and commercial buildings such as the Norwich Union Insurance Society building, Queen Street (1963).

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

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.


The 1860 church was a simple gabled building in the Carpenter Gothic style favoured by Bishop Selwyn. The gable ends featured simple barge boards and the ridgeline of the sanctuary and porch was lower than that of the nave.

The original single windows in the nave had small diamond panes and cusped heads. The windows were recessed within the board and batten detail and did not have hoods. The gable end window had three lights.

The interior follows most of the line of the exterior. However, a flat ceiling conceals the apex of the gable. The roof has metal tie rods, and is lined internally with diagonal sarking. The transepts added in 1871 continue the style of the nave. A Perpendicular Gothic tower was added in 1881. This tower has a parapet with quatrefoils supported on corbelling. Originally the centre of the parapet had battlements. The second storey of the bell tower has wooden slats within the tracery to allow the bells to be heard.


The architect and builder of the 1860 church-are not known; the Rev Dr John Kinder, Philip Herapath and James Baber (Jnr) are all possibilities. However, alterations and modifications are attributable to leading Auckland architects.

Notable Features

Stained glass windows

Rood screen incorporating Gothic tracery installed in 1873 to divide the chancel from the nave.

Construction Dates

1871 -
Transepts added

Partial Demolition
1871 -
Small bell tower to west removed

1873 -
Original chancel moved alongside the south transept, and replaced by a wider chancel

1878 -
Extension of south transept by 15 feet

1879 -
Extension of north transept by 15 feet

1881 -
Addition of tower

1889 -
Vestry extended by 14 feet

Demolished - Fire
1935 -
fire destroyed the organ, much of the woodwork in the chancel and the east window

1935 -
Restoration of fire damaged portion of building

1953 -
Sanctuary enlarged

1954 -
Installation of new east windows

1956 - 1957
Extension of entrance porch

Original Construction
1860 -

Construction Details

Foundation of scoria blocks. Floors and walls are of kauri; external walls are clad with vertical boards and battens. The roof was originally shingled, but now in asbestos cement slates. Internally the sarking is of kauri.

Completion Date

2nd August 1989

Information Sources

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1902

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol.2, Christchurch, 1902

Knight, 1972

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

McLintock, 1966

An Encyclopedia of New Zealand, Government Printer, Wellington, 1966

Pearce, 1986

G. L. Pearce, A Heritage in Trust, Auckland, 1986 Auckland Dilworth Trust Board

Reid, 1982

Hilary F. Reid, St Mark's Remuera 1847-1981: The Story of a Parish, Auckland, 1982.

Jordan, 1966

R F Jordan Victorian Architecture, Harmondsworth 1966

Fletcher, 1948

B. Fletcher, A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method, London 1948

Journal of the Auckland-Waikato Historical Societies

Journal of the Auckland-Waikato Historical Societies

Holmes, C.O., James Dilworth - Some Early Land Dealings, 1, Oct 1962, pp.17-26

St Mark's Remuera, 1947

St Mark's Remuera Centenary, 1847-1947, Auckland, 1947

Other Information

A copy of this report is available from the NZHPT Northern Region office.

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.