St Joseph's Church (Catholic)
85 Paremata Haywards Road (Sh 58), Pauatahanui
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 1
Private/No Public Access
2nd July 1982
Extent of List Entry
Extent is the land described as Pt Sec 63 Pauatahanui Dist (CT WN353/230), Wellington Land District and the building known as St Joseph's Church (Catholic) thereon.
Pt Sec 63 Pauatahanui Dist (CT WN353/230), Wellington Land District
St Joseph's is the oldest Catholic Church building still in use in Wellington and was the first Catholic church building in the Porirua basin. Prior to its construction, Catholic services in what was known as the Pahatanui [sic] Small Farms District, were held in a private residence by Father Petijean SM. In August 1876, Henry Abbott, Roderick Mulhern, and Patrick Murphy donated money to acquire land for a new church from local landowner, Thomas Hollis Stace.
The new church was designed by Thomas Turnbull, a significant Wellington-based architect. Turnbull's design was a simple timber Gothic church measuring 18 ft. x 38 ft. [5.5m x 11.5m] and containing seating for 100 people. It was built by Blackie and Foster, and completed in 1878. The church was consecrated by Bishop Francis Redwood (later Archbishop) on 28 April 1878. The first priest was Father John Joseph Lane, who was appointed parish priest of the Hutt in 1886. Father Lane, later Dean Lane, continued to serve the Hutt Valley and Porirua Basin until his death in the 1920s.
St Joseph's is noted for the use of 'poor man's stained glass', a form of printed, coloured transparent paper, imitating the forms and colours of glass. Adjacent to the church is a graveyard where a number of early settlers to the Pauatahanui area are buried.
St Joseph's is significant as it is the oldest Catholic Church building still in use in Wellington and the first Catholic Church in the Porirua basin. It was designed by notable architect Thomas Turnbull, and is a perfectly realised simple Gothic church.
Thomas Turnbull (1824-1907) was born and educated in Scotland and trained under David Bryce, Her Majesty's Architect. He travelled to Melbourne in 1851 and after nine years there moved to San Francisco. He arrived in New Zealand in 1871 and soon established a thriving business. His son William, a distinguished architect in his own right, became a partner in the firm in 1891.
Turnbull was a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was a pioneer in the design of buildings to withstand earthquakes and he was responsible for breaking down prejudice against the use of permanent materials for building construction. He specialised in masonry construction for commercial purposes but was also responsible for some fine houses.
Among his most important buildings were the Willis Street churches of St Peter (1879) and St John (1885), the former National Mutual Building (1883-84), the General Assembly Library (1899) and the former Bank of New Zealand Head Office (1901), all in Wellington.
The 'poor man's stained glass' windows
Built by 'Blackie and Foster' - possibly Blackey and Foster?
Charles Fearnley, Early Wellington Churches, Wellington, 1977
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.