St Joseph's Church (Catholic)

85 Paremata Haywards Road (Sh 58), Pauatahanui

  • St Joseph's Church (Catholic).
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Geoff Mew, Wellington Branch Committee of the NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 16/01/2002.
  • St Joseph's Church (Catholic).
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Geoff Mew, Wellington Branch Committee of the NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 16/01/2002.
  • St Joseph's Church (Catholic).
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Geoff Mew, Wellington Branch Committee of the NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 16/01/2002.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 205 Date Entered 2nd July 1982

Locationopen/close

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.

City/District Council

Porirua City

Region

Wellington Region

Legal description

Pt Sec 63 Pauatahanui Dist (CT WN353/230), Wellington Land District

Summaryopen/close

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.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

Turnbull, Thomas

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.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

The 'poor man's stained glass' windows

Graveyard

Built by 'Blackie and Foster' - possibly Blackey and Foster?

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1878 -

Information Sources

Fearnley, 1977

Charles Fearnley, Early Wellington Churches, Wellington, 1977

pp. 176-178.

Other Information

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.