Christ Church

State Highway 35, Raukokore

  • Christ Church, Raukokore. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shellie Evans. Taken By: Shellie Evans – flyingkiwigirl. Date: 31/03/2018.
  • Christ Church, Raukokore. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shellie Evans . Taken By: Shellie Evans – flyingkiwigirl. Date: 31/03/2018.
  • Christ Church, Raukokore. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shellie Evans . Taken By: Shellie Evans – flyingkiwigirl. Date: 31/03/2018.
  • Christ Church, Raukokore. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Allison Bennet. Taken By: Allison Bennet. Date: 23/03/2008.
  • Christ Church, Raukokore. Interior. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shellie Evans . Taken By: Shellie Evans – flyingkiwigirl. Date: 31/03/2018.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 3471 Date Entered 16th November 1989


City/District Council

Opotiki District


Bay of Plenty Region

Legal description

Church site Adj Pohaturoa 4 Blk IV Whangaparaoa SD


Christ Church, Raukokore is strongly linked to the Whanau-a-Apanui people. Duncan Stirling built many churches in the East Coast and was subsequently married, in 1896, in this church. He married Mihi Kotukutuku, daughter of Maaka Te Ehutu and Ruiha Rahuta, Kaumatua of Whanau-a-Apanui. Stirling knew little Maori but reinforced the links between the Anglican Church and local Maori through his marriage and his skill as an architect/builder.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This church makes a valuable contribution to the legacy of Maori Christian churches in New Zealand. Duncan Stirling and the church he designed are appropriate symbols of the strong relationship between the Maori and Christian religion.


This church is of particular interest because its designer had no training as an architect but he produced a finely proportioned building with simple yet attractive detailing in the Gothic tradition. The centrally placed tower over the entrance with its broach spire is particularly striking and coupled with its superb siting make this a significant rural ecclesiastical design.


Superbly sited on a small prominentary, Christ Church can be seen from some distance as a lone building close to two Norfolk Island pines and surrounded by a picket fence. It is a landmark that is both striking and picturesque.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Stirling, Duncan

Having received his education in Riverton, Stirling went to Dunedin to work for the Williams Construction Company learning building and carpentry. He was then employed on the East Coast by Sydney Williams. He built the woolsheds at Kuhirerere Station and Pakihiroa Station for Williams, and soon established a good reputation as a carpenter. He went on to build many residences around Tolaga Bay. He also built a church in Tolaga Bay which led to similar contracts in Tokomaru Bay, Tuatui, Mangahanea, Te Horo, Torere, Tikitiki and Te Araroa. One of his most attractive church buildings is Christ Church, Raukokore (1894-95). Stirling also built the old Kemp homestead at Ruatoria and the Ngai Tai meeting house "Te Roroku" which stood at Torere.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


Duncan STIRLING ( Architect)

Hiram and Valentine SAVAGE (Builders)


This is a simple Gothic church. The entrance porch is in the base of the central square tower. The tower ends above the ridge line and is capped with a broach spire.

Single, frosted, lancet windows are arranged on each side of the church and in the tower. In the chancel behind the altar is a lancet window with brightly stained glass and above it an unusual semi-circular window with clear glass. The exposed site has necessitated raking buttresses.

The interior has attractive timber trusses with curved knee braces to the bottom cord. There are steel tie rods below the cord. The interior lining is horizontal boarding. The communion rail has an unusual balustrade while the entrance to the chancel has sloping banners with Maori text.


c1916 Floor added

1968 Buttresses and steel rod collar tie added

Notable Features

The broach spire

The cloth banners

The communion rail

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1895 -

1916 -
Floor added

1968 -
Buttresses and steel rod collar tie added

Construction Details

Continuous concrete foundations. Wooden piles of puriri or totara. Timber framing with rough-sawn rusticated weatherboards. Trussed roof clad with diagonal asbestos slates. Raking buttresses.

Information Sources

Stirling, 1980

E Stirling and A Salmond, Eruera : the teachings of a Maori elder, Wellington, 1980

pp 17, 21-25, 76-77, 110-112

Wilson, 1984

J Wilson (compiler), AA Book of New Zealand Historic Places, Lansdowner Press, Auckland 1984

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.