St Mary's Church

42 Raumati Street And Terrace Street, Matawai, Gisborne

  • St Mary's Church.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 9/09/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7184 Date Entered 23rd June 1994


City/District Council

Gisborne District


Gisborne Region

Legal description

Lot 4 Blk V DP 1879 Matawai Township (CT GS3A/835), Gisborne Land District


This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Proposal for Classification report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

St Mary's Church, Matawai is a small scale Gothic revival timber church built in 1916 and constructed in November 1917, to serve the Matawai parochial district. The township of Matawai was growing rapidly at that time due to the proposed construction of a railway line to link Gisborne through to the Bay of Plenty.

The architect was Frederick de Jersey Clere, St Mary's is an example of a typical Clere country church having many standard features of his work, including vertical board and batten cladding and lancet windows with shallow trefoil head in rectangular frames. It is the twin church of St Paul's Motu, also designed by Clere and almost identical in detailing with the exception of the gable ends.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Clere, Frederick De Jersey

Clere (1856-1952) was born in Lancashire, the son of an Anglican clergyman, and was articled to Edmund Scott, an ecclesiastical architect of Brighton. He then became chief assistant to R J Withers, a London architect. Clere came to New Zealand in 1877, practising first in Feilding and then in Wanganui. He later came to Wellington and practised there for 58 years.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1886 and held office for 50 years as one of four honorary secretaries in the Empire. In 1883 he was appointed Diocesan Architect of the Anglican Church; he designed more than 100 churches while he held this position. Clere was a pioneer in reinforced concrete construction; the outstanding example of his work with this material is the Church of St Mary of the Angels (1922), Wellington.

As well as being pre-eminent in church design, Clere was responsible for many domestic and commercial buildings including Wellington's Harbour Board Offices and Bond Store (1891) and Overton in Marton. Clere was also involved in the design of large woolsheds in Hawkes Bay and Wairarapa.

He was active in the formation of the New Zealand Institute of Architects and served on their council for many years. He was a member of the Wellington City Council until 1895, and from 1900 a member of the Wellington Diocesan Synod and the General Synod. He was also a member of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts.

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1916 -
Simple Gothic Revival church in timber

Other Information

A copy of the original 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.