St Matthew's-in-the-City Church (Anglican)
132-134 Hobson Street, 187 Federal Street And Wellesley Street West, Auckland
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 1
Private/No Public Access
2nd July 1987
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes the land described as Lots 1-2 DP 184578 (CTs NA115B/292, NA115B/293), North Auckland Land District, and the building known as St-Matthew's-in-the-City Church (Anglican) thereon, and its fittings and fixtures. Registration excludes a large car parking building on the site but includes the land beneath it.
Auckland Council (Auckland City Council)
Lots 1-2 DP 184578 (CTs NA115B/292, NA115B/293), North Auckland Land District
Historical Significance or Value
The present St Matthew's is the third church on the site. The church has for many years ministered to the needs of inner city Auckland. The church which can hold 1200 people is noted for its music, notably the St Matthew's Bach Cantata Choir and the St Matthew's Chamber Orchestra. As its name suggests, the church acts as a week-day church serving the needs of many different people living and working in the centre of cosmopolitan Auckland.
St Matthew's-in-the-City is one of the finest Gothic Revival stone churches in New Zealand and is situated on an elevated site at the intersection of two important inner city streets. The building was designed by a famous firm of English architects and is notable for its magnificent stone interior with vaulted ceiling. The latter is regarded as the finest example of stone vaulting in New Zealand.
The massive proportions and soaring lines of the church help give it prominence on its elevated central city site. The tower of the church is a familiar landmark for many Aucklanders.
Edward Bartley was born in Jersey in 1839, and educated in the Channel Islands where he learned techniques of the building trade from his father, an architect and builder.
Bartley immigrated to New Zealand with his elder brother Robert, also an architect, while still in his teens. They eventually settled in Devonport, Auckland. Initially Edward was in the building trade but later he practised solely as an architect. He was at one time vice-president of the Auckland Institute of Architects and was also Diocesan Architect for the Church of England.
Amongst Bartley's most notable works were his ecclesiastical buildings including St John's Church, Ponsonby (1881), St David's Church, Symonds Street (1880), Holy Trinity Church, Devonport, and the Synagogue (1884). He was also responsible for the Opera House (1884) and Auckland Savings Bank, Queen Street (1884).
Pearson, F L
F L Pearson was the son of the famous English Gothic Revival architect, J L Pearson. F L Pearson continued his father's practice and supervised the construction of Truro Cathedral after his father's death.
ARHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION (Style)
An example of early English Gothic Revival architecture in a New Zealand stone. The intended spire was replaced with a pinnacled tower. Inside, the soaring nave is flanked by low double aisles with large clerestory windows over. The church has a stone vaulted roof.
The building is in largely original condition.
A stone from the ruins of St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury is placed in the north west pillar near the transept. The 1300 year old stone has the cross of St Andrew carved on it. Another feature is a peal of eight bells from Bishops' Court, Parnell which had been presented to Bishop Selwyn.
Porter, 1983 (2)
Frances Porter (ed.), Historic Buildings of New Zealand: North Island (2nd edn.), Auckland, 1983
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.