Waihou Undenominational Memorial Church

7 Second Avenue, WAIHOU

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The Waihou Undenominational Memorial Church is a Gothic Revival timber structure designed by the noted architect Edward Bartley. Initially erected in 1886 for an Anglican congregation at Te Aroha, it was relocated to its current site in 1926. Subsequently occupying a property that had contained a public hall, the building was used as an undenominational memorial church, commemorating local men who had fought and died in the First World War (1914-18). The place is significant for reflecting the impacts of the First World War on rural communities; for having served as a site of public gathering and interaction for over 120 years; and for its on-going role as a place to remember people and events of importance to the local community. It is also notable for incorporating a well-preserved example of colonial ecclesiastical architecture with strong connections to the development of Anglicanism in Te Aroha. Initially erected in Te Aroha as St Mark’s Church, the building was opened by its vicar, Reverend James Marshall, and the Anglican Bishop of Auckland, William Cowie, in August 1886. Its creation reflected the importance of religious observance in nineteenth-century settler communities and, more specifically, Te Aroha becoming a parochial district in 1885. Constructed largely of kauri, the Gothic structure was of rectangular plan with a small projecting porch on one side of the building and a larger vestry on the other. Created late in the period when Edward Bartley was architect for the Anglican Diocese of Auckland, the building is perhaps the simplest of his church designs, and has unusual pointed gable doors and windows. Modifications at the turn of the century included the addition of pier buttresses and a lean-to, and possibly relocation of the vestry to the same side of the building as the porch. Outgrown by its congregation, the structure was relocated, partially by barge, in 1926 to the small farming community of Waihou about five kilometres away. It was placed on the site of the original Waihou Public Hall, which dated from circa 1880. Alterations included replacement of its shingled roof with corrugated iron, and the removal of the turn-of-the-century lean-to. The relocated structure functioned not only as a church shared by as many as eight different denominations, but as a memorial to those who had served their country in war. Memorials have continued to be added and include a bell rung at the re-opening; commemorative plaques; and stained glass windows, including a high quality window depicting St Chad dedicated to Waihou District Servicemen. Conservation was undertaken between 1999 and 2008. One hundred and twenty years after initial construction, this place of worship retains much of its original plan and chattels. It has been visited by politicians including at least four Prime Ministers and two Governor Generals. But most of all it is valued by locals, including present-day descendants of the pioneering settler families who established the church, and increasingly by people from outside of the district as a place to celebrate key life events such as marriages, or simply as a place of contemplation.

Waihou Undenominational Memorial Church | F Low | 21/02/2013 | Heritage New Zealand
Waihou Undenominational Memorial Church. Side Elevation showing main entrance | F Low | 21/02/2013 | Heritage New Zealand
Waihou Undenominational Memorial Church. Sanctuary | Kathryn Mercer | 03/01/2014 | Heritage New Zealand



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 2


Private/No Public Access

List Number


Date Entered

2nd February 2015

Date of Effect

3rd March 2015

City/District Council

Matamata-Piako District


Waikato Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lots 158-159 Town of Waihou (RT SA32/72) and part of the land described as Pt Te Kapura 3503 Blk and Waihekau 3 3409 Blk (RTs SA15/160, SA15/161), South Auckland Land District, and the building known as Waihou Undenominational Memorial Church thereon. Extent includes the building’s fixtures and fittings, such as its bell and commemorative plaques. Extent also includes the following chattels: altar, prayer desk, lectern, 20 pews, brass cross, pump organ and hymn board. (Refer to maps in Appendix 1 of the List entry report for further information).

Legal description

Lots 158-159 Town of Waihou (RT SA32/72), Pt Te Kapura 3503 Blk and Waihekau 3 3409 Blk (RTs SA15/160, SA15/161), South Auckland Land District

Location Description

Opposite the intersection with Third Street. GPS X = 1836388.44 : Y = 5838202.53 (NZTM).

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