St Andrew's on the Terrace

28-30 The Terrace, Wellington

  • St Andrew's on the Terrace. 2010. Image courtesy of Grant Sheehan Photography.
    Copyright: Grant Sheehan. Taken By: Grant Sheehan.
  • St Andrew's on the Terrace. Interior 2010. Image courtesy of Grant Sheehan Photography.
    Copyright: Grant Sheehan. Taken By: Grant Sheehan.
  • St Andrew's on the Terrace. Interior detail.
    Copyright: Jane Horwell. Taken By: Jane Horwell. Date: 11/01/2015.
  • St Andrew's on the Terrace. Interior 2010. Image courtesy of Grant Sheehan Photography.
    Copyright: Grant Sheehan. Taken By: Grant Sheehan.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 3571 Date Entered 2nd July 1987 Date of Effect 2nd July 1987


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 3 DP 11548, Pt Sec 472 Town of Wellington and Pt Lot 1 DP 4123 (RT WN476/23), Wellington Land District, and the building known as St Andrews on the Terrace thereon. The extent excludes the Hall and the St Andrew’s Centre. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage New Zealand/Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 29 April 2021.

City/District Council

Wellington City


Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 3 DP 11548, Pt Sec 472 Town of Wellington and Pt Lot 1 DP 4123 (RT WN476/23), Wellington Land District


St Andrew’s on the Terrace, built in 1923, has architectural significance for its English Baroque style and as one of a small number of large churches of its era made of reinforced concrete. It has historical significance as an excellent representation of the long history of Presbyterianism in the Wellington region.

The Ngāi Tara people were the early inhabitants of Wellington and the harbour was named Te-Whanganui-a-Tara after the rangatira of the same name. In the seventeenth century Ngāti Ira of Hawkes Bay joined Ngāi Tara and extensive intermarriage occurred between the tribes. Their neighbours in the region were Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne, Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Māmoe. During a period of upheaval in the 1820s and early 1930s following the Pākehā introduction of muskets into te ao Māori, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tama and Ngāti Mutunga also migrated south. The land on which the church was built was included in an 1839 land purchase by the British colonising firm the New Zealand Company.

The building is the second Presbyterian church to be built on its current site on The Terrace and the fourth in the area. When the third wooden church (1879) burned down in 1920, it was decide the replacement would be made of reinforced concrete. Construction of the new church, designed by noted ecclesiastical architect Frederick De Jersey Clere began in 1922, and was completed in February 1923.

Notable architectural features include a classical styled first storey with portico supported by columns and a second storey more typical of the English style of the early eighteenth century. It is the only example of English Baroque architecture in New Zealand. The interior was redesigned in 1962 by church elder and architect Ian Calder to refocus attention on the domed chancel and wooden Iona cross. A new pipe organ was also erected, and the pulpit was moved to the south side of the apse. The building was earthquake-strengthened in 2008.

St Andrew’s on the Terrace has a longstanding history of community work and progressive stances. During the Great Depression it operated a rest-room for unemployed men that was highly utilised during the cold winter nights, and the church helped to fund and establish nearby Everton Hall on Everton Terrace in 1976 with earlier student accommodation supported by the church since 1958. Women gained more formal recognition within St Andrew’s on the Terrace than in other churches of the time, with their first woman elder in 1961 and their first female ordained minister in 1965. The church took progressive stands on significant occasions during the 1980s, supporting HART (Halt All Racist Tours) in their opposition of the Springbok tour in 1981 and Homosexual Law Reform Act in 1986. More recently it has hosted Alcohol Anonymous meetings, supported the Aotearoa Living Wage campaign and the LGBTQI+ community. In 2014 the church defied a directive by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand to ban ministers from performing same-sex wedding ceremonies. Interim minister Jim Cunningham stated, ‘we see sexual orientation and gender identity as irrelevant in the celebration of a couple's union. It is the quality of the relationship, the love and commitment that matters.’ The church is also an important music venue and in 2021 the restoration of the church’s Croft organ was completed.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This building has strong links with the history of the Church in the region. It is the second church on this site and the fourth St Andrew's church since 1840. It has served as the first Presbyterian Church in the region and is now being used by the wider community for lunchtime concerts, lectures etc.


The only example of the English Baroque style of ecclesiastical architecture in New Zealand and one of the very few large churches made of reinforced concrete. The use of this material for an ecclesiastical building was advanced for its time. The interior is also architecturally significant with fine coved and coffered ceiling and round chancel arch.


Although its impact has been somewhat lessened by new high-rise buildings, the tower of St Andrew's is something of a landmark at the Parliament end of the Terrace. The church is adjacent to other classified buildings, notably Brandon's building and further along, 22 The Terrace. The church is an important feature in the townscape.


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.

Fletcher Construction Company

Fletcher Construction Company was founded by Scottish-born James Fletcher (1886 - 1974), the son of a builder. Six months after his arrival in Dunedin in 1908, Fletcher formed a house-building partnership with Bert Morris. They soon moved into larger-scale construction work, building the St Kilda Town Hall (1911), and the main dormitory block and Ross Chapel at Knox College (1912). Fletcher's brothers, William, Andrew and John joined the business in 1911, which then became known as Fletcher Brothers. A branch was opened in Invercargill.

While holidaying in Auckland in 1916, James tendered for the construction of the the Auckland City Markets. By 1919 the company, then known as Fletcher Construction, was firmly established in Auckland and Wellington. Notable landmarks constructed by the company during the Depression included the Auckland University College Arts Building (completed 1926); Landmark House (the former Auckland Electric Power Board Building, 1927); Auckland Civic Theatre (1929); the Chateau Tongariro (1929); and the Dominion Museum, Wellington (1934).

Prior to the election of the first Labour Government, Fletcher (a Reform supporter) had advised the Labour Party on housing policy as hbe believed in large-scale planning and in the inter-dependence of government and business. However, he declined an approach by Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage in December 1935 to sell the company to the government, when the latter wanted to ensure the large-scale production of rental state housing. Although Fletchers ultimately went on to build many of New Zealand's state houses, for several years Residential Construction Ltd (the subsidiary established to undertake their construction) sustained heavy financial losses.

Fletcher Construction became a public company, Fletcher Holdings, in 1940. Already Fletchers' interests were wide ranging: brickyards, engineering shops, joinery factories, marble quarries, structural steel plants and other enterprises had been added the original construction firm. Further expansion could only be undertaken with outside capital.

During the Second World War James Fletcher, having retired as chairman of Fletcher Holdings, was seconded to the newly created position of Commissioner of State Construction which he held during 1942 and 1943. Directly responsible to Prime Minister Peter Fraser, Fletcher had almost complete control over the deployment of workers and resources. He also became the Commissioner of the Ministry of Works, set up in 1943, a position he held until December 1945.

In 1981 Fletcher Holdings; Tasman Pulp and Paper; and Challenge Corporation amalgamated to form Fletcher Challenge Ltd, at that time New Zealand's largest company.

Williamson Construction Company - main contract

Ian Calder

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Studio 8

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description


Symmetrically organised, it has a classical portico of pediment and frieze supported on four groups of paired Doric columns. The second storey is less classical having more affinity with early eighteenth century English architecture. Façade as a whole is particularly reminiscent of Sir Christopher Wren's London churches.


In 1962 repairs to the exterior and renovations and alterations to the interior were made by Calder, Fowler and Styles. Some of the more ornate details which had deteriorated were removed. Overall the church is in largely original condition.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1923 -

1922 -

Structural upgrade
2008 -

Partial Demolition
- 2012
(administration building)

Original Construction
2012 -
(St Andrew's Centre)

2019 -
(construction of entrance ramps)

Construction Details

Reinforced concrete

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

16th December 2020

Report Written By

Rebecca Chrystal and Kerryn Pollock

Other Information

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central Region Office of Heritage New Zealand

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.