St Alban's Church (Anglican)

Oxford Street And Whakapirau Road, Whakapirau

  • St Alban's Church (Anglican). View from Oxford Street, Whakapirau. Note prominent belfry.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Stuart Park. Date: 24/09/2009.
  • St Alban's Church (Anglican). Interior view to altar.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Stuart Park. Date: 24/09/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 462 Date Entered 11th December 2009 Date of Effect 11th December 2009


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as DP 26600 (RT NA687/92), North Auckland Land District and the building known as St Alban's Church (Anglican), Whakapirau thereon, and its fittings and fixtures and the following chattels: limestone baptismal font, altar with figured kauri front panels, brass memorial plaque to South African war casualty Tyrell de Labrosse, brass memorial plaque to W H H Jackman and his wife Edith. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

City/District Council

Kaipara District


Northland Region

Legal description

DP 26600 (RT NA687/92), North Auckland Land District


St Alban's Church (Anglican), Whakapirau was built in 1896 after a period of community fundraising that enabled it to be opened debt free. The site for the church was formerly part of a block of land made tapu by koiwi from the battle of Marohemo in 1825. The tapu was lifted from the land by the gathering of the koiwi into an ossuary. These bones were subsequently used to fertilise vineyards in the vicinity. The churchyard contains the graves of a number of members of local families, Maori and Pakeha, including several of those directly involved in the erection of the church.

The church is built of kauri, supplied from one of the kauri timber mills formerly nearby. Its lofty belfry and prominent hilltop site make it a landmark visible for some distance along the Kaipara harbour. The interior of the church reveals the warmth of the kauri boards to considerable aesthetic effect, and its timber pews and other furniture add to its charm.

Brass plaques in the church are dedicated to the memory of the Jackman family who were closely associated with the church in its early years, and to Tyrell de Labrosse, a local farmer who was buried at sea after dying on board a troopship returning from the South African war in 1902.

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Historical Significance or Value

St Alban's Church is historically significant as the largest public building in this part of the Kaipara. It documents the development of the Anglican church as an element within the largely non-conformist Albertland settlement movement, which played a significant role in the settlement and development of Auckland and Northland. The church was a product of the rapid development of wealth in this part of the country through land acquisition and industrial development in the latter nineteenth century, followed by the equally rapid decline after the boom years of the timber industry. Its harbour-side location and its isolated road access provide reminders that until quite recently the harbour provided the main communication and transport links. Its close association, both physically and historically with W H H Jackman links it to the early development of the wine industry in the Kaipara, and the now culturally abhorrent method used to fertilise the vines. Its continued relevance to what is now a small harbour side village with a strong component of holiday homes reflects the changed settlement patterns in rural Northland. The church contains a rare memorial to a casualty of the South African war (1899 - 1902) who has no known grave since he was buried at sea.

Aesthetic Significance or Value:

St Alban's Church Whakapirau has aesthetic value because of its prominent hilltop position, making it widely visible from the Kaipara Harbour in the vicinity, and because of its distinctive architecture, emphasised by the belfry high above the gable. It has been the subject of landscape photographers almost from the time of its erection, and more recently features in a landscape painting by noted New Zealand artist Dick Frizell. It is significantly and appropriately absent from the early novel Allen Adair by Jane Mander, but forms a backdrop for the partly fictional setting of the recently published novel What Remains Behind by Dorothy Fowler.

Cultural Significance or Value:

The land on which St Alban's Church stands has cultural significance as part of the location for a major tribal battle of the early nineteenth century between Ngapuhi, led by Hongi Hika, and Ngati Whatua. The setting aside of the battle site as tapu, and the resistance to the sale of the land because of the koiwi that remained there provides a counterpoint to the ready sale of land elsewhere in the Kaipara. The manner in which that resistance to sale was overcome, and the remarkable history of the nearby but now demolished ossuary and the use of the koiwi in viticulture represents an attitude towards Maori in the colonial settlement of New Zealand that is today quite astonishing, and apparently all but erased from Pakeha memory.

Social Significance or Value:

St Alban's church has played a significant role in the social life of the Whakapirau community throughout its history. Because of the prominence in the local community of those associated with its erection, it was the focus for regular worship and for milestone events such as baptisms, weddings and funerals for the community of Whakapirau and the wider hinterland. Although its use declined as the prosperity of the township diminished, its periodic revival and refurbishment has been specifically linked to community regard for the place, and to the desire to hold weddings especially and funerals in an appropriate setting. It continues to be used regularly for worship, and for weddings and funerals. It is also now the location for the Whakapirau Community Library, which operates from the back of the church.

Spiritual Significance or Value:

As the principal Anglican church in this part of the district, the church has spiritual significance to Anglicans and to those of other denominations who worship there. It is also a place of reverence and respect for the descendants of those who worshipped there, those who are buried there, and those whose life milestones took place there.

(c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history:

The church has been an important element in the settlement and development of this part of Northland. Through its existence and the history recorded about it, it provides information about a number of aspects of New Zealand history including the development of the Anglican church, the Albertland settlement movement, the rapid development of wealth in this part of the country through land acquisition and industrial development, and the subsequent decline after the boom years of the timber industry. It provides a reminder of the significance of the harbour for the main communication and transport links. It has a close association with the wine industry in the Kaipara. It contains a rare memorial to a casualty of the South African war (1899 - 1902).

(d) The importance of the place to the tangata whenua:

The church has significance to those tangata whenua who are members of its congregation, or whose tipuna and whanau have been members of its congregation and / or are buried in its cemetery. It also has significance as part of the wider site of the 1825 battle that took place here.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place:

The community of Whakapirau and the wider Paparoa Parish have demonstrated their high regard for this place over the century of its existence. That is currently shown through the community's voluntary work to maintain the church and cemetery, its ongoing use as a place of worship, the publication of its centennial history and the provision of disabled access.

(h) The symbolic or commemorative value of the place:

Over and above the symbolic value to be found in all churches, this church specifically commemorates the service and death in the South African war of a lo-cal farmer Tyrrell de Labrosse, and the community and parish service of W. H. H. Jackman and his wide Edith.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:

The church is visually significant in the Kaipara landscape. It is also an important element in the historical and cultural development of Whakapirau and the Kaipara more broadly, from the time of the battle of Marohemo through the sale, colonisation and development of the land to its place in the Kaipara today.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Somner, Frank

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

Maori Settlement:

When Pakeha settlers arrived in the Arapaoa River area of the Kaipara Harbour, they found Maori welcoming and willing to sell land, with a significant exception. William Henry Heathcote Jackman (1846 - 1923), a man later closely associated with St Alban's Church, is quoted as saying of Whakapirau in the 1870s:

It's tapu enough now, though, and has been ever since the battle which, I opine, must have been fought about 1825. The chiefs won't sell an inch of this piece to any one and not a Maori dares go near it. Lots of people have tried to buy it, and have even offered as much as five pounds an acre for its magnificent soil; but the Maoris are not to be tempted, and, what's more, say they'll have utu from any Pakeha that goes into it.

Under the guise of 'Old Colonist', Jackman's account of the battle describes an attack on Ngati Whatua by Ngapuhi under Hongi Hika, following the battle of Te Ika-a-Ranganui in 1825. Ngati Whatua's defence was based on Marohemo Pa (about 2 kilometres east of St Alban's Church). Hongi, wearing the helmet and armour given to him by King George, led the attack, which lasted three days. Eventually Ngapuhi prevailed, and Ngati Whatua were killed in large numbers. 'The bodies of the slain lay in piles, and their blood flowed in streams down the hill'. Jackman recounts an incident to explain why Ngapuhi left the bodies lying there.

Heathcote Jackman owned the land to the north of Whakapirau, while to the south the landowner was Captain Colbeck. Jackman had bought 1,000 acres for £2 per acre, considered a fair price for first class land. It was Colbeck who 'scooped up the land by building a mausoleum for the bones. It was a handsome, chapel like building, constructed of stone with buttressed walls. The internal walls were lined with shelves, the skulls were prised out of tree forks, the bones were gathered up and the ancestors of the Ngati Whatua were stacked inside'. This opened the land up for settlement and the development of the town of Whakapirau. Jackman was a pioneer grower of grapes on his land to the immediate north of Whakapirau - an Italian expert Romeo Bragato described his wine as 'equal, and very likely superior, to any wine imported into the country'. In the 1890s, Jackman planted eight acres of grapes, growing classic European grape varieties, rather than the American variety being used by most grape growers at the time. To help his vines grow, Jackman advocated the use of bonedust, broadcast at the rate of three to five hundredweight an acre. According to Kaipara historian Dick Scott, Jackman broke into the Ngati Whatua ossuary and ground up the bones for his vineyard. The ossuary was situated on the spur immediately above the wharf at Whakapirau, a few hundred metres below the eventual site of the church. It does not survive, having been demolished by Maori after the bones were removed. Photographs in the collections of The Kauri Museum, Matakohe and Auckland War Memorial Museum reveal that it was built of brick with ashlar render, rather than stone. It was still present at least until 1905, well after the construction of the church, but had been removed by 1912. Local oral history suggests a date of 1909 for its removal.


This part of the Kaipara harbour was the focus for settlement by a group of English colonists who settled at Port Albert during 1862 and 1863. At the time the provincial government in Auckland was offering Special Settlement Schemes to encourage development in the north. This particular settlement was named in honour of Queen Victoria's consort who had died the previous year. From Port Albert, some of the settlers spread out to establish a number of towns in the Kaipara, and as these grew, so too did their outreach as centres for local government, business and church activities. Paparoa became the main centre at the head of the Arapaoa River, and the twin settlements of Pahi and Whakapirau straddled the Pahi River leading to it, and served as its port. By and large the Albertlanders lived on the Pahi side of the river, and slightly later arrivals like Heathcote Jackman took up land on the Whakapirau side.

The Albertland settlers were primarily non-conformist in their religious beliefs so the Kaipara Methodist missionary to Maori Rev W. Gittos found ready Pakeha adherents in the new communities. At the same time there were a number of Anglicans too, and the Anglican Bishop Selwyn was well received; a portrait of Selwyn in The Albertlanders has the caption 'A Good Friend of Early Albertland: Bishop Selwyn'. A meeting was held in Paparoa in 1867 to consider building the first church in the district. 'Among the colonists who made their homes in Paparoa were Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists and Episcopalians. Discussion ensued as to what denominational hallmark the proposed church should have...Methodists were found to be in the majority, and the resolution of the backwoods meeting was that a Methodist church should be built'.

Where church buildings had not yet been erected, services were held in settlers' homes, with lay ministers officiating, both in the non-conformist tradition and out of necessity in a land where there were few clerics. In 1872, the first public hall in the district was erected in Pahi. 'Convenient for church services as well as for social purposes, the hall was for many years the church both for the township people and the settlers within reach on the Pahi and Arapaoa Rivers. In her 1925 novel Allen Adair, Jane Mander accurately described Pahi in the 1880s, before the building of St Alban's church on the opposite bank in Whakapirau. Allen Adair 'rode up the winding road above the village...paused before he entered a bit of bush to look back upon the river and the bay...The store with the post office, the blacksmith's shop, the pub, the town hall. There was no bank, other than the postal savings department. There was no church. The town hall had been consecrated by the Auckland Bishop for such Anglican services as were intermittently held, and...the Presbyterian and Wesleyan travelling ministers held service there also.'


The settlers on the Whakapirau side of the Pahi River established a number of enterprises, and once the ossuary had solved the problem of the tapu, they were able to expand into Whakapirau itself. 'Symonds's timber mill at Pahi was moved across to the new site, Jackman built a bigger general store and a gum-trading depot there, residential sections were subdivided, a boarding house and livery stables were erected..The new village was called Karaka, the name of the chief [Arama Karaka] who had always collaborated so well with the Pakeha. The honour was a brief one...Karaka was also the name for Drury, Thames and other places in both islands and the post office required a change. The name Whakapirau was taken from Whakapirau Creek, down-harbour..'

Heathcote Jackman rose to some local prominence, representing Whakapirau Riding on Rodney and subsequently Otamatea County Councils, and becoming Chairman of Otamatea County from 1902 - 1913. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in 1896 as a candidate for Waitemata. In 1898 he was elected President of the 50-strong North Auckland Vinegrowers Association, when they held their second annual meeting in Whakapirau.

The Anglicans:

Heathcote Jackman came from a wealthy English family, his independently wealthy mother endowed Anglican churches in England and New Zealand, and his wife was deeply religious as well as also being independently wealthy, leaving a large part of her fortune to the Anglican church. Heathcote Jackman was an Anglican lay preacher.

Though the [Albertland] settlement was nonconformist in its origin...the order and ritual of the established Church appealed to those brought up under its care. Hence the desire for the establishment of Church of England services in the young community. Although Bishop Selwyn visited the district several times in the 'sixties, no regular Anglican services were held until the early 'seventies...The little band of Episcopalians then resolved to erect a church for themselves.

This first Anglican Church in Paparoa was St Mark's, built in the late 1870s (NZHPT Record no. 3912). It was destroyed by fire in 1995. As the district developed, settlements grew and both the population and the wealth of the community increased, other church buildings were erected.

The Parochial District ministered to by successive clergymen operating from Paparoa, which was recognised as the headquarters..had a wide radius indeed, including at different periods the settlements of Paparoa, Matakohe, Maungaturoto,...Whakapirau...The laymen who laid the foundations and bore the standard of the Church of England, chief among whom were..W H Jackman (Whakapirau)...

The Anglican church in Maungaturoto was opened in 1884.

St Alban's Whakapirau:

Records relating to the fundraising for and building of the Anglican church at Whakapirau have not survived. It is likely there would have been details in Jackman's own papers, but these were burned.

As noted above, by the 1890s, Whakapirau was the location for a number of enterprises, as well as a town surrounded by a rich agricultural hinterland. Chadwick's mill at Whakapirau 'in 1890 was reckoned to be the largest in the country'. The steamer wharf was completed in 1895. Whakapirau school opened in 1893. Dairying in the hinterland led to the establishment of a Cooperative Dairy Company in 1904, and the building of a dairy factory (NZHPT Record no. 461). These enterprises provided both the wealth and the population necessary to make a church viable. The population of Whakapirau increased from 88 in the 1881 Census, to 116 in 1891, 254 in 1901 and 335 in 1911. In 1961 it was still only 354.

But Jackman clearly began planning for the church much earlier than that. His former school friend William Delisle Hay, writing about Whakapirau as he departed New Zealand about 1880, wrote:

..amazing progress is taking place. A wharf is being constructed at the township, and a fine new steamer is being contracted for. Some new settlers have been tempted to come up into the district, and gangs of workmen are being hired from afar. A church has been subscribed for, and will soon be built. The Saint is erecting an hotel; and the Fiend is putting up a flour-mill. Old Colonial is going to get married, and a grand mansion, in the style of the Member's residence, is going up near the site of our shanty. ['The Saint', 'the Fiend', 'the Member' and 'Old Colonial' are pseudonyms Hay uses to disguise the identity of people he met -Old Colonial refers to Jackman. In 1880 Jackman was 34, but Edith, later his wife, was only 20].

Heathcote Jackman's grand-daughter is recorded as saying: 'I remember Dad telling me that St Alban's was built by Mr Frank Somner in 1896. When the church was being built, [Heathcote Jackman's mother] sent money out from England to help and also gave the brass vases and candlesticks etc. for the altar. While still fundraising for the church, the women of the district held flower shows in the Forresters boat-building shed.'

The Anglican Church Gazette records that:

'the new church in [Whakapirau] was opened by Archdeacon Dudley, acting on behalf of the Primate, on the 2nd ult. [August 1896]...There was a crowded congregation, some 150, at 11am, 17 staying to the Holy Communion. The collections for the day came to £10/5/- towards the cost of the organ and seats; the building itself, a very handsome, well proportioned and well finished structure, being free from debt. Great credit is due to the builder, Mr Sumner, who, we regret to hear, is a loser by his contract....It is proposed to arrange for services every Sunday, by Lay Readers in the absence of the clergyman. But Mr Jackman, who has been a local Lay Reader and Treasurer of the Church for many years, requires a helper, being himself liable to be called away from home frequently.

Subsequently, a cemetery was laid out in the Church grounds. The diary of Bishop Cowie, Bishop of Auckland records that on visit to Whakapirau on Monday 4 November 1901; 'in the afternoon held a confirmation at St Alban's Whakapirau and afterwards consecrated the cemetery. At the consecration, the Memorial was read by Mr W H Jackman...Mr Jackman is one of the oldest settlers of the district, and is a staunch worker in matters connected with the well-being of the Church. He has a large vineyard, and the wine coming from it is highly spoken of'. W.H.H. Jackman was buried in the cemetery after his death in 1923 and a number of other Jackman family members are also buried there.

The gift of the brass from Heathcote Jackman's mother is recorded thus: 'St Alban's has been much improved of late by a very handsome present of a brass cross and two brass vases, received from a kind friend in England, which were used for the first time on Sunday January 29..'

The church was opened at the height of the economic development of Whakapirau. It was not to last. In 1902 Jackman's vineyards became heavily infested with the vine-destroying aphid Phylloxera. Although he replanted them, and had five acres producing 1500 gallons of wine by 1909, the wine was said never to have been as good again. The vineyard stagnated - production in 1913 was at the same level as in 1909. Chadwick's mill burned down in 1912 and was not replaced. Jackman and many other locals, from landowners to millhands invested heavily in a scheme to exploit Kaipara copper, which failed in 1910 leaving only debts. The dairy factory, a significant employer from its opening in 1906, closed in 1915. A warehouse fire in Auckland destroyed an uninsured shipment of Jackman's kauri gum. Perhaps not surprisingly, Jackman fell ill in 1913, and was in effect bankrupt. He died in 1923, leaving debts that took his son twenty years to clear.

Jackman's difficulties were symptomatic of the wider decline of the town. With the closure of the mill and the lack of capital caused by the debts, the population declined. The church Centennial History says:

Later, as the livelihoods of the people of the area diminished in the timber-milling, and the dairy factory closed, attendance at the church waned... services were not entirely missed out but congregations became diminished. Sadly the church needed repairs, age was telling and the cemetery and grounds became very overgrown in the lack of church activities.

Fortunately, Whakapirau did again begin to attract recognition for the peaceful seaside environment and its 'sleepy time' awakened as regards the church. In the 1970s a time of revival saw permanent residents taking interest in having church services restored. The historic church gradually inspired some more earnest locals, who set about raising funds towards restoration. About $2,000 was initially raised and spent on painting, restoring woodwork and laying carpet. Reroofing was done by voluntary labour. [It is hoped that] effort will continue to complete the restoration and that the centennial year will boost interest. The offerings at the 1995 Christmas service initiated a fund for reblocking and repainting the church as is desired for the coming Centennial in September 1996.

The church currently has an additional community role in that it is the location of the Whakapirau Community Library, with library books displayed for borrowing on wooden shelves at the rear of the church.

St Alban's Whakapirau in New Zealand literature:

Perhaps curiously for such a small and now relatively isolated place, Whakapirau and to some extent St Alban's church have featured in three different works of New Zealand literature, over the space of 130 years. In his 'Brighter Britain, or Settler and Maori in Northern New Zealand, William Hay says that if he had any object beyond amusing his readers, it was 'to give accurate information to young Englishmen belonging to the middle classes.' Because his book was published in 1882, he does not refer to St Alban's Church, but as noted above he does refer to fund-raising for it, and provides a great deal of information about 'Old Colonist', his pseudonym for Heathcote Jackman, and the Kaipara setting of Whakapirau.

Jane Mander wrote four novels about New Zealand, three of them set in the Kaipara. Whilst Jane Mander disowned the idea that a novelist should make any attempt at verisimilitude, her New Zealand novels have a very definite sense of place, and it is possible to identify quite closely the locations she describes, even if sometimes they are relocated somewhat. As noted above, in describing Allen Adair's ride up the hill from Pahi she carefully observes the absence of the church in Whakapirau, since it would not have been there at the time the novel is set, even though the church had in fact been built by the time she knew the area.

Finally, Dorothy Fowler's recent novel What Remains Behind concerns an archaeologist excavating an old mission site on the shores of the Kaipara. The excavation is being undertaken in terms of resource consent to allow rural land to be subdivided for housing. Although the names are fictionalised, it is very clear that the twin settlements of 'Mother's Ferry' astride the river are Pahi and Whakapirau, the latter with its church on the hill. To strengthen the identification, the cover photograph of the novel shows St Alban's church.

Prominent New Zealand artist Dick Frizell has painted a view of Whakapirau from the Pahi side of the river, in which St Alban's features prominently at the top of the town. A print of this work is displayed in the church (2009).

Physical Description

St Alban's Church is situated in Oxford Street at the top of the Whakapirau hill overlooking the Kaipara harbour. Its prominent site makes it visible from some distance, especially from the harbour, which was the only means of approach when the church was built. The church is now surrounded by houses, though originally it stood in some isolation. In its grounds on the north side is the church cemetery.

The church is a rectangular building with a gabled roof, oriented west to east, with two small rectangular porches giving access to the interior at the western end. At the eastern end is a lower chancel with a lancet window with three tall lights above the altar. Rising from the central gable in line with the porch gables is a square belfry, surmounted by an octagonal spire, that probably originally had a wooden cross at its apex. The body of the church is approximately 16 metres by 10 metres, with the chancel 7 metres by 5 metres.

On each side of the church there are five lancet windows, one in the chancel, one in the porch, and two to the east and one to the west of the porches. At the west end there is a lancet with two tall lights.

The church is entered by three wooden steps leading to a door on the eastern side of the northern porch. A similar door on the western side of the same porch has recently been provided with a long timber ramp for disabled access. The porch on the southern side has a door and steps on its eastern side, but not on its western side. It serves as a vestry and is not normally used for access. From each porch, two-leaf timber gothic doors give into the body of the church.

The gabled sarked kauri timber ceiling is supported by exposed kauri timber beams and four trusses. The walls of the church are match lined with horizontal kauri boards. The entire roof structure and the walls down to the level of a dado rail a metre from the ground are plain, oiled kauri. The dado and the boards below it, as well as the insides of the porch doors have been painted white, probably relatively recently. The dado is not present in the chancel, which has no white painted surfaces. Single electric luminaires with porcelain 'oriental hat' shades hang from the centre of each truss on a long single wire, fed by surface run conduit from the ceiling and walls. The electric illumination, while certainly not new, is not original to the church, which would have had no electricity originally.

The body of the church has a wooden floor with a central carpeted aisle, separating two rows of timber pews. The pews have a simple elegance and a distinctive curved support at each end. There is a mixture of short and long pews, configured to provide for choir seating and to accommodate the font. This stands in the central aisle at the western end of the church. It is plain limestone, with a hexagonal column rising from a square foot, supporting an octagonal bowl.

The church currently has no pulpit, though one is shown in a 1994 photo. In 2009 on the Gospel side in its place there is a kauri desk and chair on the left near the chancel. This bears an engraved plate commemorating its gift by the friends of Bertha Thelma Hanna (1890 - 1955). On the Epistle side is a plain kauri lectern. An altar with three figured kauri front panels stands on a raised platform in the chancel.

The centennial history of the church includes some 'Memories of St Alban's Church' by a grand-daughter of W. H. H. Jackman. 'The concrete [sic] font was considered rather ugly and a more beautiful new one desired. When Miss Thelma Hanna died, a memorial in the church was intended to be a new font. The money was raised for this, but, unfortunately, it was found that the old one had been blessed and was not permitted to be removed. A new Bishop's Chair was bought instead. The Bishop is not remembered sitting in it.'

In the central aisle at the crossing of the church, between the two porches, is a long bell rope with a wooden handle, to enable the bell in the belfry above to be rung.

On the right hand wall of the church, to the east of the vestry door, is an engraved rectangular brass plate that reads:






BORN 1860




FROM 1866


Opposite it on the left wall, but one window interval further forward, is an engraved brass shield with the inscription:


Tyrell de Labrosse





July 17th 1903 - Aged 31


Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I will fear no evil for thou art with me thy rod

and thy staff they comfort me

5498 Corporal Tyrell Lushington de Labrosse served in South Africa in D Squadron of the North Island Regiment. He sailed for the war as part of the 8th Contingent on the Surrey on 1 February 1902. When he enlisted he was a farmer of Whakapirau, and his next of kin was his mother Mrs de Labrosse. Peace in South Africa was declared at the beginning of June 1902. Contrary to the information on the plaque, Tyrell de Labrosse died of pneumonia on the SS Britannic returning from South Africa on 17 July 1902, not 1903. He was awarded the Imperial South African War Medal. Corporal de Labrosse has no known grave, since he was buried at sea.

In his Seven Lives on Salt River, historian Dick Scott publishes a photo by Frank Blackwell of the interior of 'Whakapirau Church'. Early photos of country church interiors are relatively scarce, so this has great interest. However, comparison of the photo with the interior of St Alban's suggests that it is not in fact St Alban's. The Registration Report to remove St Mark's from the Register in 2006 provides a description that strongly suggests that this photograph is in fact the interior of St Mark's. St Mark's was a church that Frank Blackwell worshipped in. He took an exterior photograph of St Marks.


This place includes chattels that contribute to its heritage significance and should be included in the registration.

Identification and Significance of Chattels


Brass memorial plaque to South African war casualty Tyrell de Labrosse

Brass memorial plaque to W H H Jackman and his wife Edith

Altar with figured kauri front panels

Construction Dates

Fundraising commences for an Anglican church in Whakapirau

1896 -
St Alban's Church opened by Bishop Cowie

1955 -
Bishop's wooden desk and chair installed as memorial to Thelma Hanna

Reroofing, reblocking, painting, new carpet, refinishing of pews and other general maintenance

Construction Details

Kauri timber, iron roof (formerly kauri shingles)

Completion Date

23rd November 2009

Report Written By

Stuart Park

Information Sources

Scott, 1987 (2)

Dick Scott, Seven Lives on Salt River, Auckland, 1987

Smith, 1910

Maori Wars of the Nineteenth Century, Whitcombe and Tombs, Christchurch, 1910.

Borrows, 1969

JL Borrows, Albertland, Reed 1969

Brett 1927

Sir Henry Brett and Henry Hook, The Albertlanders Brett, Auckland, 1927

Butler 1963

Dick Butler, This Valley in the Hills Maungaturoto Centennial Association 1963

Fowler, 2009

Dorothy Fowler, What Remains Behind, Auckland, Random House, 2009

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Northland Area 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.