Church of England Society, 1839.
The Earl of Devon; Lord Ashley, M.P.; Lord Courtenay; Viscount Sandon, M.P.; Hon. F. Baring, M.P.; J. J. Briscoe Esq., M.P.; W. E. Gladstone Esq., M.P.; J. R. Gowen Esq.; Sir Stephen Glynne Bart, M.P.; E. Halswell Esq.; Wm. Hutt Esq., M. P.; Sir Geo. Sinclair, Bart., M.P; J. A. Smith, Esq., M.P.; Alderman Thompson, M.P.; the Archdeacons of London and St. Albans; Dean of Chichester; Reverends G. H. Bowers, G. Brett, A. M. Camphill, G. Hamilton, S. Hawtrey, W. Harness, Saml. Hinds, D.D., W. Selwyn, and J. G. Ward.—(“N.Z. Gazette,” 6/9/39).
The members of the Committee comprised the following:—
Hon. Francis Baring, M.P.; Sir G. Sinclair, Bart., M.P.; J. Ivatt Briscoe Esq., M.P.; Wm. Hutt, Esq., M.P.; Rev. Dr. Hinds; Rev. W. Selwyn; G. S. Evans Esq., D.C.L.; E. Halswell Esq., F.R.S.; W. Swainson Esq., F.R.S.; Captain Daniell; H. St. Hill Esq.; E. Betts Hopper Esq.; H. Moreing Esq.—(“Col. Gazette,” 1/8/39).
(Year Book, Wellington Harbour Board, 1919, p. 56.)
A Church of England service was held on the 22nd September, 1839. It was conducted on board the “Tory” when she was riding at anchor near Somes Island. Several canoes containing natives came off the shore and attended.
Divine service was also held on the “Aurora” on Sunday, 26th January, 1840, by the Rev. James Buller, Wesleyan missionary, who was visiting the settlement at the time. When the “Bengal Merchant” arrived, services were conducted by the Rev. John Macfarlane (one of the passengers) under the shade of a small clump of karaka trees a short distance from the Pito-one beach. The songs of the bell birds could be heard above the songsters of the grove. About forty people united in singing the Old Hundredth (“All People that on Earth do Dwell”). Services were also held by Mr. Macfarlane at Mr. Hunter's store at Pito-one, and later in the thatched cottage at Thorndon.
On the 21st April, 1840, the barque “Bolton” arrived from England, bringing amongst its passengers the Rev. J. F. Churton, recently-appointed chaplain to the settlement by the Church Society. The Rev. J. G. Butler, also a clergyman of the established church, was appointed at the same time.page 386
The arrival of these clergymen, with their families, was hailed with delight by the members of the Church of England.
Previous to this time the religious duties had been performed by the Rev. Macfarlane, and all classes of Protestants expressed their gratitude to him for his unwearied exertions in executing the various duties required of him.
Mr. Butler resided at Pito-one, close to Colonel Wakefield's house near the beach, and became a great acquisition to society. He and his family were revered by the natives.
Mr. Churton established himself at Thorndon, where the passengers of the “Adelaide,” “Bolton,” and those who removed from Pito-one and the Hutt, served to form a fairly large congregation.
The building used as a church, police court, and post office, and referred to by Jerningham Wakefield as the “Barn of All Work,” was demolished by fire. Wakefield, commenting on the event, writes: “After the ‘Barn of All Work’ was destroyed by fire, the Church of England services were held in a house occupied by the Mechanics' Institute, inside the Government Reserve” (now the site of the triangular plot of land at the corner of Molesworth Street and Lambton Quay and used for a temporary war memorial—Anzac Corner).
The Scotch Presbyterians met in the exchange, Te Aro (by Bethune and Hunter's), and the Wesleyans in a large store adjoining.
Wesleyan Church, 1840.
Reference is made to the Manners Street Church site by Jerningham Wakefield in his “Adventure in New Zealand.” He writes: “The Rev. John Aldred, Wesleyan missionary, arrived from Kawhia on the 23rd December, 1840, and fixed his abode near Te Aro Pa, on the spot where Mr. Bumby had imagined himself to have secured for the mission, and which had been laid out on the plan as a public market reserve (the site of the women's rest room).
The first public announcement with reference to persons requiring the services of the Rev. John Macfarlane for the purpose of conducting marriages and baptisms was published in the “Spectator” of the 17th April, 1841. Mr. Roger R. Strang, of Woolcombe Street, advertised that previous notice must be given by those desirous of the Rev. Macfarlane's ministrations.
The Episcopal Church, 1841.
Edward Gibbon Wakefield had written from England to his sister Catherine (Mrs. Chas. Torlesse) in 1841: “We had a long and very satisfactory interview with the Bishop yesterday. The object of the Bishop's meeting with our committee was to come to some practical determination as to what was to be done for the Church of England, and benefit of the natives in the company's settlements, and it was resolved accordingly, subject to the approval of our court to-day. First, that the company would advance, on the security of the Native Reserves at Wellington, £5000 for the purpose of immediately establishing schools for natives, where the children may live away from their parents. Secondly, that the Bishop and the company agree to subscribe for endowment of the Church of England at Wellington, Whanganui, New Plymouth and Nelson. The Bishop undertook for the great societies, and we for the company. So there is a race page 387 between the Church and the company as to which shall first collect the larger sum, and the more either shall collect, the more precisely must the other furnish. The company has already contributed, in land and money, £2000 towards the endowment of the New Zealand bishopric.”
The New Zealand Journal, London, 27th November, 1841, refers to a public meeting in the Town Hall, Windsor, England, on the 17th November, at which the Mayor, Mr. John Bannister, presented a service of communion (plate of six pieces) to Bishop Selwyn on the eve of his departure for New Zealand.
A number of ecclesiastical appointments were gazetted prior to Bishop Selwyn's arrival. The Rev. Henry Williams was appointed commissary to the Bishop, and surrogate for the granting of marriage licenses for the Bay of Islands. The Rev. William Williams, Archdeacon of East Cape and examining chaplain to the Bishop, and the Rev. J. F. Churton was appointed to Auckland.
Bishop Selwyn arrived in the Government brig on the 12th August, 1842. He was greeted with a salute of guns as the brig entered Port Nicholson harbour. He landed at Te Aro, and was met by a deputation chosen by the inhabitants at a meeting held prior to his arrival. An address of welcome was presented to him. He stayed at Wellington for six days, and made arrangements for leaving the Rev. Robert Cole, who had accompanied him from England, vicar in charge of the parish. The Rev. Mr. Cole became deservedly popular with his parishioners and the natives of Port Nicholson.
A large sum of money had been collected in England and the Colony towards the erection of an Episcopalian Church at Wellington. The company subscribed freely towards the object, and the Bishop was asked to fix a site, and to direct the commencement of the building.
Reference has been made, in an article on the Sydney Street Cemetery, to the Bishop's difficulty in obtaining a suitable site for the Church of England.
Jerningham Wakefield, in his “Adventure in N.Z.” p. 530, mentions that when he lett Wellington for England in February, 1844, the Scotch Presbyterians had built a neat substantial and roomy wooden chapel on the reserve assigned to them on Lambton Quay (site of the Commercial Bank of Australia), and that the Wesleyans had possessed a small wooden building. These had been built some months. The latter had laid the foundation of a large brick chapel (this was the edifice that was shaken down in the earthquake of 1848). But the Episcopalian Church site had not been finally decided upon. Brees' illustration of the English Church, shown on another page, depicts the edifice near the western corner of the Government Reserve (Parliamentary grounds, opposite the Museum). This building, slightly altered, was later pulled down, and most of the timber (the roof, windows and porch) were used in building the present chapel in the Bolton Street Cemetery, which the early settlers have had restored recently.
High Mass, 1840.
The Roman Catholic Bishop of New Zealand, Monseigneur Pompalier, visited Wellington on Christmas Day, 1840, and performed High Mass.
St. Mary's, Boulcott Street, 1842.
The Congregational Church services were started by Mr. Jonas Woodward in 1842, and held in the Mechanics' Institute, corner of Charlotte Street. In 1848 a small brick building was erected in Murphy Street, but the 1848 earthquake rendered it dangerous for use. Another church was built in Woodward Street and opened in May, 1849. About eighteen years later a larger church was built on the same site. In 1887 a portion of the congregation was transferred to the new church in Courtenay Place. The Terrace church was opened on the 26th May, 1888.
Religious Persuasions, 1845.
This list of adherents and number of churches are taken from Grimstone's “Southern Settlements”:—Church of England, 1371 souls (Rev. Robert Cole); Scotch Presbyterians, 433 souls (clergyman absent); Roman Catholics, 177 souls (Revs. J. P. O'Reilly and M. Le Compte); Wesleyans, 146 souls (Revs. S. Ironside and J. Watkin); Independents, 64 souls (Mr. Jonas Woodward); Baptists, 40; Hebrew persuasion, 19. The number of churches in 1845 were:—1 Church of England at Wellington seating 300; 1 chapel at Pito-one (50); 1 Presbyterian (250), closed during the absence of the Rev. John Macfarlane in Scotland; 1 Wesleyan (300); another Wesleyan at the Hutt (50). The Wesleyans and Independents performed service at the school house at Karori alternatively on Sundays. There was also 1 Independent (70), and 1 Roman Catholic seating 100.
Primitive Methodist, 1847.
The Sydney Street Primitive Methodist Church was founded in 1847, Mr. Henry Green being the first resident minister. The original church was a sod one, which was shaken down by the 1848 earthquake. A weather-board building was erected, which lasted until 1858. This was replaced by another, which lasted until 1869, when a larger church was erected. This church was occupied in 1895 and later. A church was also built in Webb Street in 1868.
St. Peter's, 1848.
The clock in old St. Peter's Tower that for many years served as a town clock is still performing faithful service in the dual capacity of a town clock and service bell for the Anglican Church in Washington Avenue, Brooklyn.
During the year 1848 a meeting of citizens was held, which resulted in the formation of an Evangelical Alliance for the purpose of opening a depot for Bibles in Wellington. The Revs. Ironside, Watkins and Woodward were the speakers at the meeting, and a committee was formed, comprising Messrs, Wilson, Lewis, Lovell, Tomline, Crowther, Edwards and Quin.
Hutt Church, 1849.
The Rev. R. Cole preached to two hundred and fifty persons at the opening ceremony of the Lower Hutt Church in 1849. The building, of wood, stood not far from the Hutt bridge, and was built by Mr. Hart Udy, from a design by Mr. Cridland (“N.Z. Journal,” 10/6/49).
St. Mary's, Hill Street, 1850.
The “Australian and New Zealand Gazette,” London, March 22, 1851, in its columns announced that: “The Catholic faithful of Port Nicholson will be glad to hear that the blessing of the first stone of St. Mary's Cathedral Church is fixed for Sunday, September 8, 1850. The ceremony will be announced by the ringing of the bell; at 2 o'clock the bishop and his clergy will proceed to the blessing of the foundation stone.”
St. Mary's Hill Street. Wellington, was founded by the Very Rev. Father Petitjean in 1851. Bishop Viard, the first Bishop of Wellington, ministered to his flock until his death in 1872, and was succeeded by His Grace Archbishop Redwood in 1873.
Karori Church, 1852.
The first church services at Karori were held in Mr. Stephen Lancaster's house “Chesneywold.” These were followed by regular services, held in a small hall which stood where the present Council Chambers are. These services were mostly conducted by the Rev. W. Sewel and Bishop Abraham. A newspaper dated 11th August, 1852, reads as follows: “A small church is now in course of erection at Karori, on a commanding site on the left side of the road to Karori” (Dryden's Corner, which site was abandoned). In 1865 the Rev. Thos. Fancourt was appointed for the district, and on the 12th August, 1866, a church was built on a site given by Mr. Justice H. S. Chapman. The present building of St. Mary's was consecrated by the Right Rev. Dr. Sprott, Bishop of the Diocese. (See “Evening Post,” Aug. 28, 1926.)
St. John's Presbyterian, 1853.
N.Z. Church Constitution, 1857.
The Constitution of the Church of New Zealand was agreed to by a general conference of bishops, clergy and laity, which met at Auckland on the 19th of June, 1857. In 1858, Bishop Selwyn was, by Act of Parliament, authorised to convey lands held in trust by him to trustees to be appointed by the General Synod, and during the interval was engaged in the formation of the Bishoprics of Wellington, Nelson and Waiapu. The Ven. Archdeacon Abraham, D.D., of Waite-mata, who had gone to England for consecration as Bishop of Wellington, arrived in March, 1859, and entered on his duties.
First General Synod, 1859.
The “Spectator” of March 10, 1859, announced that the first meeting of the General Synod of the United Church of England and Ireland, in New Zealand, took place at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8, 1859. The Bishop of New Zealand and Bishops of Christchurch and Nelson were present, also Archdeacons W. Williams, Brown and Kissling; Revs. R. Burrows, S. Williams, J. C. Bagshaw, S. Poole, and Messrs. Atkins, Bury, Fearon, Haultain, Hirst, St. Hill, Swainson and Williams. The business included trusts, maintenance of clergy, defining parishes, native education, Melanesian Mission, parsonage houses, endowments, cathedral property, collegiate property, etc.
St. Andrew's Church of Scotland.
The foundation stone of St. Andrew's Church of Scotland, Lambton Quay, was laid on Monday, 25th June, 1866, by Robert Roger Strang, Esq., Lay representative of the Church of Scotland in New Zealand, and one of the trustees, in the presence of the Rev. J. S. Muir, the minister, Messrs. C. W. Schultze, David Raine, John Martin, D. McIntyre, Francis Sidey, D. Wilkinson, Wm. James, M. Quin, J. McLaggan, Peter Laing, John Smith, Robert Kirton, members of the building committee, C. Julius Toxward, architect, John Augustus Petherick, builder, Sir G. Grey, K.C.B., Governor of the Colony, and Dr. I. E. Featherston, Esq., superintendent of the Province of Wellington (Fig. 117). An illuminated address was later presented to Mr. Strang at the meeting (and is in the possession of his grandson, Sir Douglas MacLean). During the evening a bazaar was held in the Oddfellows' Hall, Lambton Quay, the following persons participating in the proceedings:—Mrs. and Miss Wrixon, Mr. Greenfield, Miss Hughes, Mrs. James, Mrs. Rhatagan, Miss Smith, Mrs. Crawford, and many others. The refreshment and other stalls were in charge of Mrs. Charten, Miss Wilson, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Farmer, Mrs. Schwartz and Miss Kinniburgh. Miss Quin was postmistress-general.
St. Paul's Pro-Cathedral, 1866.
St. Paul's, Mulgrave Street, took the place of the Old St. Paul's that stood on the site of the Governor's stables and guard room (Museum Street South). The Mulgrave Street Church was page 393 designed by the elder Pugin, a London architect, but the plans were reduced for economic reasons chiefly.
St. Matthias, 1867.
The Makara Church was built about 1867, and the new church (St. Matthias) was consecrated on the 27th August, 1921. A descriptive article, with illustrations of the old and new churches, may be seen in the “Evening Post” of August 28, 1926.
The Synagogue, 1870.
The Jewish Synagogue, Wellington Terrace, was built early in 1870. The Rev. Mr. Van Staveren has been in charge of the Wellington community since 1877. —(“N.Z. Cyclopaedia,” p. 405, Vol. I.) (Demolished, see “Evening Post,” 19th December, 1928.)
The First Bishop of Wellington.
Bishop Abraham, consecrated in 1859, resigned his See on the 1st June, 1870, and the Rev. Octavius Hadfield, Archdeacon of Kapiti, succeeded him on the 9th October, 1870, being consecrated at St. Paul's, Wellington, at the first service in which a Bishop for a Colonial See was consecrated without the royal mandate or license.
St. Mark's, 1876.
St. Mark's Church (Fig. 219) was consecrated on the 21st May, 1876, by the Right Rev. Octavius Hadfield, Bishop of Wellington, assisted by the Ven. Archdeacon Stock, Rev. B. W. Harvey, Rev. F. Sheriff and Rev. C. D. de Castro.
A meeting was held at Bethune and Hunter's offices on June 22, 1874, when a new parochial district was inaugurated. Sir James Fergusson, father of the present Governor-General (Sir Charles Fergusson) was an active member of the committee. The first incumbent was the Rev. E. H. Grainger, who resigned before the church was built. He was succeeded in October, 1876, by the Rev. R. Coffey, who was in charge of the parish until his lamented death in March, 1907. (A report of the Jubilee of St. Mark's appears in the “Dominion,” 19/5/26.)
United Methodist, 1876.
The inauguration of the United Methodist Free Church took place in Wellington in 1876. A large church was built in Courtenay Place in July, 1879, the Rev. H. B. Redstone being the first minister.
The Baptist Church, Vivian Street, was opened in 1895. The church was constituted at an assemblage in the Polytechnic Hall in Featherston Street on the 20th January, 1878, with a membership of 19, Mr. T. Harrington being minister during the first year of its operations.
The Salvation Army's operations in Wellington commenced in 1883.
Further details of the churches of Wellington may be obtained from the “Cyclopaedia of New Zealand,” Vol. I., pp. 382–407.
First Maori Bishop of New Zealand.
The report of a special session of the General Synod of the Church of England, to consider the proposal of the creation of a Maori Diocese, may be seen in the “Evening Post,” December 2, 1925, and reproductions from photos of the Anglican Bishops Sprott, West-Watson, Sadlier, Sedgwick, Molyneux and Archbishop Averill are shown in the “Evening Post” of the 7th August, 1926.
The Right Rev. Frederick Augustus Bennett was consecrated Bishop of page 394 Aotearoa (New Zealand) at St. John's Cathedral, Napier, by Archbishop A. W. Averill, on December 2, 1928. (“Auckland Weekly News,” December 6. 1928.)
Sailors' Friend Society, Church and Institute.
This society (formerly known as the Missions to Seamen) was established by the Rev. James Moore in 1898. The first meetings were conducted in any available shed on the wharves, under very trying circumstances. The present edifice at the corner of Stout and Whitmore Streets, was presented by Mrs. M. A. Williams, who also presented the site of the Y.M.C.A. buildings in Upper Willis Street, and laid the foundation stone of that building.
Services for sailors and their friends are held in Whitmore Street every Sunday, and parlour concerts during the week. Many valuable pictures adorn the walls of the social hall, some of which are depicting the old wind-jammer type. A library, containing books written in the Victorian age to the present time, is much appreciated by sailor visitors in port, also an old piano, given mainly by the police some 25 years ago, as a mark of their appreciation of the decreased number of arrests on the wharves for stabbing and drunkenness since the establishment of the mission. A war memorial, and tablets commemorating the shipwrecks and lives of those that were lost at sea, are placed in the handsome little church upstairs. There is also a Sailors' Rest Society.—1928: President, Mr. C. J. Mackay; secretary, Mr. K. Purchas.
Fig. 239.—“Pahautanui” Church, and last resting place of some of Wellington's old “Pioneers” at Pauatahanui, Porirua Harbour. This church stood near the site of Te Rauparaha's and Rangihaeata's fortified Pas, and were afterwards occupied by the Imperial troops under Colonel Russell, father of the late Captain Russell, M.H.R. Captain Russell, M.H.R. The “Weekly Press” of the 15/7/1921 shows the church and early settlers of the district. The present church was opened on March 8th, 1925.
Mission services were held, a Sunday School, Band of Hope and a lad's club were started, and efforts were made to provide some better influence for the children and young people who spent their time learning evil habits and foul language on the sordid streets surrounding the mission room. Later, a parishioner (his name is not mentioned in the little book “History of St. Peter's Mission,” published in 1921), of St. Peter's presented a brick mission hall, which was built in the very centre of Taranaki Street. Mr. Walton, after six months of strenuous pioneer work, resigned to take up work in Kilbirnie, and has since been ordained, and is now Vicar of Foxton.
During the war the mission was maintained by the staff of St. Peter's. In 1919 the Rev. Thomas Fielden (Canon) Taylor was appointed, and in the years that have followed the success of the mission has been remarkable, the King's Theatre being crowded with church people of every denomination, and visitors to Wellington, besides its own flock. Mr. Taylor, in his report of the work of the mission mentioned, at the annual meeting, held on May 4, 1928: “He was happy to say that during the past ten years he had never missed one day's work”—what an example!
That fact alone constitutes a record of a spirit of indomitable courage and dogged perseverance of one living in discomfort, in constant pain—and latterly on crutches—the effect of war wounds and severe exposure to bitter weather received in a self-sacrificing effort to rescue a comrade under fire during the war of 1914–18.