Historic Place Category 1
Tikitiki A18 Blk VI Waiapu SD
St Mary's Church, which was dedicated in 1926 is a memorial to the Maori soldiers of the East Coast who fell during the First World War. It is of great spiritual and historical significance to the people of Ngati Porou.
The church also commemorates the establishment of Christianity in Waiapu and the East Coast. Taumata-a-Kura of Ngati Porou had been captured in the early [1820s] by a Ngapuhi war party and taken by them in enslavement to the Bay of Islands. After several years he escaped and came under the protection of the Missionaries, by whom he was taught to read and write, and was introduced to Christianity. In 1834 he returned to Waiapu and introduced the Christian gospel to his people. It was not until after this that William Williams formally established a mission on the East Coast.
St Mary's is one of the great decorated buildings of Ngati Porou whose building was inspired and directed by Apirana T. Ngata, as part of his endeavours to restore knowledge of traditional arts and crafts and traditional values to his people. Ngata was a dynamic and revered leader of the Maori people, and especially of his Ngati Porou people, throughout the first half of the twentieth century.
The foundation stone of St Mary's was laid in 1924 and the building was dedicated in 1926.
St Mary's Church is one of such great significance to the Ngati Porou people that it is referred to as their Cathedral. It commemorates the establishment of Christianity on the East Coast, it is a memorial to the local Maori dead of World War I and it is a personal tribute to Sir Apirana Ngata.
The exterior of St Mary's Church is relatively simple in design although the entry porch has received special attention. In contrast, the interior of the church is one of the most elaborate and ornate Maori carved buildings in New Zealand. The decorative kowhaiwhai and tukutuku artwork is executed in traditional materials to traditional design, and the designs are carried over to the new medium of glass in the windows. The quality and innovative use of stained glass is one of the glories of the church.
The church stands on a hillside overlooking State highway 35. It has considerable landmark qualities in its setting on its prominent elevated site.
Registration covers the entire building, its fixtures and finishes. It also includes recent modifications.
The carving and decoration of the interior.
- Original Construction: 1924 (circa) - 1926 (circa)
- Modification: 1989 (circa)
- Modification: 2001 (circa) - 2002 (circa)
Concrete piles and foundation wall; timber framing with lapped weatherboards; roof of corrugated galvanised iron.
- Conservation Plan,Chris Cochran, Dean Whiting and Graham Stewart, 'St Mary's Church, Tikitiki: Conservation Plan', Wellington, 1999
- Frances Porter (ed.) Historic Buildings of New Zealand: North Island (2nd edn.), Auckland, 1983
- New Zealand Historic Places Trust,'St Mary's Church, State Highway 35, Tikitiki', NZHPT Buildings Classification Committee Report, Wellington, 1990
- Dictionary of New Zealand Biography,M. P. K. Sorrenson, 'Apirana Ngata' in Claudia Orange (ed), Vol 3 1901-1920, Wellington, 1996
- Frances Porter (ed.), Historic Buildings of New Zealand: North Island, Auckland, 1979,pp 13-22, 26-28
- J A Mackay, Historic Poverty Bay and the East Coast, N.I., N.Z, Gisborne, 1949.,pp 354
- Poverty Bay Herald,26 February 1926
- 14 Dec 2012,Friday 13 February 1976
- Gisborne Times,Tuesday 2 March 1926
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.
Report Written By
this page is correct to the best of the Trust's knowledge. If you have any additional
information you would like to share with the Trust, please
contact the Registrar.
You may wish to contact the Trust to view our paper records.