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Old Saint Pauls Cathedral

Old St Paul’s is an example of 19th-century Gothic Revival architecture that was adapted to colonial conditions and materials.

St Paul’s Anglican Church was built on land purchased by Bishop Selwyn in 1845, augmented by a Crown grant of Maori Reserve land by Governor Grey in 1853. It was designed by the Reverend Frederick Thatcher in 1862, an English architect and then vicar of St Paul’s parish in Thorndon. Constructed entirely of native timber in 1866, the wooden arches are enhanced by stunning stained glass windows. In England, such churches would have been built from stone; in New Zealand, wood was plentiful. The wooden construction of Old St Paul’s has enabled it to withstand Wellington’s high winds and earthquakes for nearly 150 years. Old St Paul’s became the scene of one of New Zealand’s greatest heritage battles. As the diocese tried to dismiss the church that had served them for almost 100 years, strong protest from a small group captured significant public support. Eventually, the Government purchased Old St Paul’s in 1967 and vested it in the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, which manages it today supported by the Friends of Old St Paul’s Society Inc. Old St Paul’s is registered as a Category I historic place.