Church on site of old Maori pa

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By DENISE ROUGHAN

This hand-coloured plan on linen, drawn by prom­i­nent Welling­ton ar­chi­tects Clere, Fitzger­ald & Rich­mond, shows their de­sign for St Al­ban’s church, on the cor­ner of State High­way 58 and the Paekakariki Hill Rd.

The foun­da­tion stone was laid in 1875 and the fin­ished church was con­se­crated in 1898 on June 17, St Al­ban the Mar­tyr’s Day.

It was the sec­ond church to be built in Pau­ata­hanui, and is on the site of the Matai- taua pa, which was built in 1846 by Ngati Toa leader Te Rangi­haeata.

The church’s de­sign is sim­ple Gothic Re­vival, with no­table lancet win­dows and ex­ter­nal tim­ber­framed but­tresses.

The bell from the pre­vi­ous Angli­can church, which had also served as a school­house, was moved to the new bell tower in St Al­ban’s.

The bell had been do­nated by John Plim­mer and came from his bar­que In­con­stant, which was wrecked at Welling­ton’s har­bour en­trance in 1849.

The church was more re­cently the sub­ject of Robin White’s 1971 screen print, Church on a Hill, Pau­ata­hanui.

The place name Pau­ata­hanui was of­ten mis­spelled as Pa­hau­tanui, as it is on this plan.

It was spelled this way on cadas­tral and to­po­graphic maps as late as 1943.

Ethno­g­ra­pher Els­don Best, in his 1914 ar­ti­cle The Porirua Road, com­piled a list of dif­fer­ent spellings of the name, and noted that ‘‘the usual pro­nun­ci­a­tion is Par-wer-ter­nui [nooi]’’.

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