Mark Birch
Encouraging work recognised by AAW

St Mary's parishioner Rosemary Bent has inspired members of the Association of Anglican Women and Mothers' Union in Aotearoa and Pasifika with her work in Overseas and Outreach. This year she received a certificate of recognition from the AAW executive. Born in England, Rosemary came to New Zealand in 1962, and met her husband Michael when she was working for the Christian Mission Service. The couple lived in New Plymouth during Michael's term as Vicar of St Mary's (1976-85), and later... read more

Modern progress during Evans' time

Several developments at St Mary's took place during the tenure (1898-1910) of the third Vicar, Frank George Evans, who succeeded the long-serving Archdeacon Henry Govett. Evans arrived in New Zealand from England in 1879, and was ordained priest in 1883. After serving on the North Shore and at Te Aroha he became vicar of St Mary's in 1898, and married his second wife, Miss Louisa Govett, daughter of Archdeacon Govett. Evans saw the main porch of St Mary's completed. Gas lighting... read more

50-year Vicar generous, worked towards racial harmony

When the first Vicar of St Mary's, William Bolland, died in 1847, his cousin The Revd Henry Govett was appointed as his successor. His fruitful ministry was to last 50 years. Govett walked immense distances over Māori tracks to visit all parts of his huge parish, holding services in districts as far apart as Opunake and Waitara. Like Bolland, Govett was an Oxford graduate who had come to New Zealand to seek adventure. He found New Plymouth an isolated community. In... read more

Church sexton set foundations

Retired journalist Mark Birch has been trawling through the St Mary’s archives and published booklets. These are one view of history, often written for a particular time and context. Through the Cathedral Project we hope to tell more of our church and regional stories. These profiles are a start. Well before the completion of St Mary's Church in 1846, parishioner John Lye was busy getting the building and grounds in order – and as soon as the church was opened he... read more

Athletic Clergy Shape Early Days

Two vigorous churchmen who walked immense distances during their ministries were key figures in the history of St Mary's: Bishop Selwyn, the first Anglican Bishop of New Zealand, and William Bolland, the first Vicar of St Mary's. In 1842 Bishop Selwyn reached the tiny settlement of New Plymouth after a walk from Thames during which he was delayed by floods and nearly starved. Only 31, he was an athlete who made extraordinary physical demands on himself and expected much from others.... read more

US pair attracted by gospel in action

A sense of community was the drawcard to Taranaki Cathedral when Nancy and Doug Getson looked around for a place to worship. New Plymouth has been their home for just over two years; sadly a change in Doug’s work means they’re leaving in the next few months. Churchgoing is something they have always done. She was brought up a Baptist, he a Catholic but when they got together neither of those denominations suited. Instead they ended up (initially) in an Anglican... read more

Peace Hall swings on Dance Nights

The popular dances of yesteryear are brought back to life once a week by the New Plymouth Modern and Old Time Dancing Club. The club meets in the Peace Hall on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, and in the Methodist Hall in Liardet St on the first, third and fifth. Visitors are welcome to go and try their hand – or foot – at dances such as the veleta, waltz, foxtrot, two-step, maxina and Gay Gordons. Live music... read more

The Word goes to school

A new initiative to spread Bible knowledge in schools was launched at Holy Trinity church in Fitzroy, New Plymouth on Sunday May 15. The service marked Pentecost Sunday, and the Revd Rodney Dunlop led the congregation in prayers for the 75 Action Bibles purchased from the NZ Bible Society and the New Wine Christian Trust. Parishioners also prayed for the children and the schools who will be receiving the books as a gift. This new edition of the holy word has... read more

The new Dean of Taranaki Installed

The new Dean of the Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary, the Very Revd Peter Beck, was installed in the role at a ceremony in New Plymouth on Saturday, April 26, 2016. Dean Peter is a former Dean of Christchurch Cathedral, having resigned in 2011 after nearly 10 years in the job. He has filled the Taranaki role left by former Dean Jamie Allen. The installation service was held in the Interim Cathedral, across the road from the historic cathedral building... read more

Priestly Man of Action

Sixty years in the priesthood was celebrated in December 2015 by the Very Revd Michael Bent, a former vicar of St Mary’s and archdeacon of Taranaki, who still lives in the city. Michael has experienced eventful assignments in the United Kingdom, Fiji and Papua New guinea, and also worked in New Zealand parishes. Born in England, he aimed to be a solicitor but during a court sitting, “I saw all these shady characters standing in the dock, and I thought, with... read more

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