Our History
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