Our History
Solace for World War Bereaved

Many parishioners of St Mary's served in one or other of the world wars, and all too many of them were killed. Special church services during WWI did something to ease the pain of loss. read more

Clerical concern for morality of the times

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. Red Cross queen carnivals encouraged gambling and placed girls in moral danger, according to the fourth Vicar of St Mary's, the Revd. A. H. Colvile (1912-17). He said the gambling associated... read more

Modern progress during Evans' time

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. 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... 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