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Tuku Tuku panel, Maori art..jpg

History of the Church


Saint Barnabas is the oldest Maori Church in New Zealand, originally built in Mechanics Bay in Parnell, it was then moved to its current location in Mt Eden, Maungawhau by horse in 1877.

On 21st January, 1849 a chapel was opened and consecrated in the name of Saint Barnabas sited above the foreshore of what is now Mechanics Bay in Parnell. It had been built for the Maori people who came from the gulf islands to sell their produce in Auckland. The original building was designed by Frederick Thatcher who planned many of the "Selwyn" churches built during the episcopate of the first bishop. During 1877 Anglican services began to be held in Mt Eden at the local schoolroom. As the Church of St Barnabas was no longer being used for its original purpose, it was moved by bullock-drawn wagons to the present site where it was re-opened as part of Holy Sepulchre Parish on 6th October, 1878. Very soon growing numbers meant that an enlargement was necessary. The roof was raised, the side walls separated to provide aisles, and the whole building lengthened. This was done in 1886. The Parish of Mount Eden was established in 1890.


A Brief Timeline of the History of the Church

1908 More growth prompted the replacement of the small wooden sanctuary and transepts with a much larger brick structure. The stained glass windows in St Barnabas donated in the first half of the 20th century are amongst the most important stained glass windows in Auckland.

1923 The social wing known as the guild room was built.

1932 The vestry and connecting passage were

added, thus freeing the space on the North side

of the chancel which had been the vestry, to be

transformed into the Selwyn Chapel.

1985 The church hall on Bellevue Road was sold.

1987 The existing Parish Centre was built out

from the Guild Room.

1989 The car park and grounds were completed.

1991 To allow for greater flexibility in the ways

that worship space could be used, the interior

of the Church was re-ordered. The high altar was

moved to a more central location, movable curved

communion rails replaced fixed straight ones and

the choir stalls were relocated in the transepts.

Minor adjustments were made to pew length in

order to widen the aisles, a new heating and lighting

system installed, and carpet was laid throughout

the church.

We have also, of course, had plenty of Vicars since the beginning of the Church. In fact there have been 13 over the past 129 years. 

T.H. Sprott 1890-91 (later Bishop of Wellington)
W.H. Johnston 1892-1902
E.J. McFarland 1902-21
H.H. Foster (Acting) 1922-23
E.E. Bamford 1923-30
F.G. Harvie 1930-37
G.R. Monteith 1937-49
H.J. Steele 1949-69
G.L. Maffey 1970-80
B.A. Graves 1980-91
J.R.M. Wilson 1992-2007
P. Clarke 2008-2009
R.D. Hornburg 2010 –2019

S. Malcolm 2020 - Current

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