Holy Trinity Cathedral Auckland  
Holy Trinity Cathedral Auckland
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Cnr St Stephens Ave & Parnell Rd Parnell, Auckland
telephone icon  +64 (0)9 303 9500

Our Cathedral


Holy Trinity Cathedral Timeline

Bishop Selwyn arrives in New Zealand from England.
Bishop Selwyn purchases the site on which the Cathedral stands over-looking the Waitemata
and the Pacific for $75 at an auction.
The first St Stephen's Chapel is consecrated by Bishop Selwyn.
The following year, storm damage renders the Chapel unusable.
The new St Stephen's Chapel designed by the Reverend Frederick Thatcher is built.
The Constitutional Conference was held in St Stephen's Chapel when the
first Constitution of the Anglican Church in New Zealand was signed.
Old St Mary's Church is completed on the opposite side of Parnell Road from the Cathedral site.
Old St Mary's is demolished and work begins on the new St Mary's Church.
St Mary's is completed and consecrated as the Cathedral Church of the Diocese.
St Stephen's Chapel is rededicated by Bishop Averill.
The foundation stone of Holy Trinity Cathedral Chancel and Crossing is laid.
The Cathedral Chancel is completed and opened for use as the new Cathedral Church.
St Mary's Church is moved across Parnell Road to its present site.
Building of the Cathedral Nave begins.
The inaugural service of worship in the Cathedral Nave
takes place in the presence of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Selwyn's Vision: Let's finish what history started, a project to complete the Cathedral
with the addition of a Lady Chapel, removal of the bridge and refurbishment of both Cathedral organs begins.
8 June : The doors of Holy Trinity Cathedral close in preparation for the removal of the bridge between the nave and the chancel.
8 Construction of the Bishop Selwyn Chapel begins




The foundation stone for Holy Trinity Cathedral Chancel was laid by Bishop Simkin on 13th June 1957 on a stone brought from Lichfield Cathedral, UK. Our Cathedral - ChancelThe Chancel, including the Choir and Transepts and ancillary rooms including the Marsden Chapel, was finally completed in 1973 and served as the Cathedral for twenty years before work could begin on the Nave.

Today, the Chancel is used predominantly for evening worship. Evensong, sung by the Cathedral Choirs, is held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. For more information about services click here.

The Patteson Entrance is named for the martyr, Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, who was killed in the Solomon Islands in 1871. The east transept window on the opposite side of the crossing, illustrating a passage from the Book of Revelation, is the work of the respected English artist, John Baker.

The Rose Window in the Chancel is the work of the English artist, Carl Edward's and symbolises the Trinity; Father (eye), Son (cross) and Holy Spirit (dove). Beneath it in the Sanctuary stands the High Altar made from native New Zealand Kauri. The Bishop's throne or cathedra is situated on the left of the aisle near the Sanctuary, and the Dean's chair on the right.
The Cathedral Grand Organ built in 1968 by Harrison and Harrison can be seen on the right of the crossing with the console situated on the bridge. The large gold window on the left of the crossing is the work of John Baker who also designed the windows in the Marsden Chapel.

The Marsden Chapel is named for the Reverend Samuel Marsden who established the New Zealand mission to the Maori people in 1814. Within the chapel are five windows, by John Baker. They are Our Lords Ascension, the Day of the Pentecost, the Stoning of St Stephen, the Baptism of the Ethiopian and the Institution of Holy Communion.

Our Votive Candle Station was designed by Richard Eriksen. As can be seen by its unique shape, it was built to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, and dedicated by The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams during his visit in 2012.

The Northern Ambulatory houses the portraits of the bishops of the Auckland Diocese from George Augustus Selwyn, Bishop 1841 - 1869, onwards. The Procession gathers here before services.

The Southern Ambulatory is home to artwork dedicated/gifted to the Cathedral. These paintings, sculptures and tapestries are examples of the different ways in which our place of worship inspires creativity. The Vinegar Bible (printed in Oxford, 1716-17) and Bishop Cowies Communion Set are also on display here.



The Cathedral Nave was designed by Professor Richard Toy, who asked for no remuneration for his work. Construction of the Nave began in 1991 andOu Cathedral - Nave the completed Nave was first used in November 1994, but work continued for several years  on the windows of the nave.

Our Cathedral congregation meets here every Sunday morning for Eucharist. For more information about services click here.  The native kauri Nave altar was a gift from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Auckland. Above the sanctuary, the corona which crowns this liturgical area serves as a source of light and acoustical reflection.

The West Nave windows were designed by Shane Cotton and depict the Hebrew Testament. Follow the story of God's redeeming actions with his people through history to salvation and new life in a semi-circular movement from the Millennial window in the top right corner of the Nave to the Baptistery Window near the Font.

The East Nave windows were designed by Robert Ellis. The theme of the West Nave windows is resumed in a very different style here, in the pictorial telling of the Gospels. The Maori and Polynesian influences are clear in these windows.

The Great Window at the rear of the Nave, designed by Nigel Brown, is said to be the largest expanse of stained glass in the southern hemisphere. The windows have a Maori/Polynesian side and a European side, with the risen Christ in the centre crowned by a seven-petalled flower depicting the seven days of Creation.

The Signature Window acknowledges the key contributors to the new Nave. The artist, Nigel Brown includes Bishop Selwyn, the donors, himself and the Auckland locality. The phrase 'muscular Christianity' was applied to the work of such heroic leaders of mission as Selwyn. In his six month's visitation tour he travelled 2,685 miles, 762 of which were on foot.

The font, is made entirely of cast glass.  It was designed and made by the internationally renowned New Zealand artist Ann Robinson. Considered to be unique, the font, which comprises four pieces of glass and weighs a metric tonne, is hand shaped and crafted. The Paschal Candle represents the presence of Christ.

The Cathedral Nave hosts state funerals, weddings, lectures, concerts and conferences as well as regular worship.


St Mary's-in-Holy Trinity

St Mary's was built on the west side of Parnell Road to serves as the Cathedral Church. It became the Cathedral Church of the diocese, pending the realisation ofOur Cathedral - St. Mary's Bishop Selwyns dream of a Cathedral for Auckland, where Holy Trinity now stands. It was enlarged in 1886, to its present size, consecrated in 1888 and moved to its present position in 1982. It is probably the finest example of its type in the world.

The whole building is made from Kauri apart from the front and back pews and the pulpit, all made from English Oak.

Along both sides of the building are brasses and windows in memory of former parishioners, reminding us that St Mary's was built as a parish church as well as a Cathedral. The central brass on the wall between the south-east porch and the pulpit is the memorial to the parishioners who were killed during the First World War. 

The lectern in the pulpit was made in memory of Bishop Gowing by Robert Thompson, known as the mouse man of Kilburn, Yorkshire, who carves a mouse on everything he makes. 

The three central lights in the great window behind the altar are a memorial to William Garden Cowie, Bishop of Auckland from 1869 to 1902. His coat-of-arms is seen at the foot of the window. Either side of these windows are what are known as the evangelist windows in memory of the pioneers of the Church in New Zealand.

On the altar are candlesticks made from timber salvaged from a fire in York Minster in 1829. They were given to Bishop Selwyn when he was leaving for New Zealand in 1839. To the left of the communion rail is Bishop Selwyn's library chair.

The organ was built by George Croft in 1909, replacing a previous organ that is now found in St Alban's Church, Dominion Road. Opposite the organ is the pulpit, built by a churchwarden, Mr J Gay, for the completion of St Mary's in 1898. The pulpit originally had gates, since removed.

One of the most recent and important relics in St Mary's is the banner of Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first with Tensing Norgay to climb Mt Everest in 1953. Following Sir Edmund's death in 2008, the banner, formerly hanging in St George's Chapel, Windsor, was returned to his family who requested it be hung in the church from which Sir Edmund was buried.

Below the banner is the baptistery. A font was ordered from England in the 1880's, and for some reason two were sent by mistake. The larger one is found in St Patrick's Chapel, Dilworth School, with the smaller one here. The windows around the baptistery are from Old St Mary's, in memory of the Reverend George Kissling, first Vicar of old St Mary's.

At the back of St Mary's are the Luke Bequest Windows which came from a benefaction of the late Miss Berenice Luke. This legacy has enabled the Cathedral to honour St Mary and to celebrate the contribution of women in the church and society in history as well as in our own time.

St Mary's is regularly used for weddings, funerals, concerts and the occasional special service.


St Stephen's Chapel

With the need for a chapel, Bishop G.A. Selwyn purchased the land on which St Stephen's Chapel sits above Judge's Bay (Taurarua) in 1844. The first StOur Cathedral - St Stephen's Stephen's Chapel erected on this site collapsed in 1847 during a storm.

The chapel now on the site was built in early 1857, and hosted the meetings which created the Constitution of the Anglican Church in New Zealand, signed here on 13th June 1857. Approaching the chapel from Judge St, the visitor enters the grounds through a lych gate, and passes through a graveyard in which are buried some of the earliest pioneers of New Zealand and of the Church in New Zealand.

The chapel, striking in its simplicity, sits on a small, leveled patch of land on a relatively steep slope which overlooks Judges' Bay (Taurarua). With a steeply pitched roof, vertical battens, windows of small diamond-shaped panes, and its suitability to its situation, it is a tiny version of the style which has become synonymous with the so-called Selwyn churches, designed by Frederick Thatcher in close collaboration with Bishop Selwyn.

Built of five squares, each with 10 feet sides, the chapel was built as a semi-private chapel for the Bishop's use, though open for use by all who chose to worship there.

The chapel is today the local church for many people in the district. Holy Communion is celebrated each Sunday morning at 9am and the chapel is also used for weddings.


The Cathedral Precinct, Trinity Garden and Columbarium

The Mountain Fountain, designed by Terry Stringer, was moved to the Cathedral Forecourt from Aotea Square in 2010.  It is made from bronze andOur Cathedral - Trinity Gardens concrete and is a symbol of hope and confidence and a place of belonging. Across St Stephens Avenue, you can see Bishopscourt and the Selwyn Library, built for Bishop Selwyn 1861-65.

The Trinity Garden is located at the rear of St Mary's. The Garden was designed by Jacky Bowring of Christchurch.

The Garden is a space for memory, contemplation and celebration that provides a place symbolic for people of faith, with relevance for a range of cultures. A consistent design element is that of a circle within a square.

A grass labyrinth on the Parnell Road frontage invites you to take part in the reflective moments offered by the Garden. In the designer's words, it provides an interface with the busy street while also allowing for an interaction and conversation that will enhance the life of the neighbourhood.

Moving on you come to the grove and columbaria. The grove includes historic oak trees with some additional planting. Two columbaria columns here provide for the placement of ashes. A gathering area, with a flowing water source, allows Services to be held beside the columns while seating provides places for families to sit.

From there you move to the pool terrace to the east of St Mary's and behind the High Altar of the Cathedral. The terrace looks out directly to Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill - a significant landmark for Richard Toy in his design of the Cathedral. The pool will provide a place of calm and reflection as well as a visual link between the interior of the chapel and the Garden.

The columbaria occupy a central position in the Trinity Garden. Their location provides a peaceful setting where you can come to pay homage to your loved ones.

There are currently two columbarium columns, with a third planned.  Each column has forty-eight niches which accommodate a cremation urn and sealed with a stone plaque recording the name of each of those commemorated.

Services can be held if wished for the depositing of ashes for a loved one. A Gathering Area beside St Mary's provides a space for such Services and Cathedral clergy can assist with these.

A Memorial Book in the Cathedral records the names of all those who are commemorated in the columbarium. Families have the opportunity to provide the words they wish to have entered in this lasting memorial.

If you have a connection with Holy Trinity Cathedral, St Mary's or St Stephen's, you may wish to consider the columbarium as a final resting place for your loved ones. Places may also be reserved prior to death. Each niche is designed to hold the ashes of one person.

Memorial plaques can also be placed in several locations in the Trinity Garden to remember loved ones. Cathedral Clergy are also glad to assist with a Service of blessing for these plaques.

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