History

Christ Church has served the dis­trict faith­fully for over 130 years.

The church is one of the old­est build­ings in Ellerslie and has been acknow­ledged by the Maungakiekie Community Board as a her­it­age build­ing. It is reg­u­larly included in the loc­al Heritage Walk. Built in Kauri and ori­gin­ally with a shingle roof and win­dows of opaque glass the church cost 600 pounds. The church land had been pur­chased for 50 pounds from Robert Graham an early Auckland landown­er and civic per­son­age.

Christ Church was ded­ic­ated by Bishop Cowie on 22 December 1883 with 110 people present.

4121
Christ Church — 1928
Photo cour­tesy of the Sir George Grey Special Collection, Auckland City Libraries: Ref 4–4121.

The church is renowned for its price­less stained glass win­dows which were made by the firm of Clayton and Bell, glass­makers to Queen Victoria. Clayton and Bell also provided win­dows for the chapel at Windsor Castle, King’s College Cambridge, Durham Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The win­dows were made in England and shipped out in 1884 for install­a­tion com­plete with a list of the sub­jects giv­ing the order in which they were to be placed. The work was com­pleted by 17 January 1885.

The win­dows were a gift from Alfred Bell to Albin Martin a mem­ber of the con­greg­a­tion who was a well known New Zealand land­scape artist. Albin Martin had set Alfred Bell on his career as a glass paint­er while in England. When Alfred Bell heard of Albin Martin’s involve­ment with the new church he wrote to him ask­ing for the meas­ure­ments of all the win­dows so that he could make a com­plete set. He sought to cre­ate “a cer­tain rhythm and unity through­out”. This he achieved by hav­ing each of the eight­een win­dows depict a dif­fer­ent part of the Gospel.

The church suffered a very ser­i­ous fire in 1929 but des­pite the heat the win­dows were not dam­aged.

In 1990 the church had a major rebuild when the Parish Lounge was added and the interi­or of the church was reversed with the altar being moved to the oppos­ite end. In 2006 there was a fur­ther refur­bish­ment of the church. The bell tower was repaired and strengthened with new fini­als added, the win­dow frames and facings strengthened to ensure that the win­dows are firmly in place, sun­dry repairs car­ried out and the church repainted.

In November 2008 the church cel­eb­rated its 125th year mark­ing this mile­stone in its his­tory by a spe­cial ser­vice of con­sec­ra­tion –an event which des­pite the church’s length of years had not pre­vi­ously taken place.