Hang on a Minute – A History of St Matthew’s Anglican Church, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, 1895-1995


A History of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay 1895-1995.

Betty Carding

Front cover: Lychgate built in 1893 as a Memorial to Rev. J A Townsend. Designed by Mountfort of Christchurch, Built by Robert Holt.

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Drawing of St. Matthew’s 1995 Pen and ink: Artist, Shirley Vogtherr. Hastings. (fig. 1)

Limited Edition 65

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ISBN 0-473-03370-4

“Hang On A Minute: A History of St. Matthew’s Parish, Hastings”

Published & Printed in August 1995 by Hanton & Andersen Limited

PO Box 305, Wanganui, New Zealand

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Saint Matthew’s Church, Hastings, Hawkes Bay, will benefit from the sale of this book.

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FIGURE 1  Drawing of St. Matthew’s 1995 Pen and ink: Artist, Shirley Vogtherr. Hastings.  i

FIGURE 2  ‘The Madonna and Child’ 1995 Matai: Carver, David Goodin. H.B.Polytechnic.  xi

FIGURE 3  Minute copied from St. Luke’s, Havelock 8 August 1893.  9

FIGURE 4  Copy of original letter to St. Luke’s Vestry, Havelock. 8 May 1893.  10

FIGURE 5  Sub-committee Report of the Boundaries, 1893.  11

FIGURE 6  Organ loft over west door. Mountfort church.  14

FIGURE 7  Te Deum stained glass window.  22

FIGURE 8  Church covered in Virginia creeper  24

FIGURE 9  Pulpit with canopy  45

FIGURE 10  St. Matthew’s Primary School First Day pupils.  75

FIGURE 11  Bishop Murray Mills with Mrs Button Blessing of St. Matthew’s Primary School  76

FIGURE 12  Parish Magazine August 1930.  79

FIGURE 13  Form of Legacy  80

FIGURE 14  “The Reaper” front cover magazine.  81

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CLERGY FROM 1895 – 1995  92


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Matthew the Levite: probably born in Galilee, the son of Alpheus. He was a publican tax collector at Capharnaum when Christ called him to follow him and he became one of the twelve Disciples. He was the author of the first Gospel.

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This history was undertaken at the invitation of the Centennial Committee of St. Matthew’s Church, established to celebrate 100 years of the division of the parish of St. Matthew’s.

I am indebted to the Vicar, Reverend Monty J Black for his encouragement. To the Wardens, Vestry and parishioners of St. Matthew’s and St. Luke’s, Havelock North, for allowing me to be let loose amongst the archives. For the many people who have spent time with me talking about old times, putting names to faces, fielding my questions.

To my daughter, Mrs. Chris Coutts, for leading me along my chosen path and helping me stay there: Sheryl Hilton for sharing her computer skills; Shirley Vogtherr for her art work and support; Peter Gifford and Bill Dent for their expertise and advice, and to the members of,the 1995 Centennial Committee for inviting me to undertake this work.

It is my wish that you will derive as much pleasure from reading this history as I have had in writing it.

Betty Carding

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Several histories have been written previously (notably those developed by the Jubilee Committees of 1945 and 1955) in an endeavour to preserve the heritage of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Hastings, and these provided a platform for the present study. This historical treatise was initiated at the request of the Centennial Committee, 1995, to celebrate 100 years of the division of the parish of St. Matthew’s. It combines both archival and ethnographic data to develop a rich tapestry of the church’s history over the last 100 years. All the information is from vestry minute books unless otherwise stated. The records of the parent parish, St. Luke’s, and of St. Matthew’s have been diligently researched, to bring together the amalgam of buildings, people and philosophies of this narrative.

As the work progressed the cyclic nature, the way events repeated themselves over this time was revealed. For example the opening of St. Matthew’s Primary School in 1995 echoed the early history of Hastings when St. Matthew’s Church had close ties with several local schools who worshipped there on a regular basis. Similarly, the tentative opening of a Creche on Thursday afternoons in 1943 as an Outreach to the community was mirrored by the highly successful enterprise of the Early Childhood Centre of recent times. And the beautiful carved matai ‘Madonna and Child’ ; (fig.2) gifted in 1995 by a parishioner who, at the time of commissioning this work, was quite unaware of the previous statue of ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ’ which was lost to the earthquake in 1931 and not replaced.

The organ has been, and is, a significant part of St. Matthew’s and it is fitting that in the Centennial year, 1995, a committee raised the considerable sum of $125,000 to enable it to be restored to it’s former glory, enlarged, and to incorporate more stops.

Another very interesting aspect of this study was the insight into earlier times in New Zealand and elsewhere, provided by combining the finding from Church Minutes with resources from Havelock North Library, to develop commentary on happenings outside the Anglican community. For example, the explosion in the Kaitangata mine in 1879 and the huge earthquake in 1923 which flattened Tokyo and Yokohama to a radius of one mile – 300,000 refugees were made homeless.

When events of significance, such as cyclones and hurricanes occurred, all parishes were asked by the Diocesan General Synod to respond: on a local level, a very heavy frost in an earlier year saw the vestry write a letter of condolence to the local fruitgrowers when much of the crop was

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lost; again, in 1994, hail damage to local orchards resulted in devastation of that year’s fruit crop and saw the vestry express their concern in a practical way with flowers, wine and food to parishioners affected. Royal occasions and visits to New Zealand of overseas dignitaries are also mentioned throughout the Vestry Minute Books of St. Matthew’s Church. This anecdotal commentary thus provides a context for the activities of the church and helps us to gain an understanding of events as they occurred, of why particular decisions were taken, and the implications for St. Matthew’s Parish.

The pioneers of 1895, though typically Victorian in their outlook loved their church and their God as do parishioners of to-day’s community. The early Vestry members took very seriously their stewardship of buildings and money. This focus on the material aspects of the church reflected the social climate and teachings which were common for that time. To venture 13000 miles to start a new life in New Zealand took a very brave and strong minded character with a single minded purpose, and this very nature brought about some acrimonious birth pangs for St. Matthew’s Which are well documented in other publications, notably, Boyd, 1984. Boyd provides evidence that the history of St. Matthew’s shows undercurrents of rancour from time to time. Indeed, St. Matthew’s of the late 20th century appeared to have developed a reputation of being hard on it’s Priests.

Photo caption – The Madonna and Child. The statue was carved out of matai by David Goodin from Hawkes Bay Polytechnic. The statue has a distinctive New Zealand feel to it which comes from the strength and colour of the wood, from the kowhai shape of the head and headdress, and the frond like look of the child. The generous gift of Kathleen Coates which now stands in the Lady Chapel. (fig. 2) (photographer: Sheryl Hilton)

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Though Vestries have not always been compliant with the wishes of the vicar of the time, St. Matthew’s has been well served by men and women of standing in the City, both from the professions and trade. These people have willingly given their time and talents in the services of Our Lord, and led to the establishment of the building and activities which together contribute to the history and present parish which is St. Matthew’s.

In the beginning, a list of Vestry members read like a chapter from “Who’s Who” – many street names perpetuate the names of Civic leaders who were also members of Vestry. Three mayors, several solicitors and accountants and men of medicine served for many years on various committees of the church.

Finances have been cleverly managed by a succession of Treasurers who expertly persuaded parishioners to part with their hard earned money, often when times were difficult for the average person. Generally, it appears Vicar’s were overworked looking after the spiritual needs of the large parish. Vestry minutes imply Vicars should not be burdened by mundane money matters. However, in some cases, the Priests have been totally competent in things financial, and their vision for St. Matthew’s included total control over all aspects of it’s being.

Various gifts visible within St. Matthew’s are tangible evidence of many 1 loyal past and present parishioner’s work and love of their Church. Memorials to much loved past Priests, and Thanksgivings of one kind or another make for a very special and beautiful place.

Following a loosely chronological path from the first written records available at St. Luke’s, Havelock North, and St. Matthew’s, this history elaborates the themes identified in the introduction and provides the reader with insights and understandings of how and why the Church evolved over time.

In writing this history, the language of the time has been preserved ‘ because although it sounds strange to modern ears, this reflects the character of the original authors and assists in setting the time frame. Many changes have occurred over 100 years. Many things have, of necessity, been left out of this work. However, a full and accurate archive has been developed as a result of this study and readers who are interested in specific details not included herein may contact St. Matthew’s Parish office.

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The Daily Telegraph’s article (September 12, 1970) on “the birth of a church” noted that the foundation of St. Matthew’s occurred early in 1869, when a group of people gathered in the drawing room of Mr J. N. Williams at Frimley. Services were held in this way fairly regularly for about five years. In 1874 the first school building in St. Aubyn Street became vacant and from this time onwards, regular services were conducted there by the Rev. William Marshall, Vicar of Havelock. However Boyd, (1984) maintains the move from these humble beginnings to the first service in the Church we know today as St. Matthew’s Parish of Hastings was far from smooth. Boyd explains that the original St. Matthew’s, known as “West- minster Abbey” because of it’s two imposing towers, was opened on 19 August 1877 on the corner of King Street and the main Street (now known as Heretaunga Street). However this church was built against the wishes of J.N. Williams, under the patronage of the Rev. William Marshall and did not apparently receive the official blessing of Synod. Consequently, the present site, on the corner of Lyndon Road and King Street was given by Messrs J. N. Williams, Vickers and Wellwood for a new church to be built. Subsequently, a wooden structure, designed by C. J. Mountfort of Christchurch and constructed by Robert Holt, was erected in 1886. The “Mountfort” church being extended extensively in ferro cement and refurbished between 1914/ 1915, is the present Anglican Parish Church of St. Matthew’s, Hastings.

The “Westminster Abbey” building was later partly dismantled and used – as a schoolroom for several years prior to it’s accidental destruction by fire in 1898.

While these events form part of an accepted public record, the decisions which lead to them and the controversy surrounding them are not. To gain some understanding of the factors at play, it is necessary to look at the historical context of the early Anglican Church.

The official name for our Church is ‘The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia,’ not the ‘ Church of England.’ The Church of England has no jurisdiction over the life of the New Zealand Church, the latter being an independent, self governing Church. “And for this we have to thank Bishop Selwyn, our first bishop, who went out of his way to create an independent Church here in the South Pacific” the Rev. M.J. Black, Vicar in residence at the time of writing explains.

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Even so, historical precedent set by the “parent” Church in England determined that the Church was administered by a group of community representatives known collectively as the Vestry.

In the 14th Century, the Archbishop of Canterbury ordered that in each parish two men should be appointed to look after the fabric of the church, as at that time a large number of churches were springing up. This marked a great advance in church life, for up to this time the Rector, or Vicar, was the sole authority. Now that Wardens were appointed to look after the fabric, it was certain that they would soon begin to be regarded as representative laymen charged with the duty of safeguarding the rights of the lay people, a duty which, on the whole, they have faithfully performed.

“In every village there are two men, usually of high repute, solid both physically and financially, who are called Churchwardens. They exist in towns also, but do not loom so large there,” Grimes (1935) explains. Many of these churchmen held office for years, he adds, and “there are usually sidesmen attached to the church to assist the Wardens, but they are lesser luminaries.” The word ‘sidesmen’ is apparently a corruption of the word Synodsmen and is a much older word than Churchwarden, according to Grimes (op.cit.) Originally, bishops used to hold Synods, or assemblies of

Photo caption – Anglican Church in Hastings, colloquially known as “Westminster Abbey,” it was situated on the north east corner of Heretaunga Street. Destroyed by fire.

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ministers and elders in order to discuss and decide ecclesiastical affairs (Little, Fowler and Coulson, 1967), a custom coming once more into use in the 1900’s. Men appointed in each parish had to present to the bishop an account of the state of affairs in their parishes, and to report on how the clergy performed their duties. These men were called Synodsmen, which was, afterwards shortened to sidesmen. In today’s church there are Synodsmen elected to represent the parish at the Synod, and “Welcomers” on duty at each service to give out books, and help people to their seats, welcoming each person to worship, these may be male or female. A similar administrative structure appeared to have been adopted by the early Hastings Churches.

The original St. Matthew’s, “Westminster Abbey,” was opened on 19 August 1877. However, services were dependent on the availability of preachers. Hastings was a Sub-District of Havelock (sic) and under the care of Rev. William Marshall. Mr Scholes, organist and choirmaster at St. Luke’s was engaged temporarily as organist at St. Matthew’s as well, with services alternating between the two sites. A Layreader, Mr Beilby, took services at both Havelock and Hastings when the vicar was elsewhere.

Thomas Tanner, the Ministers Churchwarden at St. Luke’s, planned a visit to England and asked Robert Brathwaite to act in his stead until his return. Thus it was that in February 1878, the Vestry of St. Luke’s resolved “that the Reverend W. Marshall and Mr Robert Brathwaite be requested to wait upon Mr Ormond, Mr J.N. Williams, Capt. Russell and Mr Birch, to solicit their aid on behalf of the Hastings Church, and that these persons whose duty it was, (were) to collect the second year’s subscriptions due.” An adjourned meeting of Havelock parishioners was held in the church on Wednesday evening, the 20th February 1878 when it was moved by Mr Brathwaite, seconded by Capt. Russell “The Chairman be requested to call a meeting of the Parishioners by public advertisement, and by Notices on the church doors; for Wednesday 17 February 1878 for the purpose of making financial arrangements in connection with Hastings Church, and for other business, be requested to get in the same without delay.” This entry is the first record in the Minutes of the proposal regarding the building of a “new” church.

This meeting duly authorised the Vestry to “guarantee the interest on the overdraft in Hastings Church – said overdraft not to exceed six hundred pounds” The annual subscriptions to the Building Fund of Hastings Church, “be devoted to form a Sinking Fund, to reduce the said overdraft.”

It was proposed by J.N. Williams, and seconded, Robert Brathwaite, that “the number of Vestry in each of the three congregations (St. Luke’s, St. Matthew’s, St. Mark’s), undertake to obtain a Guarantee list of

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subscriptions to the Clergyman’s stipend,” indicating that finances to support church activities were of major concern even in those very early days.

At the June meeting in that same year, J.N. Williams reported “there was no obstacle to the immediate transfer of the section of land on which the main part of St. Matthew’s Church stands, to Trustees appointed by the General Synod, but that as regards the section on which the Chancel of the said church stands, Mr Vickers, the donor of the land was still unwilling to make the change in the terms of the Trust required by Standing Committee.” Later, having acquired the section from Vickers, Mr Wellwood transferred the section to the Trustees.

It was the practice to employ a Collector receiving 5% of the sum collected, (pledges and pew rents). The Churchwardens, (both Ministers and Parishioners), were in charge of all things financial. Mr Brathwaite served firstly at St. Luke’s, as Vicar’s Churchwarden, then People’s Churchwarden, and was a member of St. Luke’s Vestry for many years, following which he acted as their Auditor. Concurrently, having shifted to Hastings in 1894, Robert Brathwaite was elected to the Vestry of St. Matthew’s, taking an active part until 1906, when he asked to be permitted to resign his duties owing to his age.

The practice of renting pews was not popular in Hastings, though the Havelock church continued this for a long time as a source of revenue. It was reported that persons were excusing themselves from subscribing to church funds as “they could not find accommodation in the Church. Members of vestry agreed to give up their seats and continue to pay pew rents as an annual subscription.” This led to a review of the policy of paying a pew rental and was endorsed in a letter on finance which was distributed in August 1890, stating “everyone is entitled to a free seat.”

Concern was expressed at the annual meeting later that same year that the schools would not find accommodation if seats were not reserved for them, and so a compromise was reached that “seats would be reserved for the Heretaunga School up to the commencement of the third bell, five minutes before the service.” It is little wonder that in the early 1900’s thoughts of enlarging the Mountfort building were voiced.

The first written records held at St. Matthew’s are of the Vestry meeting held on 19 April 1890 in the schoolroom. We know from records of the annual meeting of 15 August 1895 that Mr White had held the position of Verger since 1877 and Mr Scoles (or Scholes as sometimes written) was organist from 19 August 1877 to 2nd March 1879 when he resigned. Mr White was paid £5.10.0d.pa and assured St Luke’s Vestry that he held the promise of the Vicar, Rev. Marshall, that the crop of grass on Sections

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28 August 1890

Present – Rev. J. Hobbs, Chairman, Messrs C.A. FitzRoy, G. MacKilligin, C.H. Howard. E.R. Vickerman, A.M. Quillam, J. Tictmir, J.H. Williams, N.H.T. Galway and N. Beilby.

Minutes of meetings held on the 15th and 22nd August read and confirmed.

The following paraochial letter was read.

To the Parishioners of St. Matthew’s Church

At the commencement of a new financial year, the Vestry desire to lay before St. Matthew’s Congregation their financial position.

They do so for three reasons :—
Because such information should be given to those concerned.
Because subscribers usually become interested in that to which they subscribe, and they wish all to take an interest in their Church.
Because the necessary expenses of efficient working can only be met by unanimous effort.

Our position is this :—

1. We have Property, including Church-building, Parsonage, and School-house, with two acres freehold, valued at £3000. Upon this Property there lies a debt, consisting of loan on mortgage, bank overdraft, &c., of £2300.

To meet these liabilities, we have authority to realize upon some town sections, and gentlemen have taken investing shares in Building Societies for our benefit; so that we may hope the debt will reduce itself in eight years to about £600. In the meantime, we have interest to pay on the whole amount.

2. Our Annual Revenue, to meet interest and working expenses, must not be less than £500; that is, at the rate of £3 a family. Some give more, others cannot afford so much; but we may hope that most families can average at least a shilling a week.

Our Revenue is derived from four sources :—

SEAT-RENTS. – Which are charged at the rate of £1 a sitting. This year, however, we are trying the experiment of a Free and Open Church, which we expect to increase the attendance and revenue. Nearly all the seat-holders have consented to continue their payments, and to make a present of their seats to the congregation. Their kindness protects the Church from loss, but it is for others to prove the plan successful. Seat-holders may, should they prefer it, pay their rents by instalments.

SUBSCRIPTIONS. – By this means the Vestry hope to reach every helper. They anticipate no difficulty in organising a band of collectors, who will collect subscriptions half-yearly, quarterly, monthly, or even weekly, according as different subscribers may wish. And they think that such accumulation of small sums may become the mainstay of Church support, without pressing heavily upon the givers. All such subscriptions would be duly acknowledged.

THE ENVELOPE SYSTEM. – Has been found successful, and may advantageously be extended. Thirteen envelopes, bearing a number, are supplied to anyone who will promise that his Sunday offerings will average a certain sum. Then on Sunday he encloses his offering in an envelope, which he drops into the bag. At the end of the quarter he receives a fresh supply of envelopes, with a note telling him if he has any deficiency to make up. No one but the Churchwarden knows the amount of envelope contributions. Parents wishing to bring up their children to systematic giving, would do well to supply them also with envelopes
continued overleaf…

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28 August 1890

Present – Rev. J. Hobbs, Chairman, Messrs C.A. FitzRoy, G. MacKilligin, C.H. Howard. E.R. Vickerman, A.M. Quillam, J. Tictmir, J.H. Williams, N.H.T. Galway and N. Beilby.

Minutes of meetings held on the 15th and 22nd August read and confirmed.

The following paraochial letter was read.

THE OFFERTORY. – Is the name given to the collection of alms at the conclusion of worship, these alms being regulated entirely by the devotion of the worshippers. “They shall not appear before the Lord empty.”

So young and old, rich and poor, all have suitable opportunity of helping just according to their means and wishes; and everyone is welcome to a free seat at all our services. Let us all do our best that St. Matthew’s may have something to spare for good works or in further reduction of debt.

The Vestry are anxious that St. Matthew’s congregation should be united, not only in money support, but also in kindly feeling and sympathy. They think that a band of ladies, visiting from house to house, and especially finding out cases of sickness or want, will be welcomed, and able to do much good. They would like to ascertain how far such visitors would be appreciated.

In order to ascertain the wishes of the parishioners, this circular and a form of reply will be left at every house; which reply will be called for in a few days by a lady deputed by the Vestry, and commissioned to give any further information.

The Vestry will further be glad to receive from parishioners any suggestion that may tend to help forward the work of the Church. We wish to be a united band of Christians, promoting “Glory to God, and on earth Peace, Goodwill, among men,” under the Banner of the Church of England.

Signed on behalf of St. Matthew’s Vestry,


Hastings, H.B., August, 1890.

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77 and 78 should be his. Mr Scholes’ salary was £12pa

With the growing congregation, there were many calls on both funds and space: the same Minutes record that a harmonium was purchased for St, Matthew’s at a cost of £15.8.9d. Mr Brathwaite and Mr Bethel proposed that “the Vestry now residing at Hastings be authorized to hire a room there for the use of the Sunday School children on Sundays from August 1878.”

Later minutes show there had been some difficulty in securing the services of a Superintendent for the Sunday School of St. Matthew’s, and as a consequence, around 1879, the attendance had protracted.

Several Vestrymen had purchased shares in the Building Fund which were held at the Hastings and Napier Building Society. These shares were “to benefit the Church.” The Building Society was obviously a thriving concern in the 1890’s and it is tempting to delve into it’s history to find the When, Why and How. It seems this activity may have been developed to assist with funds for the building of the church, and for possible enlargement.

Interior furnishings were being purchased, kneeling pads and hymn books. The offertory for 1878 was £8.15.0d. Subscriptions were collected quarterly. St. Matthew’s and St. Luke’s paid each a half share of the Vicar’s stipend. Clive did not contribute towards this until Rev. McLean, appointed Curate at Havelock went to live there.

It was the custom in the 1890’s to have a floral cross on the altar at St. Matthew’s and the necessity for this was removed when the two Miss Edwards’ offered a brass cross which was accepted with thanks. Parishioners were saddened when this was stolen in the 1990’s. G. H. Roach was thanked for the handsome gift of an altar and a cupboard was provided to keep the altar panels in. A Faculty was applied for a tablet in memory of Capt. Russell and his two sons, and, also, a memorial to William Beilby, Layreader. The memorial tablet to Capt. Russell was later shifted to the concrete part of the church, and shifted again to it’s present place in the north transcept to make room for an additional later, Russell memorial.

A thriving choir featured early in the life of St. Matthew’s. In August 1890, clergy were asked to make the music as “congregational as possible, and not to use difficult chants,” but this was not carried. The dialogue between ‘traditional’ and modern’ still goes on.

Vestry Minutes, and Boyd’s (1984) history suggest there was considerable debate over the issue of which would be The Hastings Parish Church. A letter was received from Capt. Hamilton Russell offering on the part of

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Mrs. Russell, a Font to “Whatever may be ultimately the Parish Church of Hastings.” Rev. H. Woodford St. Hill replied conveying “the desire of the Vestry to Capt. Russell their sincere thanks for his offer on Mrs. Russell’s part of a Font.” (for the Hasting’s Parish Church). This confirms there were two church buildings at this time.

Mr Wellwood wrote to Rev. H. W. St. Hill in 1879 expressing his willingness to give over to the Synod the present site of St. Matthew’s Church Hastings on the corner of King Street and Lyndon Road. This was subsequently accepted and the wooden part of the present church completed in 1886.

The growing number of worshipers also put strains on the administrators so that in April that year, a resolution was passed recommending to parishioners of Havelock, “that an application be made to the Bishop of the Diocese to appoint a separate Church Officer to each of the congregations of St. Luke’s, Havelock; St. Matthew’s, Hastings; St. Mark’s, Clive in accordance with Clause b of Statute 6 of the Diocesan Statutes – and also that the Incumbent be requested to call a meeting of each of the abovenamed congregations and lay this resolution before them.”

“The answer of the Secretary of Standing Committee (in reply to the application of vestry on 29 July 1879, that the parish might be divided into three separate districts), informed Vestry that in accordance therewith the several congregations of St. Luke’s, Havelock; St. Mark’s, Clive; and St. Matthew’s, Hastings would elect their own Church Officers.”

Mr Tanner stated to the Havelock Vestry on 20 July 1880 that “in consequence of the late division of the premier parish of Havelock into three separate Districts, it had become necessary to make an adjustment of accounts for which he had not been prepared. He, therefore, asked for an adjournment of the meeting to Tuesday 27 September at 6.30pm.”

A concert held in Hastings netted £7.10.0d and a Fete £17.5.0d. The H. B. Trust donated £25 and “Friends of St. Matthew’s” £1.10.0d. These are the last details of St. Matthew’s accounts shown in St. Luke’s Minute books. The Sub-Districts being responsible for their own affairs from thereon. (fig. 3)

The Chairman, Rev. H. W. St. Hill told St. Luke’s parishioners at the annual general meeting of 1890 that he had “consulted with the new Curate, Rev. J. Hobbs regarding taking charge of the District of St. Matthew’s on his own responsibility for twelve months.” This necessarily involved Havelock and Clive falling under his care. The Hastings Vestry had undertaken the responsibility of providing the stipend for Mr Hobbs. The

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Vestry Meeting
Sunday Schoolroom Havelock
8 August 1893

Present Messrs R Brathwaite – H Cork – Grigg – Strickland & Lewis & Leigh
Canon St. Hill in the Chair.

After Prayers minutes of last meeting read & confirmed.

With reference to the acting of the Sub Committee appointed to decide on the best work of altering the boundaries of the Parish of Havelock for the purpose of forming a separate Parish of Hastings. The Chairman explained how the appointment of the Incumbent to the Parish of Taradale in the place of the Rev C.L Tuke left in for the present an open question if the new Incumbent would agree to give up the Meeanee portion of the Taradale Parish to form with Tomoana & Clive a new Sub District & it was evidenced better by the Sub Committee that no further steps should be taken until the opinion of the new Incumbent was ascertained.

The Chairman thanked the Vestry for their services during the past year.

8 August -93
H.W. St. Hill

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annual meeting of St. Matthew’s followed on 22 August when the Vicar and seventeen men were present. Lady District Visitors were approved for the collecting of subscriptions and the care of the sick and poor. By 1894 a motion that “a recommendation to the Diocesan Synod the desirability of offering the principle that women should be entitled to attend and vote at Parochial meetings” was passed. It wasn’t until 1897 that “This meeting affirms the principle of the right of women to vote at parish meetings” was put and carried. A copy of this Resolution was presented to the Diocesan Synod.

On the Agenda of the annual meeting of St. Luke’s parishioners on 7 August 1895 was the proposed erection of a new parish of Hastings. “It was noted this proposal had been made as far back as 1893 (fig.4) and it was now renewed, circumstances making it more advisable now than before. It was resolved therefore that the meeting consent to the separating of Hastings as a district parish.”

May 8 1893

To The Churchwardens & Vestry
St Luke’s Church Havelock


I am instructed by the Vestry of St Matthew’s Church Hastings to ask your opinion as to whether it is desirable to divide the Parish, and to suggest should you think so that you will consent to the appointment of the Rev Canon St Hill & the Rev J. Hobbs as a Sub Committee to draw up boundaries & to submit them to the approval of the various Vestries interested.

Yours faithfully

Geo. J. Roach
Hm. Sec. St Matthew’s Vestry

Copy of original letter to St Luke’s Havelock Vestry. 8 May 1893. (fig 4)

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A sub-committee was appointed by the Vestries of the Churches of St. Luke, St. Mark, and St. Matthew to define the alterations of the Boundaries of the Parish of Havelock for the purpose of describing the position of the Parish of Hastings. In their report of 1 June 1893, the sub committee recommended “the western boundary of the present Parish of Havelock be altered to a line running down Norton Road in the Borough of Hastings in a southerly direction till it strikes the boundary of the neighbouring parish of Waipawa, and running in a Northerly direction on the line of sections known as the ‘Hop Gardens’ until it reaches the bank of the old bed of the Ngaruroro river and continuing along the bank of that stream till it empties itself into the present Ngaruroro River.” A letter from Canon St. Hill in 1893 enclosed a copy of the subcommittee’s report regarding boundaries (fig.5), but recommended their findings ‘lie in abeyance for the present,’ and it wasn’t until 1895 he wrote a further letter recommending the separating of the Parishes of Hastings and Havelock North. So it was that St. Matthew’s began.

The Sub Committee recommended as follows

That the western boundary of the present Parish of Havelock be altered to a line running down Norton Road in the Borough of Hastings in a Southlery direction till it strikes the boundary of the neighbouring Parish of Waipawa & running in a northerly direction on the line of Sections known as the Hop Gardens till it reaches the bank of the old bed of the Ngaruroro River & continuing along the bank of that stream till it empties itself into the present Ngaruroro River.

Havelock N.

1st June 1893

H.N. St Hill
Sub Committee

Report by the Sub-committee of the boundaries, 1893. (fig 5)

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The idea of a Gift Auction was mooted in 1900 and congratulation followed, but no details are available. Intermittently, there have been ‘Thanksgiving’ days – two in 1934 as well as a Special Offertory for St. Mary’s Homes; 1935 for Hall rebuilding; 1936 to wipe out the overdraft; ‘Golden’ offering in 1946 to clear the debt on the hall; and Day of Giving in 1949, again to clear the overdraft. Over the years, 21 September, St. Matthew’s Day, has been called ‘Thanksgiving Day’ but this has not necessarily meant the offertory was specially earmarked for any particular venture, though this did sometimes occur. For example, the “Offertory’s collected on Ascension Day to be devoted to the choir fund” decided Vestry on 19 April I898. Miss Percy was acting organist and Mr E. D. Smith unpaid choirmaster. The Vicar proposed to substitute “Stainers” (sic) ‘Crucifixion’ in lieu of services during Lent in 1896. Mr Horace Hunt, Choirmaster, left in 1901 and was wished “prosperity to himself and his family wherever they settled.”

On the understanding that two sacred concerts each year be “got up; the proceeds to be allocated towards paying his salary, Mr Chadwick was offered the position, followed by Mr Fraser, a Vestryman, with the Misses Kelly appointed as organists in 1902. These sisters made several attempts to resign but each time were persuaded to continue. In 1907 a presentation was made in appreciation of their long service.” The choir was to meet half the cost of providing a cupboard in which to keep their books in church with Vestry meeting the balance. Expenditure exceeded income that year and as a result it was decided by Vestry that all salaries would be reduced by 10% for the current year.

Parishioners were invited to a social on 16 April 1902 to inform them of the state of the finances of the parish. Never-the-less, it was agreed that the services of a professional musician should be secured, and Mrs. Price was thanked for playing the harmonium occasionally. It was also agreed to purchase a “Connoisser” organ, the cost of which had been “raised some years ago and entrusted to the care of J.N. Williams who sent the amount and the accumulated interest at 7% to the Curate to defray the cost.” Two American organs had been Viewed, the “Connoisser” at £75 and the “Chapel” £50.

For some reason the “Connoisser” organ did not eventuate and in 1904 Mr Brooke-Taylor spoke in favour of procuring a new organ for the church and offered a donation. Three different organs suitable were one made in Napier £300. Norman and Beard of London £500, Hobday of Wellington £460. That by Hobday was approved but was not to be ordered until at least half it’s cost was on hand, and, further, the organ was not to be place in the Church until the balance of monies due was paid. The Vicar was to “respectfully organise a canvass of the whole Parish to raise a sum not

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exceeding £500 for the purchase of a pipe organ.” Any surplus was to go to purchase Building Society shares for the Church Enlargement Fund. On 12 November 1906 there was £153 in hand with £105 promised. An organ sub-committee asked to meet Mr Tustin, representative of Norman and Beard, London.

The Vicar suggested in this same year, a rearrangement of the sidesmen’s timetable to allow two members to be appointed for each Sunday evening service. Duties included turning down the gas lights after the Psalms, taking note of the number of persons present; requesting two gentlemen to assist them in taking up the collection at the end of the service; enquire names and addresses of new arrivals.

The position of Organist/Choirmaster was advertised. Applicants were to state the salary required when replying. Subsequently, Mr Percy Tombs was appointed from 1 April 1907 on part pay until an organ was erected.

A Special Meeting was called on 20 March 1907 when brothers-in-law J. N. Williams and William Nelson offered the parish ‘a free gift of a pipe organ to be built by Messrs. Norman and Beard of London, at a cost of £700′. This offer was made with the understanding that both Williams and Nelson were relieved of all further responsibility in connection with the enlargement of the Church Fund, and increase of current revenue. A hearty vote of thanks were recorded to Messrs. Williams and Nelson for their magnificent gift of a pipe organ.

The offertory taken at the organ ceremony was allotted to the Church debt. Accommodation was provided for the choir in the organ loft. Previously the choir occupied the front rows of the pews. A mezzanine floor had been built over the west door to house the organ. (fig.6) Careful inspection today reveals where this was.

Space in the body of the church was at a premium and an Enlargement Fund had been opened in 1904. A plan, and approximate estimates of the cost of additions in the same style, and in wood was laid before Vestry by Mr Mountfort in 1906. Vestry felt they needed to clear the debt they already had before extending the Church.

Meanwhile, Mr Tombs and the choir soon made a name for themselves, being successful at the Napier competitions in connection with the Carnival. St Matthew’s quartet parties were also congratulated on their recent success. In 1908 the choir were allocated the offertory taken at their Singing of the Passion. This was credited to the music fund.

An organ-blower was engaged in 1907 and less than a year since the organ was installed, Mr Tombs offered to give organ recitals for the purpose providing a new stop. Arrangements were made next time the

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Cathedral organ was tuned, for Mr Tustin to tune St. Matthew’s organ, and thereafter tuning to take place twice a year. J.N. Williams offered to provide the remaining stops to complete the organ in 1913 at a cost of £279.

Mr P.W. Tombs enjoyed using the organ until 1919 when he was made a more attractive offer to become organist at St. John’s Cathedral, Napier. The Processional Cross was given by P.W. Tombs in thankfulness for the restoration of his wife’s health after the birth of their first child.

The Vestry viewed with apprehension the possible introduction into town of Sunday evening entertainment in 1910 and requested the Vicar, in conjunction with the Ministers of other denominations to take such steps as may be deemed necessary to influence public opinion on

Photo caption – The original organ loft over the west door, With seating for choir. (fig. 6)

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the matter. John Hobbs, Vicar of St. Matthew’s presented a stern, immovable belief in the Sanctity of Sunday. It was widely known that he preached on street corners and in the town. Descendants of parishioners recall his visits to their homes, being diligent in this aspect of his priestly duties. He would never accept the offer of a cup of tea, saying “No, no, no, thank you,” and making his get-away shortly afterwards.

He had the welfare of the apprentice jockey’s very much at heart and in spite of some opposition, started a ‘Pastimes Club.’ With a loan from Capt. Russell he purchased a billiard table, which kept the Lad’s out of the Town Billiard Saloons, and away from strong drink. Some parishioners thought a billiard table to be an instrument of the Devil, but to Rev. Hobbs’ mind, it was the lesser of the two evils. Unfortunately, the Pastimes Club lapsed after a few years and the loan was repaid. His work amongst the apprentice jockey’s is remembered.

Mr Hobbs was granted twelve months leave of absence in 1904 to enable him to visit England to recuperate his health. In an effort to make life easier for him, a parish car was purchased. Donations were collected from the congregation to defray the expenses of the car. Universal regret was felt at the indisposition of the Vicar. Donations amounting to £300 were handed to him, not only from his parishioners, but also from a number of his friends outside his own Church. He left for England. By 1905 his health

Photo caption – Internal view of ‘Mountfort’ church before extensions built

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had improved sufficiently for him to accept temporary employment from the Society for the promotion of Christian Knowledge. (S.P.C.K.) in London which with Vestry approval, kept him there until January 1906.

The Vestry as a body met Mr Hobbs at the station on his return. A carriage provided to take him to his residence in great style. As soon as was convenient after Easter, a social was held to enable the congregation – and others – to personally welcome him home. The Rev Cockerill was thanked for his locum tenens for the last fourteen months.

Mr Hobbs’ health was a cause of concern thereafter, being granted leave of a month at various intervals. Finally, in 1910 the following entry is copied into the minute book:

The Vicarage, Hastings
April 18th 1910

To the Churchwardens
St Matthew’s Parish


May I be allowed to leave in your hands the difference which exists between the Vestry and myself; and in doing so to withdraw all correspondence on the subject leaving you free to act as you think for the best. Hoping that you kindly consent to do so.
Yours faithfully, signed J.J. Hobbs

After a full discussion on the question it was moved by Mr Williams, seconded Mr Smith that the Vicar’s request be agreed. Having placed his resignation as Vicar of St Matthew’s Parish in the hands of the Bishop, the two Churchwardens were appointed to lay before his Lordship at the earliest opportunity the views of the Vestry on this subject. An entry on 2 May notes agreement to the Vicar’s request that the question of his resignation be suspended until after forthcoming Parish Mission.

Vestry undertook to initiate subscription lists and collect funds for the purpose of making a suitable presentation to the Vicar on his severing his connections with St Matthew’s parish.

We do not know for what reason the Vicar felt compelled to resign.

The Choir was asked to organise some entertainment in 1913, the proceeds to be devoted towards the cost of the electric light installation in the Church.

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In spite of concerns with finance, a certain amount of outreach was evidenced even in early times. Half the offertory of Whitsunday services was given to the Hospital in 1891, and a Benevolent Fund for distribution by the Vicar in cases of need was already established, but Vestry were reluctant to relinguish [relinquish] the sole distribution to the clergy and asked to be informed of disbursements. They kept a very tight reign [rein] on cash, but made gifts to Makotuku Church of the matting which had been replaced in church, and an altar cloth was given to Ormondville Church in 1890. Makotuku Church was later transported to a new site having served it’s purpose where it was. No other details are available.

In 1893 the Fire Brigade were invited to attend a service in St. Matthew’s, the offertory taken was, again, given to the hospital.

It has been the practice for Corporate bodies to meet for services in St. Matthew’s from time to time. The Rotarians, Red Cross Society, St. John’s Ambulance, Lodges, Borough and City Councils to name a few, have been welcomed to join the congregation of St. Matthew’s over the period of one hundred years.

Photo caption – ‘Mountfort’ Church taken from Eastbourne Street West.

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A Floral Festival was held in 1897, the perfect time and place for social gathering of Anglican families. It was a highly successful occasion. This was the second Floral Festival to be held and we can only guess at the date of the very first one. Through the years, other flower shows and Festivals have been held, one in 1946, 1984 followed by 1988 and this latest, to mark the Centenary.

To set the scene for this 100 year journey is the record that “accommodation for bicycles in the church paddock” was arranged in 1899. In 1911 the erection of a bike stand took place, and in 1935 it was relocated. church family donated a galvanized bike stand to hold five bikes in 1987. This has since been shifted and at the time of writing was found to rest in the school yard.

Also fascinating are the records of a Triumph motorbike being purchased for the Vicar’s use in 1912, and in 1916, a car being provided, and running costs paid, although vestry required a quarterly statement from the Vicar as to its use, repairs and upkeep. The motorcycle was sold in 1918 having been lent to a parishioner by the Vicar for two years. A five seater Chevrolet was purchased new in 1923 and replaced in 1929 when Chrysler Plymouth was purchased for £298. A hard bargain was struck with this car as it was slightly more money than had been allocated, and feelings of pride were dented somewhat when the Vicar tried to put it away, as the motor shed was too small and some hurried carpentry was needed to accommodate it. Capt. Sutcliffe was given an allowance for his pushbike when he arrived to work in the parish in 1939 and a new bicycle purchased for the Curate’s use in 1952. Very sensibly, car allowances were instituted thereafter.

Meanwhile arrangements for the church to be enlarged continued. As early as 1911 a Building sub-committee had been formed with the objective of leading the parish towards enlarging the church. Even earlier, in 1905, the Vicar and Churchwardens were instructed to get a competent opinion on the probable cost of “finishing either the whole, or part of the Church as designed by Mountfort of Christchurch.” This building would have been in wood. In fairness, Vestry wished to have other Architects outline their ideas before making a decision. A popular method in the early 1900’s was to hold a competition. Designs for Government House in Auckland, and buildings for Auckland University had been chosen by this method in 1853 on, but it does not appear this option was discussed.

Three unnamed Architects were invited to present their designs for appraisal. Mr F. de J. Clere being invited to come to the site and obtain his data in 1912. Among the many options discussed was the moving of the church, but Mr de J. Clere presented a sketch plan for an extension in

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ferro-concrete, a relatively new method of building. The design, which was the one finally chosen by the Vestry was what a local newspaper cutting of the time (source unknown) described as in “Modem perpendicular Gothic.”

Dr. Tosswill and Mr F. Tucker were elected to the Building Committee. Thus began a most advantageous attachment between St. Matthew’s and Mr Tucker who proved to be a very valuable member of Vestry for a number of years, being able to fix most things, and if not, then he knew someone who could. Mr Tucker built his own house in Lascelles Street which at the time of writing was still occupied by two of his daughters both members of St. Matthew’s Church. Mr Tucker died a week before the 1931 earthquake after a short illness.

Those who remember Mr Tucker noted that he always wore his Church of England Men’s Society, (C.E.M S) medal on his watch chain, and a rose in his buttonhole, grown in his conservatory. His daughter Lucy, took a rose to Mr Vyner each Sunday also. This rose was still quite healthy at the time of writing, having been transplanted into the garden.

Tenders were called and these sent to Mr de J. Clere for his opinion. The successful tender being that of J. C. Monk. £5250. Mr Wellwood offered an unlimited quantity of shingle from his works, free of charge for the building.

Photo caption – ‘Mountfort’ Church taken from Lyndon Road/King Street corner

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The Architect is very specific regarding the joining of the two buildings, wood and concrete. Much care was taken to ensure the building would be watertight. As can be seen from the following chapters, this was not so; probably due to the building settling and the extremes of heat and cold experienced in Hastings.

The Foundation stone for the new portion of the church was laid by the Rt. Reverend Dr. Averill, Lord Bishop of Waiapu on 28 January 1914 and was opened on 7 February 1915. A social was arranged for the following Monday evening with Vestry wives arranging entertainment.

Messrs. Norman and Beard moved the organ while building was carried out and Mr Henry the caretaker was given double wages for the additional work entailed while extensions were in progress.

While much attention focused on the additions to St. Matthew’s the Vicarage was also replaced. Mr W. Sellitt, was the Architect who designed the Sunday school building and also the second Vicarage in 1897. The original Vicarage was sold at Public Auction for £35 and purchased b Rev. J. J. Hobbs who returned it to the Vestry when he resigned.

A telephone was installed at the Vicarage in 1910, and town water laid on about this time also. Much excitement appears to have taken place when the original copper was replaced by a washing machine. At a later date, the old wash house and outside ‘facilities’ were also replaced and a motorshed built facing King Street.

Dry rot was discovered in the ventilators above the doors in church in 1910 and zinc ones were fitted by Mr Tucker. By 1914 the tiles on the original church were wearing badly and work was completed on the spouting and flashings in conjunction with the building of the extension. It remained for the site to be cleared and beautified. Attention was given to the furnishing of the new Sanctuary, Lady Chapel and Choir stalls. The Vestry Minutes record thanks to the donors of kneelers, a Litany desk and the oak reredos above the altar, and below the Te Deum window. This reredos was given to St. Matthew’s by George Beamish in memory of his parents, Elizabeth and Nathaniel Beamish, and was carved by Bridgeman’s of Lichfield, England. It is a copy of one at Lichfield Theological College and is taken from Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper.’

The first recording of many, of condolences offered to families on the death of a son or father, who had given his life for his country was recorded in July 1916. The matter of a suitable memorial for those members of the Church who had given their lives was discussed. A parishioner questioned whether “in view of the present financial position of the Church, it, was expedient to make any demand for a war memorial at this time.”

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However, the majority decided it was fitting to erect a war memorial to the members of the Congregation killed in the war with Germany. The offertory on “Peace” Sunday – probably November 11th, was used to augment the War Memorial Fund.

Several suggestions on the form the memorial should take were put forward, and finally it was decided a Cairn would be fitting. The Borough Council donated the stone. William Rush prepared a plan to scale but the completed Cairn was the subject of some protracted discussion and at a special meeting, twenty four Parishioners expressed dissatisfaction and wished the Cairn to be altered. It was found to have been built larger than the plan specified, and to have had alterations made to it not agreed to. Having made their feelings known, the matter was quietly laid to rest. It was found in 1921 that there was a deficiency in the Cairn Memorial Fund and Vestrymen were asked to clear this off: twenty five shillings was levied to each Vestry member and paid out of their pockets “there and then”.

The Monument was unveiled on Armistice Day 11 November 1922.

It was recommended the Cairn should be covered with an evergreen creeper, and the surrounding area graded and covered with limestone sand. A low curb was erected on the street frontage. The vases were to be covered with a concrete slab when not in use.


The window in the new Sanctuary was given in memory of James Nelson Williams, and his wife Mary, of Frimley, Hastings. (fig.7) The unveiling ceremony took place on 30 March 1919. Known as the Te Deum window. the subject is ‘Our Lord in Glory’ and depicts the ideas of the Te Deum. In the small panels at the top of the window, the Cherubins and Seraphins are represented singing “Holy Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth” in the central panel ‘The Christ’. This, of course, is refulgent with light; the gold colouring of Christ’s robes reflecting the light on “Saints and Martyrs” in the panels on either side.

The two outer panels depict twelve Prophets and the Twelve Apostles. The Prophets have each some symbol peculiar to themselves, as have several of the Apostles. At the top of the four outer panels are depicted the four Archangels – Uriel, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael – whilst at the base of these. the three elements of Fire, Earth and Water are represented. The fourth element of Air being near the top of the window.

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At the bottom of the central window the Church is depicted in a ship sailing on the waters, with the Rainbow of Promise overarching it. All these details have to be seen to be realized.

The artist, Mr I. Bonner of London took into account the bright sunshine in Hastings and deliberately made most of the glass of a deeper and darker shade than is usual. The work was executed in his studio in London.

Mr Ernest Vogtherr indicated he would like to donate a window for the south transcept in August 1961. Messrs. Whitefriars, England, submitted a selection of designs which included ‘The Light of the World’ and in September 1963 an order was placed with their New Zealand Agents, Messrs. W. G. Douglas and Son. Mr Vogtherr was very pleased with the design and a Faculty and Import licence were applied for. The Archbishop dedicated the window at morning service on 15 November 1964.

The central panel depicts the Saviour as the ‘Light of the World’ On the left are the figures of Isaiah and John the Baptist, and on the right are St. John the Evangelist and St. Paul.

The Agents were interested to know what the reaction of parishioners had been to the workmanship, and were told this was excellent and the artist was to be commended.

Photo caption – Te Deum stained glass window. (fig. 7) (Photographer: Marion Dent)

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The Wardens suggested a suitable plate be placed under the window, and in true Ernest style were told he wanted no lengthy inscription. He did however agree to “To the Glory of God and in grateful thanks, Doris & Ernest Vogtherr and family.”

In the north transcept is a window donated by H. W. C. Baird and dedicated to the memory of Frederick Augustus Bennett, Bishop of Aotearoa, who had a long association with St. Matthew’s.

Bishop Bennett’s death is recorded in September 1950. A Memorial service was held in both Hastings, and Napier. It was decided a suitable Memorial would be a stained glass window and Hugh W. C. Baird wished to pay for this. No details of the designer are given in the archives, though it is believed to be designed by Philip Cole, and executed by John Hall Ltd, England.

The dedication chosen: “This window was given in memory of Frederick Augustus Bennett by H. W. C. Baird 1882-1959, who loved this church and served it faithfully for over 50 years.” The window and Vicarage (present school building) were Blessed on 30 July 1961.

Relatives of a parishioner, Margaret Candy replaced one stained glass window in the Lady Chapel in 1931; two others were replaced as memorials to former Priests, and it is believed the remaining two were given by Harold Russell in memory of his mother, Lady Harriette Russell.

Designed by Mr Moore of Whitefriars Studios, London, England, the window shows St. Francis preaching to the birds and receiving the Stigmata, represented by rays of light from the Angel above. Behind the figure is a representation of the Monastery at Assisi, and at the base of the window is the Crown of Thorns. The centre lights were paid for by donations received from parishioners and friends of Canon Button.

August 1989 was a special celebration for the Vogtherr family, whose business, The Hastings Bacon Company had been continuously trading for seventy five years. To mark this occasion, they wished to complete the Canon Button Memorial window. Mrs. Hilda Button was consulted on the proposal, and she was happy for the Vogtherr family to do so. The Miller Studios Dunedin were commissioned to complete this window from the original plan by Whitefriars, London, who were no longer in business. The window was installed by J. C. Mackersey and dedicated on 6 December.

In 1917 a vehicle track was constructed from the gate in Eastbourne Street to the church. The front fence between the hall and the Vicarage was repaired and made good. Apparently this was a low picket fence.

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Disappointingly, in 1917 enquiries were being made as to the various methods of preventing leaks in concrete buildings.

The structure would have looked stark and unlovely with the inevitable debris left when new buildings are completed, and this may have been the reason why Virginia creeper was set to soften the exterior. This was often referred to as (Boston) ivy in the minutes. It proved to be an expensive decision. The outer fabric disappeared under a thick growth. Aesthetically, it was beautiful. The red autumn colours; the patterns in the winter when leaves had fallen. However, the vines encroached on the windows, and even the roof and spouting. Men were kept busy cutting back and carting vegetation away by the truck load (fig.8).

In 1917 “Mr de J. Clere was asked his opinion as to whether he felt the tower was strong enough to stand the strain of the ringing of a peal of bells erected therein, to which he replied that in his opinion it was.” The bells, though, did not eventuate as the price escalated from £500 to £2500 within four years, and it was found to be prohibitive. St. Matthew’s did have a single bell which was rung at midday by a bellringer and, of course, before services, for five pounds a year. This job was combined with that of organ blower, and sometimes, caretaker. J.N. Williams paid for the grounds to be kept tidy for many years after which Dr. Tosswill generously kept up the payments to cover expenses of the gardener/groundsman.

Mrs. Tosswill and her husband took a trip to “the Old Country” in 1917, and was asked to purchase two sets of altar linen “provided she can get

Photo caption – Church covered in Virginia creeper (fig. 8) (Photographer: Chris Beall)

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them suitable. and at what she considers a suitable price.” The Girl’s Friendly Society (G. F. S.) donated a beautiful pulpit, a copy of that in Eton College Chapel, carved by J. Linley Ellis, Wellington. A hearty vote of thanks and the appreciation of Vestry was conveyed to members of the G. F. S.

J. Linley Ellis was also engaged to carve “certain church furniture“ in 1915. As well as the pulpit, he carved the choir stalls now to be found at the back of the main centre seating, and also the Sanctuary rails according to newspaper articles (source unknown).

The Girls‘ Friendly Society wished to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of their Society in the parish in 1971 and presented the Church with a beaufully carved oak Priest’s chair, the work of A. H. Pope, who also carved the extensions to the choir stalls when these were extended to accommodate the boy’s choir. A second identical chair was gifted to the Parish by Miss Pope on her death in 1988.

The acoustics of the building were questioned in 1918 and spasmodically over the next sixty five years. Much time and energy was employed in ‘correcting’ this until in 1986 Vestry were advised by the Architect, Len Hoogerbrug that there is a two second delay which is very good for both music and speech, confirmed, also in that year by the H. B. Choral Society and Youth Orchestra who wrote thanking Vestry for the use of the church for a concert and stating it was an ideal venue for their purposes.

The matter of heating the building satisfactorily was discussed at length in 1917. The heating arrangements at St Matthew‘s in Dunedin were investigated by the Vicar while on holiday in the South Island. The Napier Gas Company set up a radiator in the hall as an experiment. We do not know what type of heating was decided upon, but it was gas powered. In 1921 the church heating was lighted on Saturday night for four consecutive Sundays, the meter was read before and after and a record kept. The total gas consumed at this trial was twenty eight shillings worth per weekend.

An anonymous donor gave twelve months supply of Sacramental wine. The organ was re-erected in the Sanctuary with the choir stalls, enabling the body of the church to be re-organised with two aisles. Chairs only were used. The Baptistry was firstly placed in the north transcept by the Lady Chapel which was open to the main church at this time.

The south porch was used to enter and exit as well as the west door. It was a time of great celebration that this extension which was the result of a tremendous amount of fundraising and inconvenience was at last ready to enjoy. The choir, clergy and people benefited enormously from the space they now had.

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In 1918 the “Chapel” organ was loaned to St. Augustines, Napier while a pipe organ was being procured and erected there.

Mr Spinney, the Organist/Choirmaster who arrived from England in 1923, after vestry had held the position open for him for two years, was anxious to form a Boy’s choir. A sub-committee was authorised to bring down a scheme for providing them with accommodation.

The Vestry at the time required some convincing that the extra expenditure for the additions to the choir seating was a worthwhile cost. F. L. Tucker, a member of Vestry, knew the value of boy’s voices in a choir and helped to sway any opposition from other members of Vestry.

A parishioner wished to donate a pair of altar candlesticks in 1925, so a special meeting of parishioners was called to ask if these were to be accepted. After some discussion it was agreed they be accepted and may be used.


A copy of the plans for the Mountfort Church are preserved at the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. The original plans are stored in a safe place locally according to the Minutes, but these have not been found at the time of writing. The following are from the specifications draw up by F. de J. Clere for the extensions of 1914/1915.

“The Chapel and interior of the church were to have tinted dado, 4’6″ from the floors, finished in Portland cement, worked perfectly smooth to which 2lbs of lamp black (1/- per lb) powder to 1 bag of cement evenly mixed with it to obtain an even tint. The tops of all parapets were to slope slightly inwards so that the water from them would not stain the outside walls.

The new flat roofs were to be flat and to be formed of reinforced concrete on the whale back system with falls to shallow channels leading to the drains in the piers. These roofs were to be covered with Limmer of Neuchatel asphalte [asphalt] finishing at least 1” thickness and laid as directed. This asphalte was to be carried fully nine inches high up the parapet wall and “tucked” into the concrete far enough to ensure the whole being absolutely watertight irrespective of plastering. The asphalte also to be carried well into the drain pipes that take the rain water to ground.

In certain columns where shown, the very best quality stoneware drainpipes, jointed in cement mortar were so placed to take the water off the roof. The inlet from roofs to run into right angled junctions (sic) pipes but the outlets at feet to have bends as shown. The top pipes, were to

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continue up to the air and there plugged with a stoneware or cement (moulded for the purpose and left moveable) stopper. The part projecting at the foot to be cut and ground to a smooth surface. The asphalte of the roof to pass well into the inlet, and the whole to be made and left permanently watertight. ”

A serious crack in the concrete in 1920 was examined by Mr Monk. The following was found: “The centre portion of the arch has had a strain, sufficient to transmit a portion of strain to the reinforcing rods, causing tension strain. The concrete immediately surrounding the bottom tension rods has been forced away slightly from the rods and shows a surface fracture on the bottom portion of the arch. This may, at any time, detach itself from the rest of the concrete and fall. The remedy is to remove this portion, have wire passed round the reinforcing rods and netting fixed to these. Concreted and plastered to make good.” Work was carried out immediately.

Painting of the Vicarage was deferred because it appeared a considerable sum would be required to remedy the leaks in the church roof. The Vicar having shown Mr Mason Chambers the roof and the junction between the old and new part of the church, it was suggested Mr de J. Clere be consulted. In 1923, and at his suggestion J. W. C. Monk the builder was invited to inspect the cracks in the concrete. On his recommendation the plaster facing was chipped back to solid concrete and replaced and made good, this necessitated erecting a scaffold.

Leaks occurred in 1924 when there was a very bad storm. Drastic action followed when estimates for covering the Chapel, north transcept

Photo caption – St. Matthew’s F. de J. Clere design

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and Chancel in low rolled iron were discussed. The pillar at the corner of the Chapel and north side of the Chancel was also discussed, but it is not clear what the trouble was with these. No decision seems to have been made on the re roofing, as, in 1925. Mr Tucker asked the Clerk of Works for the Public Trust office, MrJackson, to give his opinion, which was cover with bitumen or asphalt. It was his suggestion to wait until the Public Trust building was being done, when he would reconsider the matter: Mr C. Bone had some time previously estimated to do this work which he would guarantee for 10 years at a cost of £80. No action was taken.

The company who carried out the bitumen treatment originally had left Hastings. Estimates for an iron roof on the new portion were, therefore, sought. In the opinion of two plumbers, covering with iron would be unsatisfactory as trouble would occur with the flashing. They each recommended bitumen.

Mr Tucker was authorised to experiment with various solutions on the roof over the choir stalls. In the meantime, Vestry inspected the roof which had recently been put down over the National Bank.

Finally, the contract was let for the roof but does not state what had been decided, nor the treatment.

Once again, in 1928, water had been coming in the tower badly after the last rain. Mr Curd was asked to chip off the plastic on the tower and seal all four sides before the roof was repaired. It is not clear whether this work had been done in 1923 on Mr Monk’s recommendation, but it appears it may not have been.

H. G. Davis, Architect was asked to prepare plans and call for tenders to have the church re-roofed with iron. Mr Davis generously donated plans and supervision fee normally charged.

Disappointment was again recorded in the Minutes of 1929 when rain came through some very small cracks which Mr Monk filled up. Success at last until at 10.47 a.m. an earthquake measuring 7.5 struck Hawkes Bay. Both Napier and Hastings were devastated.

A Meeting of St. Matthew’s Vestry, was held on the Vicarage lawn February l8 at 5.00 pm when the Vicar took the chair. Dr. Tosswill, Messrs Bark, Stamp, Des Forges, Foster Brook, Barton, Hobbs, Hallet, Harper, Smith, and also Rev. Speight, H. Holderness and H. de Denne, met to review matters. Condolences were offered to Rev. J. Hobbs on the death his wife and with Mrs. Tucker and family on the death of Mr Tucker – these were carried in silence, all present standing as a mark of respect.

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It was noted Archdeacon McLean had donated ₤10 towards stipends in alleviation of same. A vote of condolence “to the relatives of all those whose lives were lost in the earthquake disaster, was carried in silence.”

The Vicar arranged to hold services at 8.00am and 11.00am on Sundays and a combined service would be held in the Park at 3. 00pm.

His Grace, Archbishop Averill arrived and was welcomed by the Vicar. His Lordship mentioned how pleased he was to meet the members of Vestry and that he had come “straight from Synod to express his sympathy in the recent earthquake disaster in this part of the diocese. He expressed a special love of this diocese having been the first Bishop consecrated in the Cathedral, and noted he had also taken part in the consecration of three other Bishops here. He had arranged for the Hukarere Maori Girls to be taken to Auckland where they could carry on in a home which was not now in use. The Maori boys would still be able to carry on in an older part of Te Aute College for the present. Three clergy had been sent by Synod to relieve the overworked clergy in the district. He intended to make an appeal to the church throughout New Zealand for help for the diocese. The Archbishop concluded with words of hope and encouragement, as well as expressions of sympathy from the whole church throughout New Zealand.

Mr Hallet, on behalf of Vestry thanked His Grace for his sympathy and his early visit to the scene of the disaster, which would give great encouragement for the future.

Photo caption – Repairs to Tower after Earthquake in 1931

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It was decided to try and obtain a large marquee for the purpose of holding services initially but “to bespeak the Drill Hall” to hold services in later.

The repairs to the Vicarage were held over pending the Architects report. The Vicar was empowered to get the chimney (which was considered dangerous) dismantled as soon as possible, and to ensure that the wash house chimney be made so that it could be used.

As the Church was unsafe for services, Mr Spinney, the organist was notified of the termination of his services in three months time, and further, if the Vestry were able to engage his services at a later date when the church was again used, he would have consideration.

Mr Hallet moved, seconded by Mr Des Forges, that it be a recommendation from the Vestry to the Standing Committee to take the necessary steps to have part of the tower removed which was considered dangerous by the Architect.

At a special meeting held on 19 March 1931 in the Vicarage, the following resolution was carried “The Vicar and Vestry of All Saints, Ponsonby to be thanked for their valuable help, to the church people of Hastings, Archdeacon Gavin and people of Waitara Parish (New Plymouth) the Vicar and Vestry of Fairlie, to be thanked as above; the Bishop of Christchurch and church people of Christchurch diocese, thanks and appreciation of the Vicar and church people of Hastings for their kind generosity in offering traveling expenses and hospitality to the Vicar and Rev. B. Speight; to the Archbishop of New Zealand for his visit to the Vestry meeting, and the Parish of Hastings on February 18th and his sympathetic promise of help from the Province of the Church of New Zealand.”

An application was made to the Public Works Department for a Certificate of Condemnation, and the Churchwardens authorised to sign the necessary application to the Borough Council to assist in the demolition of the top portion of the tower. Mr Monk was appointed supervisor of the said work and authorised to do the necessary work in erecting such such scaffolding as required, preparatory to the demolition of the tower.

The Borough Council were asked to inspect the church hall as soon possible and to issue a Certificate, and in the event of it having to be demolished, the Wardens were empowered to make the necessary application.

The Vicar‘s action was approved in granting the use of a room in the schoolroom to the District Nursing Association for the purpose of storing supplies.

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Placed on record is Vestry’s regret at the loss of T. H. Gill, for many years Vestryman, and Churchwarden of the parish, and appreciation of the work done by him for the parish of St Matthew was expressed. A copy of the resolution with a letter of sympathy was sent to his widow. As a mark of respect, this resolution was carried in silence, all standing.

The spoil from either demolished buildings was not to be carted away tor the present, some of it being used as back-fill and to stabilise the ground before paths were re-laid and gardens resited.

A letter of sympathy was sent to the Very Reverend Dean Brocklehurst, expressing sorrow with him in the severe injury he received during the earthquake. as well as at the loss of all his possessions, and that Vestry were pleased to know that he was now on the road to recovery.

Other decisions of interest are that the Vicar and Curate received only ten pounds for the months of February and March, and when the diocese were eventually able to pay two thirds of their stipend, both immediately offered to take a 10% reduction. Mr Spinney also gave back his fee and, in view of the disaster, relieved Vestry from its contract with him, and waived his termination of employment of six months notice. He was, eventually re-employed by the parish as previously, but played for services without fee for some time. He was allowed a room and use of a piano in the hall for his pupils free of charge in view of his generosity

Vestry met every second week during this difficult time, no doubt matters other than church affairs exercised their minds. Records are, understandably, minimal.

The diocesan Architect, Gunner and Ford made an assessment for insurance purposes. Those things which could be repaired were done so the Vicarage was made habitable. The hall, which had a mezzanine floor, was boarded with corrugated iron which was left in this temporary state until the Borough Council gave two years notice in 1933 that the hall was to be rebuilt or restored.

Mr Davis, St. Matthew’s Architect, and J. W. C. Monk the builder gave valuable help, not always charged for, and Vestry were very appreciative of their feeling for, and care of, the church buildings.

A Special Appeal was made for funds, five hundred envelopes being purchased for the purpose,

Services in church resumed in the middle of April.

Mr H. G. Davis, Architect attended a Vestry meeting and showed plans of the proposed restoration of the church and tower, estimated cost £1750. Work was begun early in January 1932

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A special meeting held at 4. 30pm on Wednesday 10 February 1935 authorised the reconstruction of the roof of the church between the four pillars, and agreed to the ‘crossover’ being paneled with ‘Celotex ‘. In the following April, Vestry adjourned to the church to inspect progress being made in the restoration work. Surprisingly, in 1936 it is recorded that it was very much feared the church would have to be re-roofed. Architect Mr Davis and Mr Abbott from Napier inspected the roof for leaks. Bitumastic was put on in 1938. The old iron off the church roof was sold at the sale rooms for forty five shillings

A leak occurred over the Children’s Corner in 1940, more leaks in 1943 and in 1944 Vestry was told there was not a water pipe, nor bit of spouting that was not choked up with leaves and debris. Investigation of leaks continued and regular cleaning of spouting and gutters maintained. Regular property inspections were instigated, two Vestrymen being responsible for drawing attention to small repairs and renovations as required. An inspection in 1946 found the portion of roof at the join of the concrete and wooden portions were in a very bad state. Check holes were made in the roof of the church for the convenience of repairs in 1947 and three years later heavy rains caused very bad leaks. Numerous people inspected the roof and gave their opinion as to a cure. In 1955 it was decided the principle difficulty lay in the differences in the expansion and contraction of the old and new portions of the building,

Mr Mackersey inspected all church property in 1957 and gave a very full report which found that extensive repairs to the church building were needed. He suggested a scheme to build a new vicarage in 1959 as this too was in a poor condition and needed massive work done to restore it.

In particular it was the wooden portion of the Church which was in need of repairs. The tiles were covered in moss. Decorative timber ridging and cover boards needed to be removed. It was recommended that the roof be replaced with corrugated iron without delay. Although there is no evidence of the exact time, this may be when the dormer windows a feature of the original Church, were removed, and the appearance of the roof was changed. Birds had found a comfortable resting place within the dormer windows and the netting to keep them out had to be replaced regularly. The decision to re-roof, was not popular, the thinking being that as the Church was ‘old’ it would have to be totally replaced in the coming few years. We are lucky it was later decided to preserve the old building.

Debate on replacing the tiles with corrugated iron took place. Some favoured replacing the tiles, but Mr Fish, Borough Engineer, and a loyal and hard working member of St. Matthew’s Vestry over a long period, said that, as the work would be of a temporary nature only, due to the age of

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that portion of the Church, he did not consider the additional expense of tiles warranted. Re-roofing was nearly completed in November 1957 when a serious crack in the masonry rendered further urgent repairs necessary.

Parishioners were divided on the question of restore or rebuild in 1964. There were those who felt provision should be made for the rebuilding of the Church, and others who thought the primary objective should be the repairing and preserving of the present building. Vestry was hesitant to accept any proposals that called for altering the appearance of the Church.

One of the biggest casualties of the earthquake was the font. Originally given by the Russell family in memory of a loved infant daughter, it was apparently in a sorry state. A report of it’s condition was sent to General Russell at his request in 1932. By 1935 the rather basic arrangement for Baptisms, of a bowl standing on a timber frame was becoming irksome to the Vicar and on several occasions he mentioned the need for a replacement in the hope someone might present one to the Church.

In 1949 designs were looked at for a replacement font. It had to be moveable. As well as design, the material to be used was given a lot of thought, finally, deciding on oak to match the other furniture. The Russell family generously sent another substantial donation, one of many for this purpose, and approved the design finally chosen. An order was placed with Bridgeman of Lichfield, England. Incorporated in the carving is a bee. This insignia is repeated in all the Work which came from Bridgeman & Sons, Lichfield, England. It was thus selected as the Logo for the Centennial celebrations in 1995.

Seating in the Baptistry was more suitably arranged. Different arrangements of church seating were also tried, and both sides of the west end of the church were rearranged several times until the majority of parishioners were comfortable with the seating plans.

It was felt the Baptistry would be better sited in the north transcept near the Lady Chapel, but when a Faculty (a dispensation or license from the diocese) was applied for, this was not agreed to so the north west side was chosen for the Bapistry and remained so until in the 1980’s when it was again decided to try placing the font nearer the Sanctuary, the south transcept being the favoured position, with the font being moved to the centre when required for Baptisms.

The original Baptistry had seats paid for by the Vicar Mr Hobbs from a fund he accumulated from the offertories of Easter Day which, by tradition, were given to the Incumbent for his personal use. These, also, were made by Bridgeman, Lichfield. When the decision was made to have the Baptistry in the north west, these seats were complemented by pews made by Hortops of Havelock North, and paid for by a parishioner.

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When Mr Tombs took up his position as organist at the Cathedral in Napier, advertisements were placed locally and in Australia and England for an organist/choirmaster. Mr Spinney from England wrote showing interest and it was agreed that the Vicar’s father would contact him. In due course, Mr Spinney was interviewed by Mr Hall senior, who reported that Mr Spinney was determined to sit his Licentiate of the Royal Academy Music (L. R. A. M.) and it would therefore be six months before he could present himself. Vestry were agreeable to wait in the meantime, but 1922 Mr Spinney cabled that he had gained only a partial pass and was not able to re-sit until the September following. Success in this examination and in March 1923 he sailed for his new life in New Zealand. This began a long and happy association with St Matthew’s. Six years after he settled in Hastings, Mr Spinney was congratulated on his marriage though unfortunately this brief statement is all the information there is, and we do not know whether the lucky lady was a local lass or one from England.

In 1925 Mr Spinney wanted the boy choristers to sit in the Chancel. It was suggested the difficulties in accommodation might be overcome by enlarging the existing seats instead of adding new ones. Mr Tucker undertook this work. Mr Pope completing the carving.

The choir stalls were brought forward about eight feet. Hortops made four paneled screens which were placed at the back of the church to act as sounding boards for the music, and to improve the acoustics of the building. The floors were wood, varnished, with coco matting in the aisle later replaced by carpet runners. The Women’s Guild held sales of work and made a substantial donation towards the cost of carpeting the Sanctuary.

On Mr Spinney’s arrival, the organ was found to be in a bad state of repair and getting worse. It required immediate repairs as well as cleaning. In 1924 the blowing apparatus was found to be in an unsatisfactory condition with a reduction in water pressure possibly resulting from a blocked water pipe. The Turncock, and Borough Engineer were asked see to the trouble. Again, in 1929, the organ was described as being in poor state and the tuner was written to in the strongest possible manner regarding repairs. Six organ recitals were given during that year. As well, Mr Spinney had several pupils who were allowed to use the organ without being charged for water, the blower being water-powered, but strangers were charged one shilling per hour.

After the earthquake the organ was put back into condition so that no further damage resulted, and periodically repairs were carried out and worn parts to the blower replaced. The Borough Council assessed the

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water used by the organ at £12 per annum. The Vestry thought this was too much, and a reduction was applied for, though this was refused.

Mr W. Tucker recalls the boys choir was in recess after the earthquake and so a completely new group of boys met in the Church hall on King George V’s birthday, June 3rd 1932, to form the Boys Choir. Besides Bill, there were Sid and Len Charlton, Frank Peach, Cedric Thomas, Jack Grant, Les Walden, Jack Carrell, Sam Tong, Bob Masters, Trevor Roach, John Mortimer-Jones, Dick and Phil Colello and Dick Burton. Most were aged 8 – 10 years except Dickie Burton who was much younger and used a hymn book with large print. Eventually the boys learned to sing as a group and whilst only twelve could sit in the choir seats, the rest sat in the front pew.

Tucker recalls there were two practices held each week, one after school and a ‘warm up’ at 10.00am on Sunday morning. He explained that over the following two to three years, the choir improved and by 1935/36 the boys were able to sing at weddings. Eight boys sang two hymns, a Psalm and the responses for the princely sum of one shilling each. One Easter Monday, the boys sang for three consecutive weddings about an hour apart, so they simply waited in the choir vestry and did not disrobe.

Photo caption – The pipe organ which will be restored. (Photographer Kim Stops).

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The choir also learned general songs and Tucker remembers singing one afternoon at the Fernhill Hall with a memorable afternoon tea to follow.

St. Matthew’s was one of the first churches in New Zealand to follow the School of English Church Music (S.E.C.M.) form of chanting and responses. This came about after a visit by Dr. (later Sir) Sydney Nicholson the Principal of that school. He gave an address in Napier and within a year, the choirs of Hastings, Havelock North, Taradale and Napier took part in a Festival each year with music from S.E.C.M.” Lasting Friendships were formed with boys from St John‘s Cathedral choir”, Tucker says.

As the boys grew older and lost their soprano voices, a few progressed to the Men’s choir. During the first two years of WWII when the boy‘s were still under the age for service in the armed forces, the choir was often made up of older teenagers. On many Sunday morning services Tucker recalls, there were just the “newer” basses, tenors, plus, fortunately, Arthur Bryant who was experienced enough to sing the first verse of a hymn as a tenor, and then to sing the second as a bass to help the new boys.

A parishioner commented on the poorness of the singing of the congregation at the Sunday services, and suggested a practice be held before the evening service. It was thought the trouble was that so few of the congregation had the supplementary hymns in their books This resulted in a quick sale of many supplementary hymn books bought by the Vicar for sale to parishioners.

The Vestry Minutes record that overall expenditure was larger than income in 1934 and it was thus decided to look at the complete picture of overheads. As a result, existing pupils of Mr Spinney’s were charged ninepence per hour per head. or one pound per quarter, with charges to future pupils to be reviewed, It was decided in 1936 that the organ needed to be restored after thirty years of service.

The acting Vicar in his report to the annual general meeting of 1937 said “Mr Spinney’s sympathetic accompanying of the services, and handling of the choir was an inspiration and definite aid to devotion. His work with the organ was greatly appreciated, especially the half an hour before Evensong,”

An electric blower was ordered in 1941 and worked satisfactorily. The Borough Council were notified that water power was no longer required and to cancel the water rate heretofore paid.

Two women and two men were active members of the ehoir for over twentytwo years it was reported to the annual meeting in 1943. Twenty

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St Matthew’s choir, 1915

Back row: Messrs Simpson, Thornburrow, Woodward, Smith, Hamilton, Greenfield, Clapham.

Middle row: Mrs Effie George, Mrs M. Grey, Doris Corbin, George Gray, Lal Corbin, Mrs Wilton, ?, Mrs Hamilton (nee Waters), Mrs Waters.

Front row: Miss ?, Mrs Kershaw, Mrs Fowler, Rev. Blathwayt (Curate), Dean Brocklehurst, Vicar. Percy Tombs, Organist/Choirmaster Winnie George, ?Tottie? A M George?, Sara Sweetman, Mrs Hall. (Photographer: Wallace Joll)

St. Matthew’s choir, 1932 after re-dedication of reconstruction after the 1931 earthquake. (Photographer: Sheryl Hilton)

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Church of Saint Matthew, Hastings.

Vicar: REV. R.T. HALL, The Vicarage.

Curate: REV. J. N THOMPSON, Corner Knight Street, and Southland Road.

Deaconess: MABEL B. HOLMES, D.S.S.

Churchwardens: Vicar’s Warden: H.W.C. BAIRD.      People’s Warden: H. HOLDERNESS

Vestry: P. H. BURR  W. B. HOBBS  J. MORRISON  F. L. TUCKER  A. F. GLENNY  A. J. KIRKHAM  D.A. SPENCE  S.A. VYNER  E.J.W. HALLETT  H.D. MACE (replacing H.N. Fowler, resigned)

Sunday School Superintendents:

St. Matthew’s: S. A. VYNER.   Mahora: MRS. BOSHIER.

Parkvale: DEACONESS HOLMES.   Paki Paki: R. H. FLORANCE.

Organist: C.B. SPINNEY, L.R.A.M.   Gazette Secretary: MISS WRIGHT, Box 4.

Treasurer: H. de DENNE, Box 113.   Auditor: J. A. FRASER, F.P.A. (N.Z.)


For Twelve Months ended 31st March 1926, to be presented to Annual Meeting of Parishioners which will be held in Mt. Matthew’s Hall on Wednesday, 12th May, 1926, at 8 pm.

ALL PARlSHIONERS are cordially invited to the Meeting and to the SOCIAL EVENING to be held afterwards.

St. Matthew’s Church,


The Vestry, in presenting this statement of Accounts for the year ended 31st March, 1926, has pleasure in reporting that the finances of the Parish have been placed on a better basis than that which has prevailed for many years past.

As a result of the General Canvass conducted during the year, the annual Subscription List has been increased by a little over ₤100, while the further sum of ₤98/5/6 was subscribed by various parishioners for the purpose of reducing the Parish Debt.

The Estimated Income for the new year is about ₤1300, inclusive of rents, while the Expenditure in a normal year may be taken to be approximately ₤1350. No effort therefore must be spared to secure new Subscribers and Envelope holders, so that the work of the Church and the maintenance of its property may proceed without the financial embarrassments with which the Vestry have been handicapped in recent years.

The General parish Account is shown by the Statement to be in credit to the amount of ₤236/17/6, which is accounted for partly by the increased subscription list and the donations towards reduction of debt and partly by the fact that a non-recurring saving in Stipends of approximately ₤87 was made through the Parish being unavoidably without the services of a Curate during portions of the year.

A No. 2 (or Trust) Account has been established in which are placed all Special Offertories and receipts in respect of Missionary, Sunday School and other Special Funds.

That it is possible for the Vestry to report such a satisfactory balance is particularly gratifying in view of the fact that it has been found necessary to let a contract for ₤64 for the painting of the vicarage, while the state of the Church roof will entail the immediate expenditure of a very considerable sum in its repair.

H. HOLDERNESS    Wardens

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Parish Office,
Eastbourne Street, Hastings.

14th. September, 1955.

Last year we undertook to build a YOUTH HALL on the Market Street Section to the memory of the late Canon W. T. Drake, and we devoted a Day of Giving to this purpose. The Hall is now nearing its completion and will be dedicated on the first day of our Diamond Jubilee Celebrations on Saturday next September 17th, at 2.45 p.m. we trust you will all endeavour to be present in this special occasion.

At our Golden Jubilee Celebrations in 1947 we raised a sum of £1,200 to pay off our quota towards the Bishopric Endowment Fund of the Diocese. We are now writing to ask you if you would give your generous support to a still greater effort to mark our Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. We want to raise a sum of £2,200 which is required to completely pay for the Canon Drake hall

As you will realise such an effort as this can only be successful at the cost of real sacrifice on the part of us all. Your great effort in 1947 freed the Parish of what might have weighed heavily upon us for many years and enabled us to go forward with the Parish Extension at Mayfair, Mahora and Parkvale, of which we are now reaping the benefit.

We commend to you the very great effort to raise £2,200 to mark our Diamond Jubilee. It can only be successful if each one of us resolves to do his or her part to give to the utmost.

An envelope for your donation is enclosed. The Day of Giving is on Sunday, September 25th., but as all offerings at the Jubilee will be for this purpose, we would be glad to receive your donation at any of the services.

Yours sincerely,

R. V. GIORGI     Church Wardens

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of those years had been under the Choirmastership of Mr Spinney. During the year while Mr Spinney was away on Home Guard duties Miss Helen Wake acted as Deputy organist, and proved a capable substitute.

The gowns, surplices and cassocks, having been repaired previously needed to be replaced. Samples of materials were looked at in 1943, 1947 and 1949, but the material chosen was thought to be too expensive. By 1957 the whole choir desperately needed new robes. An Import Licence was refused in 1958. A generous donation from a parish family enabled the whole choir to be outfitted with new choir robes at a later date.

A function and presentation was arranged after Sunday service on July 1948 to celebrate Mr Spinney’s twentyfive years as organist. He remained in this position until his death in 1952. The whole parish mourned a deep loss.

So it was that the Royal Schools of Church Music in England advertised for an organist on behalf of the parish. Mrs. Drake was playing the organ in the meantime, and Mr Bryant acted as choirmaster. Mr Trindall was offered the position and accepted in May 1953.

Again, St. Matthew’s Vestry Minutes suggest it was fortunate in the appointment of Mr Trindall. Many congratulations followed the excellent concerts given, and music at Sunday services was considered a delight R. S. C. M. Summer Schools at Sydney 1956 and Melbourne, 1957 were attended by Mr Trindall.

Arrangements were made for the organ to be overhauled and converted to electric action in 1957. Provision was made for two extra stops at total cost £800, but this was delayed. By 1958 the organ was found to deteriorating rapidly and the Vestry ordered repairs to be “expedited immediately“. They also required more control to be exercised over the use of the organ for practice purposes, and it was therefore, resolved in 1959 that “a charge of two shillings each per hour would be made to pupils practising under supervision, and that when not in use, the organ was to be kept locked. By 1966 five shillings per hour was charged to students under instruction.

Vestry Minutes record expenditure of two and three hundred pounds spent at various times repairing bits of the organ, including a new key board. Apparently an offer of financial help to restore the organ was declined at this time. The organ stool from the Cathedral was purchased 1960.

It was difficult to enlist and retain the services of sufficient choir boys in order to relieve periodically, the female sopranos. It was suggested payment should be offered as an inducement. Dates of Choral weddings were put up on the choir noticeboard each month, the choir members having complained they needed more notice of these events.

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The following year membership of the choir was very low and an appeal for new members, especially men, brought a few new recruits. A visit was paid to Otane on the occasion of the Induction of Rev. C.B. Robinson as Vicar of that parish. Mr Lord and Mrs. I. Florance left the choir within a short period in the early 1960’s and their voices were missed.

Mr Basil Brooker was interested in joining the choir in l969 and was prepared to conduct. At this time payment for Probationary boys was five cents, singing boys ten cents, choristers fifteen cents, and Head Chorister twenty cents. Boys were paid ‘on the spot’.

Complaints were received from a section of the congregation that the choir was too formal and that the introduction to the hymns too stilted; Hymns Ancient and Modern” needed “hotting up.” There should be joyful pre-service music some parishioners said. “Chanting, responses and Psalms were not acceptable” were some of the complaints put forward to Vestry. On enquiry, however, the majority of parishioners did not agree with these sentiments and most found the orthodox music helpful in their worship. Two hundred copies of “100 Hymns for Today” plus music copies were ordered as a first step towards encouraging younger people to worship. The choir felt they were not being appreciated. and so went into recess at this time.

Eighteen months later, a choir was formed under the baton of Basil Brooker. The formation of a choir meant the Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis could be sung again. The Minutes record the junior choir were taken on several outings and thoroughly enjoyed their trips away. According to former choristers, choir practices with Mr Brooker were happy occasions when a seemingly endless supply of jokes relaxed the singers and cemented friendships with laughter they recall.

A treat in the form of the Auckland University Singers with Peter Godfrey early in 1979 started the year well, Te Aute College choir participated at the 10.00am service in the following July and this was apparently enjoyed by all. The resignation of Mr Brooker in December 1980 was received with regret. A Farewell held in May 1981 was followed by morning tea in the hall. Ann Perry continued as Choirmistress with a small band of eight loyal singers. Ngaire Baker was Deputy Choirmistress. Greg Neil and Katie Kippax received the Bishops Award for Junior Choir Members in 1986,

A succession of organist/choirmasters followed Mr Trindall, none staying for any long period. Several High School students filled in very competently in between times until leaving the district to further their education. Natalie Stent, Kathryn Wyley, Kathy Fletcher, Greg Neil. Kim and Erama Gregory and Stephen Black Mrs Susan Field, Mrs Gwen Rouse and Rev. Ted Fletcher also acted as organists as necessary, the latter two over very many years.

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The parish has not yet recovered from the sudden death of Ted Fletcher on l7 January 1995. He will always be a part of St. Matthew’s. A man of many talents, he was able to turn his hand to most things, and willing to do so.

He was Priest, teacher, scientist, organist, photographer, artist, friend, husband, and father; Chaplain at Woodford House School; meticulous in his work and play; he had the ability to put people at ease so that they opened up to him and he took onboard, caringly, their concerns.

Ted offered to recite the offices morning and evening when Canon Button died suddenly. He continued this faithfully for some time. He was a layreader for several years, ordained deacon in 1984 and priested the following year. Throughout his time in the parish he served faithfully and well. He gave of his time unstintingly. He is missed very much. In 1977 the idea of starting an Opportunity shop to re-cycle good clean clothing as part of the outreach of the Parish was suggested by Marjorie Fairless to Marion Dent. Several such ‘Op-shops’ were running successfully locally. As a consequence of this suggestion, Marion and Marie Hooker visited St. Augustine’s in Napier to see first hand how their system worked, and according to the Vestry Minutes, this was reported fully. Vestry discussed ways of establishing such a programme at St. Matthew’s, finally deciding to use the foyer and front office of the hall as the most appropriate place from which to run an Opportunity shop. This outreach was further enhanced by starting a Drop-in Centre which ran courses through the Community College (Polytechnic) whose tutors, according to the records were sympathetic to the philosophy of the Drop-in and Opportunity shop.

Marjorie Fairless was appointed Secretary/Manager of the Opportunity Shop and Dropin Centre at its inception. She remained in this position until her death after a short illness in 1995.

The first principles of the Drop-in were to offer a friendly welcome with tea/coffee, friendship and the opportunity to learn a craft. A Creche was suggested by Marion so that young mums could take a break. This particular outreach has become the Early Childhood Centre offering high quality, low cost childcare for fortynine weeks of the year. Based in the Canon Drake Hall, appropriately built as a Youth Hall from donations received from parishioners, in memory of Canon Drake, it has over a period of time housed the Bowling Club, Table Tennis Club, Scouts, Cubs, Guides, Brownies, Venturer Unit and Rangers. According to the records, it fulfilled a much needed place for the youth of the parish to meet and is a fitting

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memorial to a great man. Typical of his nature, not much is recorded of his personal life. He apparently died suddenly in town during Holy week. The planned Easter play which had been practised for some time by the St. Matthew’s Dramatic Club was postponed for a week. Rev. Terry Loten was the Curate at this time and very keen on the Drama Club. Canon W. Drake was a member of the local Rotary Club where he was affectionately known as “Admiral Drake.” Mrs Drake was a well known singer and taught singing. Several present day parishioners were her pupils,

The Drop-in progressed steadily according to records with assistance from the Community Social Services and Community College. The Opportunity shop supported and continues to support, the venture financially. A huge number of people became involved.

A survey was taken in 1980 to test the needs of the Community and has served as a basis for the continuing outreach. The Boys High School showed an interest in the Drop-in which at the time of writing is run under the auspices of their Community Education, providing life-time education opportunities for all.

Following her years as Superintendent of Ebbett Park Sunday School, Marion Dent organised Progressive Dinners as a fund raising venture, the first round of which it is recorded, raised one thousand dollars. A suggestion that a roster for picking up elderly parishioners for church was very much appreciated it is recorded. Other successful ventures are noted; a Liturgical Dance Choir; Coffee Group for young parents; pre-school Music Group. All are Marion’s ‘brain children.’ Marion is a former Vestry member and Parish Nominator. She is a licensed Chalice assistant.

ln concluding her report of 1988 as President of the Opportunity Shop and Drop-in Centre, Marion said “Speaking, being, and doing are all aspects of the Church’s proclamation. Each must in some way be present if the word spoken, and the deeds done are to have power. Thus, if the Church only Speaks of God, but does not live a common life that shows forth the nature of God’s life her words will seem empty.”

A special parishioners meeting held on 15 June 1986 was called to discuss alterations to the interior of the Church. Questions were asked why the organ had not been given priority as it was deteriorating. Vestry thought priority should be with the alterations as it was thought organ repairs were not as urgent. Messrs. Croft and Sons were asked to advise on restoration work of the organ and enquiries were made as to the advisability of launching a Civic and Community appeal to assist with funding, It was decided to have the organ rebuilt and enlarged if at all possible.

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On 1 September 1987 it is recorded that money was to be set aside for rebuilding the organ, and a fund was opened for this purpose. At the time of writing the position of organist was unfilled.

The beautiful reredos in ornate Flemish period in the Lady Chapel was donated in 1926 by Miss Henrietta Kelly as a memorial to the late Mrs Beilby and Miss Kelly. From nine designs, the one by Architect Mr F. E. Howard was chosen. It was executed by Rbt Bridgeman & Sons, the contractors for the reredos in the church. In 1988 it was made free-standing as a piece of art work and as part of the restoration of the church.

Candlesticks and pew fronts were purchased in 1929 and a communion set was given to the church by Miss Gascoigne. It attracted Customs duty of £3.8.8d. Brass vases and an Aumbrey cupboard were purchased in 1930 as was a figure of Christ for the Chapel. Five stained glass windows were purchased in the same year but were enjoyed for such a short time. The church and Chapel interiors were looking very smart at the time the earthquake struck in 1931.

John Hobbs died in June 1932 and part of a memorial to him are the screens which divide the Chapel from the Sanctuary. Designed by Architects Davis & Phillips, they were made in rimu, with leaded lights. The original contract price attracted Sales tax of 5%. They were dedicated on Sunday 5 November 1933, at the 11 o’clock service with Dean Brocklehurst officiating. The altar service book in use in the Chapel at the time was inscribed as a record of the Parish Memorial to the late John Hobbs.

By 1935 the pulpit canopy had not been re-erected after the earthquake. It was suggested the pulpit should be removed to the Chapel side and the canopy erected over it, supported by the pillar as before. The Lecturn would then go to the organ side, and early in 1936 this arrangement took place as a temporary measure to see if the acoustic properties could be improved. The Architect, Mr Davis was consulted regarding locating rods in the pillar. The canopy was securely fastened to the eight steel rods in the pillar. Mr Cowlrick undertook this work and did not wish to be paid. (fig 9).

For the first time in the history of St. Matthew’s the services were broadcast in 1943 and, judging by reports, they were very much appreciated by those fortunate enough to hear them.

It was in l944 the first noticeboard, bearing the name of the Church and times of services, with contact phone numbers was erected in a “suitable position for the information of visitors and others,” and as far as can be ascertained, remains in the place chosen, to the side of the Lychgate.

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The pulpit on the organ side, 1935.

The pulpit on Lady Chapel side (Photographer: Kim Stops)

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The church records show that in 1946, 3903 Acts of Communion, 81 weddings, 136 Baptisms, 60 Confirmations took place. There were 11 communicants on St. Matthew’s Day, 670 on Christmas Day, and 585 Easter.

The Church continued to take an active interest in Outreach and Pastoral Care. Taken from the Newsletter of August 1949, is an article, parts which are copied below.

“BRITISH IMMIGRANT CHILDREN: Mr B. C. Burton, Child Welfare Officer, Napier, gave details of the scheme by which it is proposed to bring British children to New Zealand for permanent settlement. From applications received in England to date, the children available are predominantly males in the older age groups and fully 75% are Church of England. Guardianship of an immigrant child is vested in the Superintendent, Child Welfare Division, but after the child has been in New Zealand for six months, the people taking the child may be granted guardianship on application.

It was noted that these children were subject to careful medical checks and their personal histories to close scrutiny before they were accepted for placement,”

In 1942 the flag of the Wellington and East Coast Mounted Rifles. kept in its case in the Lady Chapel was to be moved to a more prominent position in the Church after Sir Andrew Russell had been consulted regarding this. Colonel Nolan of Gisborne was also consulted five years later in 1947 regarding the flags being moved from the Lady Chapel. A new flag donated by Mr and Mrs. de Denne in 1949 and joined the Wellington and East Coast Mounted Rifles flag, hanging either side of the arch of the original church.

The parish hall was extensively damaged by fire on 1 January 1941 and consequently demolished. Insurance was claimed. the first design submitted by Architects, Davis and Phillips was not liked and was returned for a rethink. The present hall was eventually built at a cost of £6850 by T. G. Cleary. A mortgage of £2000 was taken out. As St. Matthew’s was without a hall that year, the annual meeting was held in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian hall on 14 August I941.

The new hall opened on 9 April 1942 at 2.30 pm. Miss Elsie Williams was specially invited to attend, along with the Mayor of Hastings, and Mr Davis the architect. The Dean of Waiapu dedicated the hall which in 1995 is called the Parish Centre.

Sometime in 1952 a fire destroyed the hall at St. Barnabas. No details are recorded except that bricks were cleaned and sold and insurance claimed. The section was planted with pumpkins and the crop sold.

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Oak carving by Bridgemans of Lichfield, England (Photographer: Kim Stops)

Revedos in Church given by the Beamish family, carved by Bridgemans of Lichfield, England (Photographer: Kim Stops)

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The first of many Missionary Bazaars was held in the Vicarage grounds on 21 November 1953. These were always well patronised. Later, it was usual to hold a Garden Party in the Vicarage grounds – where an admission fee was donated to the Missionary ‘Quota.’ However, these were often purely social occasions especially during Canon Button‘s time.

The Missionary vessel ‘Southern Cross‘ appeal for September 1953 launched enthusiastically by the distribution of two hundred jigsaw puzzles. It was hoped to raise £200 of the £408 target through the sale of these through Sunday school pupils.

In 1954, Sir David Ewan KBE, Dominion President of the New Zealand Boy Scouts Association, and a party of Hastings Senior Boy Scouts attended an evening service at St. Matthew’s in honour of St. George, the movement’s Patron Saint. After the evening service a social was held in the parish hall. The programme had an appropriate English flavour and hall was decorated with the emblems of the counties of Britain. Over three hundred people attended the service. Supper was prepared by members of the British Women’s Overseas Club (BWOC) which was an organisation formed to help wives of servicemen and others (war brides) settle in their chosen land.

L. J. Webb was elected to Vestry in 1951 he served on the Finance committee alongside R. P. Fish, Vicar’s Warden, and W B. Hobbs, Parishioner’s Warden. It was the custom for all accounts to be seen and authorised by this committee before cheques were made out. Similarly, all receipts were scrutinized. The whole financial report being then taken to the Vestry meeting after having been thoroughly checked, By this method the financial workings of the parish were much more controlled, and Vestry were able to leave all financial matters completely confidently in the hands of the finance committee.

By 1953 Mr Webb was the Parish Treasurer and as well, in 1955 he was a Parish Nominator, and member of the Jubilee Committee. During the same year he was able to steer the Parish through the successful Well’s Campaign for which he was Recorder.

Money matters would not be complete without mentioning the Well’s Campaign. Huge amounts of paper make up the file covering this enterprise. For those who were part of it, it is an experience never to be forgotten.

In March 1956 the Well’s Organisation addressed Vestry with respect to their method of raising funds for the church. A detailed analysis of figures and statistical information was studied. As a result of this meeting it was decided to employ the Well’s Organisation and methods of raising their fee and expenses were discussed by a sub committee. The Well’s

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Organisation began their work in the parish on Sunday 27 May 1956. The spiritual well-being of the parish after the campaign was discussed, and also the organisation required within the parish after the expiry of the campaign. The highlight of this campaign was the dinner attended by two thousand people. Nothing like this happened before, and nothing like it has happened since,

The Organisation depended on lots of parishioners being motivated to help. There were to be no other requests for donations to appeals, no sales of work, or jumble sales or Bazaars. Those who committed themselves to this cause knew they would not be asked to dig into their pockets again. Officers were: L. J. Webb, Recorder: H. Norton, Chairman of Follow-up Committee. R. I. June, Chairman Stewardship and Collections Committee, his Deputy, H. E. Taylor; G. H. Roach, Monitoring Chairman. Then S. I. Jones took over while Mr Roach was overseas. It was a very successful campaign. A Review Canvass took place later, Vestry deciding the machinery was in place for it to be Parish driven. The Wells Organisation ran into difficulties later and ceased business.

In 1965 Mr Webb took a shift sideways and was a popular People’s Warden as well as serving on Finance and Policy committees. Then in 1968 he retired as Treasurer but remained People‘s Warden until his retirement in 1978.

Mr Ron Giorgi spoke on behalf of the Vestry, most feelingly of the faithful and devoted service Mr Webb had given to St Matthew’s Church and it‘s parishioners: “he had served in many lay offices of the Church for 17yrs. He regularly supplied flowers for the beautification of the Church and he supplied many hundreds of boxes of plants to he sold at the annual Church Fairs. His long association with the Church had made him a very familiar figure and he in turn knew practically every parishioner by name. His knowledge of the history of the Church, and the donations and her bequests thereto was legendary” Mr Giorgi said.

In all his work Mr Webb was supported by his wife Margaret, and by his family. His service to St. Matthews as a Vestryman, Secretary, Treasurer, Synodsman, Parish Nominator and Peoples Warden was recorded with pride and grateful thanks in the Minutes. it was noted this was carried by prolonged applause. A gift from parishioners was presented to both Mr and Mrs. Webb.

Two women were nominated for Vestry in 1959 but were unsuccessful in the election.

The third Vicarage on the site was in need of a great deal of repair and it was thought expedient to build a new Vicarage. Canon and Mrs Button were to take leave and visit “The Old Country” while this was completed.

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Archdeacon Young looked after the Parish in their absence. Rev. R. V. Matthews and Rev. O. Williams were working in the parish at this time.

Canon R. T. Hall was sent a congratulatory cable on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of his Ordination in May 1960.

Rev. R. V. Matthews left to take up an appointment at Waipukurau, and Rev. and Mrs. Titterton were welcomed to the parish after Evensong in May 1961

In September 1961 Vestry declared it was time to take a good look at the lighting in Church. Two parishioners, experts in their field, co-operated in finding the best possible solution. Several experiments took place and were rejected. All Saints Church, Palmerston North was visited for the express purpose of inspecting the lighting arrangements there. As a result four flood lights in the west and north corners were fitted and fluorescent tubes tried.

At the same time as the lighting was being looked at, attention being given to fitting hearing aids. Several products were tried until a most effective system was demonstrated, and, eventually fitted in 1961 to four pews. Older Parishioners were very grateful for this.

The following year a recommendation that land should be purchased in the area soon to be taken into the City in the West, and a suitable site sought. In 1964 Canon Button referred to the greatly increased number of Maori families in the parish and suggested it was a missionary task to bring all of them into the church.

It was the opinion of the Vicar that the younger generation was not having instilled in it the faith that other generations had known, and had learned to accept as part of themselves. “Consequently, young folk nowadays often found it difficult to come to right decisions.” he said.

The appointment of W.J. Dent to Vestry in February 1966 began a long association which has continued until the time of writing. Assigned to the sub-committees of Youth and Stewardship his qualities were soon discovered, and in 1967 he replaced Mr Werry (who was transferred to Waipukurau) as Vestry Secretary, which appointment he held for two years until his appointment as Parish Treasurer. In 1975 the Minutes show he retired from this position, and from Vestry, but continued as Parish Auditor for the following twenty years, apart from a short time when D. F. Campbell was Auditor. W.J. Dent was appointed People’s Warden 1978-1979. Vestry took advantage of the offer from the Diocese for the accounts to be processed through their office in 1994/95.

Deep regret was expressed by the resignation of Canon Button in 1968. Both Canon and Mrs. Button had worked extremely hard in the

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interests of the parish over a long period, in particular, Canon Button had proved to be a very great friend to parishioners in times of trouble, loss or hardship. There was a sense of regret at the Vicars pending departure. This sense of regret turned to great sorrow and sense of loss on 25 June at the sudden passing of this Vicar, pastor and friend. Kenneth Francis Button, MA (Cantab) was Vicar of St Matthew’s Parish for twentytwo years and Canon Emeritis of the Diocese of Waiapu. The depth of his devotion to his church and his unremitting labours among the people in his care were acknowledged by the Wardens, Vestry, and Parishioners of St. Matthew’s. The beautiful memorial window at the west entrance is a reminder of his work among his parishioners, and his love for them, and theirs for him

Shortly afterwards, the parish struggled to cope with the sudden death of the Peoples Warden, Mr H. F Norton, who had given so much to the parish and who loved his Church dearly.

The Ven. Archdeacon referred to the tragic loss the parish had suffered, first in the death of the Vicar, and then, H. F. Norton. “The Parish is passing through a difficult period but it was a great comfort to see so many people, both clerical and lay come forward to help,” he said, At their meeting, Vestry expressed their “deep sense of loss in the sudden and untimely death of Horace Frank Norton, People‘s Warden,” recorded in September 1968. They gratefully acknowledged his devoted service to the church and the parish over many years,”

S. I. Jones retired as Vicar’s Warden in 1971 after seven years in this position, and was appointed Editor of the Parish magazine. At the annual general meeting, feeling reference to all that “Jonah” had done for the parish and it‘s people, his good humour, and above all, the devotion of both him and his wife to the church they loved so well is recorded in the Minutes.

The Boundaries as defined in the Minutes of St. Luke‘s, Havelock, were agreed by St. Matthew’s Vestry and respected by them as indicated by the fact that permission was sought from Canon St Hill to visit parishioners in Parkvale whose homes and settlements were developed long after the boundaries were set. Canon St. Hill congratulated St. Matthew’s on the work being done in the Parkvale area and encouraged the Mission to these outlying areas.

This was a good example to the Vestry of St. Matthew’s as it struggled to come to grips with the winds of change. St. Matthew’s had been looking after it’s own affairs, with a church built and Vestry in place for eighteen years before it eventually was made into a District Parish in it’s own right. It soon found however, that it’s own daughters were anxious to step

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out on their own. Too soon, some Vestry members felt as indicated in the Minutes of the early 1950’s.

The progress of the Sunday School is dealt with in another Chapter of this book. The old Hop Kiln being used for this purpose in 1921.

St. Matthew‘s was fortunate to have as a member of Vestry, Mr R. P. Fish the Borough Engineer, who knew what areas were being developed, what the Town Planners were about, and what developments were likely. He steered Vestry in the right direction and gave his knowledge and expertise unstintingly as so many men had done before, and others after.


Vestry discussed at some length the “acquisition of a site in any part of the parish” as early as 1920 and in 1928 the need for a Sunday School at least was paramount. A survey conducted by Mr Levien in 1928 discovered even people from the eastern boundary, (Selwood Road now Windsor Avenue) were worshipping at St. Matthew‘s. The further he went north, the more he found the people were not attending any place of worship. No denomination seemed to be working in the district. The people north of Beatson Park (Windsor) – the Lomas Settlement, did not cross the park to the Hop Kiln.

The report found that “The Hop Kiln seems only suitable for the people immediately round it, and is useless for Grove Road or Beattie St which district is likely to develop in the future. The district about Miller Street from Jervois Street to the Roman Catholic Church had a predominance of Roman Catholics, and Anglicans from this part, i.e. south of Queen’s Square prefer to go to St. Matthew’s,” Levien stated.

Levien suggested a site for a hall be procured north west of the Hop Kiln i.e, nearer Karamu Road and further from Heretaunga Street. He maintained the children from homes to the north west would not go to the Hop Kiln because, though near the Parkvale School to which most of them went, it was too far.

The report continues: “Before collecting statistics to show the numbers of church families of possible Sunday school children, of Duplex subscribers with amounts subscribed, we suggest altering the Beatson Park, Beattie Street, Collinge Road, Frederick Street East, Karamu Road and Ellison Road boundary with a hall near the intersection of Willowpark Road and Jervois Street. This point is over a mile from St. Matthew’s and taps a growing district sufficiently far away as not to affect St. Matthew’s or Mahora. Grove Road is now connected with Stanley Street so that it will be a direct

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route to Frederick Street. By crossing a distance of three quarters of a mile, the distance of the proposed site from Queens Square is half a mile. From the Hop Kiln, one mile, and from Lomas Settlement, under three quarters of a mile.”

As a consequence of this report, Parkvale Management Committee assumed responsibility for their own finances. paid their own rent etc. and a balance sheet was to be presented quarterly. A special offertory was taken to help pay for the section in Parkvale. Rev. Hobbs was asked to preach. A section in the Havelock parish was sold and proceeds used to negotiate to purchase the Hop Kiln site which were successful. Parishioners enthusiastically renovated the hall (Hop Kiln) ready for it’s Dedication in 1930. Some damage was sustained in the 1931 earthquake as we learn that bricks were cleaned and sold later. Grazing for one cow was let.

Rev. Niblock was asked to take the services for three months in 1935 while Mr Stamp was appointed a Lay reader, and gave valuable service, until he was transferred by the Railways Department to Wellington. He was given two books for “wonderful work in the parish,” The Education Board rented the Parkvale Hall for five shillings per day in 1936.

Meanwhile, a Faculty was applied for in 1930 for St Barnabas Mission Hall. Nothing further is recorded until in 1947 the congregations of St. Barnabas were asked their opinion as to whether their hall was situated in the right location, recent housing developments having occurred in other areas of Hastings. By October 1947 a meeting of Parkvale and St. Barnabas residents made the decision to purchase a more suitable site in anticipation of building a new church. It was decided not to sell the present land so long as the hall was required for use for parish purposes.

Hastings was developing rapidly and it was stressed some move should be made soon as sections were selling quickly, and the most desirable were selling fast.

A year later, in December 1948, a new site in Willowpark Road extension was purchased. It was quite likely that the Anglican Church and the Presbyterian suburban Church would be neighbours. St Matthew‘s Day on 21 September was designated as a Special Day of Giving for the purpose of meeting the cost of the purchase of this section.

Mr Dudding was in charge of the Lomas subdivision and enquiries were made through Mr Fish regarding purchase of Lots 6, 7 and part of 8 a total of half an acre, in the Mayfair area. Vestry Minutes record discussion on a name to be decided for Mayfair. It was important to avoid misunderstanding regarding the proposed continuance of St. Barnabas as a disparate church. The site of the new church had been recently visited by a subcommittee of the Vicar, Harvey, Heald and Fish, at the junction of

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Willowpark Road and Fenwick Street in Mayfair, and also St. Barnabas Church in Selwood Road. The new site was approved and it was felt steps should be taken to erect a suitable building as soon as possible.

A meeting of residents and Vestry discussed the project and a committee was formed to support and take over management of the new site, and of any buildings to be erected on it.

Among finance made available to St. Barnabas were proceeds from insurance of the building and contents just destroyed. Mr Hugh G. Little’s tender was accepted for building the new hall at Mayfair. Work commenced at the beginning of July 1952. Roofing iron was in short supply, and it was arranged to reserve some for the new building. Rev. John Raglan Maclean commenced work in the St. Martins and St. Barnabas areas on 1 November 1953. He was welcomed at a gathering at St James after the family service on that morning.

In 1956 discussions were taking place on a proposed site for a Vicarage at St. Martins. The Mission Churches were allowed to spend up to ten pounds on any one item in respect of routine expenditure. Application be made to Vestry in respect of any expenditure in excess of that amount.

In 1957 it was decreed that St. James, St. Barnabas and St. Martins would in future be referred to as Area Churches and not Mission Churches.

St. Martins had a healthy Bowling Club and a successful Boys Club met twice a week in 1958. Enquiries were made of the City Council to see whether lights could be installed between Grove Road and Frederick Street. The Sunday school roll rose to two hundred and sixtyfive at St. Martins. The accommodation, including the use of classrooms at Mayfair School was quite inadequate. The Vestry held their meeting of Thursday 19 February 1959 at St. Martins in order to inspect the adjacent property which was for sale. No decision was made. Mr Andy Ross was doing “a great job” with the Sunday School at St. Martin’s according to the Minutes and the Girls Club also was “going well.” Extensions were built at a cost of £2744.2.11d

“Certain items” were made by Mr Pluymers for St. Barnabas, and suitable pictures purchased from a donation given to Rev Matthews. The drive was concreted in l959. The Mayfair Townswomen’s Guild made a donation towards repairing and tuning the piano. On the occasion of the of the farewell held for Rev. and Mrs. Matthews, parishioners of St. Martins and St. Barnabas combined for this social gathering.

Shrubs were provided to Area Churches to beautify the grounds

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The Committee of St. Martin‘s wished a Bill to be presented at Synod for the formation of a Parochial District combining St. Barnabas and St. Martin’s, within the Boundaries as recommended by Vestry.

At the annual meeting of 1962 it is recorded that Mr Fish demonstrated the proposed boundaries of the Division of the Parish and outlined the preliminaries so far taken by the Vestry and Management committees of Area churches. The following resolution was passed unanimously “That this annual general meeting approves the proposed plan for the Division of the Parish of Hastings in three parishes, and that the incoming Vestry be asked to take the necessary steps to divide the Parish as proposed”.

Excerpts from the Wardens/Vicar‘s report of 1962 referred first to St. James becoming a separate parish “It was to be hoped that a Vicar would aoon be appointed to the Riverslea area, following which they thought the Church of England in Hastings would be at a distinct advantage. Secondly they maintained that decreasing numbers of infants being brought forward for this first Sacrament of the Church was a serious reflection on the attitude of some parents towards their Christian obligation.” Concern was expressed at this meeting that the lack of a Vicar was causing parishioners to become apathetic as they lacked leadership. Vestry listened to these concerns and decided that strong action should be taken at Synod. After Vestry had agreed to be responsible for the rent of a house as a Vicarage in February 1963. Rev. A. B. Pywell was appointed Vicar of Parkvale. In June, the Parish of Riverslea is mentioned and in March 1965 in a reference to St. Peter’s. A cheque was sent to St. Peter’s from the Vestry and Parishioners of St. Matthew’s as a gift towards the dedication of their church.

Some financial difficulties ten years later resulted in a suggestion that St. Matthew’s and St. Peter’s share financial responsibility but with Riverslea to retain local independence. St. Matthew’s assured the Standing Committee they would help Riverslea “if in our power to do so” but they could not agree to undertake any of the financial responsibility. A shared Ministry was one solution considered. Whatever decisions were made at that time, St. Peter’s weathered the storm and at the point of writing continues as an independent unit.

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A meeting of Mahora residents in the Parish hall took place on 22 May 1929. Vestry were invited to hear the Vicar, Rev. Mortimer-Jones and Harper give a report on a scheme to start a Parish hall. A Management Committee was formed. Its first brief was to find a suitable site for the erection of a hall, and to obtain an option to purchase. Two false starts added some frustration. The final decision being a site in Duke Street. Church Army authorities offered their social hall at Napier for removal. Enquiries into prices of removal and re-erection, refitting, drainage and lighting were made. Miss Elsie Williams gave the site and was thanked for her generous gift to Mahora. It then remained for Vestry and the Church Army to agree on a price and terms. This took some time. It was agreed that a Church Army Officer would be employed at Mahora.

The section eventually decided upon had artesian water, but the Borough Engineers offered to lay a water pipe to the corner of Pakowhai Road with the section holders agreeing to pay a pro rata share of the cost. Meanwhile St John’s Napier wished to have the Church Army hall stay at Napier but this did not work out and so ways and means of financing this project taxed the minds and resources of Vestry. It was finally agreed to pay a deposit and the remainder over a period mutually agreed upon. A permit was granted to erect the building. The interior of the building was subdivided so as to provide for a Sanctuary, storage, kitchen and living quarters for a Church Army Officer.

Thirty residents attended a meeting held on Monday 15 July 1929 when a committee of four men, and two women was formed to take charge of the completion of the hall: Messrs G. Rochfort, T. W. Smith, F. J. Cowlrick, W. V. Bascard, Mesdames Tate and McLeary. A social committee of twentyfour was also formed to arrange social evenings and other methods of raising funds.

The Church Army hall was removed, re-erected and water and gas laid on. Webb‘s Nurseries donated and planted forty trees and shrubs.

The Management Committee met regularly. James and William Hammerston donated the salary for a Church Army Officer for two years There was not a Church Army Officer available in 1934, but in January 1937 Capt. Sutcliffe commenced duties. Vestry provided him with one bicycle, four blankets, four sheets, and two pillowcases. His board and lodging were paid and a sum of thirty shillings less tax of 8d in the pound was paid. He was joined in 1938 by Capt. Dewar. Rev. W.T. Drake became Vicar of St. Matthew’s in this same year, and much of his energy and influence nurtured the Mission Churches Management Committees.

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St. James Management Committee did not have enough funds to meet their commitments for loan and interest and St. Matthew’s made up the shortfall.

Government housing was being built in the Mahora district in 1944 and renewed interest in the hall by residents was evidenced. St. James gave a hearty vote of thanks to Mr R. P. Fish for his interest in the alterations and building of the hall.

A thriving Boys Club of forty met once a week under the direction of the men of Mahora. St. Matthew’s Vestry advanced £300 to complete the hall. Mr Lapsley a very energetic and capable person was Secretary of the Management Committee.

Following Rev. W.T. Drake‘s sudden death in Holy week 1946, Rev. K.F. Button became Vicar of St. Matthew’s. First refusal on a second section adjoining the Mahora property was given to St. Matthew’s Vestry. It was thought there would be room on this section for a Church and Vicarage when required. The purchase was completed on 21 May 1951.

The Borough sewerage system was extended in September 1948 and St. James was connected. Further alterations and extensions to the hall were required. Mr Dewar was appointed a Layreader. “His work generally in the parish was spoken of in high praise.’ He was congratulated on his success in Theological exams in November, and ordained on 3 December 1950 to work at St. John’s Cathedral Parish, Napier.

Plans and specifications for a new Vicarage at St. James were drawn up by Mr Chaplin, Architect, and tenders were called for. It was decided to provide a washing machine in place of a copper. Mr Cowlrick offered to install, free of charge, plaster ceilings to two main rooms, Management Committee took care of the paths and concrete. Mr Cowlrick was thanked tor the considerable amount of work he had put into the laying of concrete paths, and building the motorshed. Mr F. C. Hortop donated two doors and a window for the shed.

A long discussion took place on 27 May 1954 on the ‘partitioning of the parish,’ the Vicar, K. F. Button suggesting the earliest date for introducing the matter to Synod would be 1956. A joint meeting of St James and St. Matthew’s, with the Wardens to consider the formation of a separate parish was held in April 1955. Canon K. F. Button chaired the meeting, Mr Cushing spoke on behalf of the Area Churches, quoting figures relating to finance, envelope system, communicants and Sunday school work. Stressing the development that had taken place since Rev. J. R Mclean’s arrival. No conclusions were recorded.

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Rev. Maclean was to have a presentation made to him on his return from his honeymoon. It was hoped to keep the nature of the presentation from him until the presentation. A sub committee comprising Messrs Fish, Webb, Roach, Giorgi and Plank, met with the Bishop to discuss formation of a new parish, Rev. Maclean put forward a Resolution at Synod regarding the division of the parish. Standing Committee requested the views of St. Matthew’s Vestry, as well as those of St. James and St. Martins. In April 1957 a letter was received from Bishop Lesser stating that Standing Committee were of the opinion the time was not opportune for the division of the parish. Rev. J. R. Maclean left the parish in 1958.

Newspaper notices regarding church services were amalgamated under one heading ‘forthwith.’ It was felt there should be closer liaison between Management Committee, Vestry and Curate with the Vicar. Vestry undertook to make financial information more regularly and readily available. The Area Churches were invited to send a schedule of requirements for the coming year to Vestry. Further discussion was take place regarding the division of the parish under the Chairmanship of Archbishop Weymouth [Waymouth]. Disappointment was expressed with the decision over the question of sub-division.

Rev. Owen Williams, late of St. Peters, Wellington was appointed temporary Vicar of Mahora in March 1958. Rev. K. F. Button visited St. James for Evensong on 5 April 1959 which was appreciated by parishioners so much that thereafter a rotation of the three Area Churches was made monthly.

It was Mr Fish’s recommendation that provision should be made for building a wooden church on the present site. It was expected that Frimley residents would be served by St. James.

All area Churches were encouraged to attend a combined Evensong to worship as one family at St. Matthews, transport being provided where necessary and for the purpose of attending the Annual General Meeting to follow on Sunday 23 August 1959 at 8.15pm.

Negotiations had been carried on for the possible purchase of the Old Cathedral Church which on inspection was found to be in good order and soundly constructed of heart timber. A Special Meeting was held on August 1959 to consider the purchase. An offer was made but was not successful.

St. James vicarage debt was still being paid off in 1959. In February the Vestry Secretary wrote to other churches for information on materials and costs of recently built churches, with a seating capacity of two hundred and fifty. Several parishes replied with details which was found to be very helpful in choosing a design for the Church of St. James. Mahora.

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Mr Trindall considered the organ recently donated to St. James to be in good condition. He was prepared to help with tuition to play this instrument.

One hundred and fortyone Confirmands made their first Communion at St. James in November 1960. A series of “Bring and Buy” and “Paddy’s Markets” were held to augment the Building Fund. Vestrymen were invited to attend a meeting at St. James after Evensong to discuss the plans for their new Church, and a retiring collection was taken at St. Matthew’s on 29 April 1962 in aid of St. James Building Fund.

The division of the parish which had so long been worked for was at last a reality. At the last Vestry meeting covering the whole of Hastings on 6 June 1962, Mr Soloman paid tribute to the Vicar, Wardens and Vestrymen for the courteous consideration he had received at all times while representing St. James. Rev. H. G. Titterton endorsed these sentiments.

Mr Hughes and Mr Cartwright said while they welcomed the formation of a new Parish embracing both St. Martins and St. Barnabas, they regretted the end of such association. Their respective committees had instructed them to thank Vestry and Canon and Mrs Button for the many courtesies they had extended and for the help offered for the future. A mahogany gavel with an inscription to mark the occasion was presented.

A grant to cover the cost of the church building was made to St. James in July 1962. The cheque, with a covering letter, explaining that St Matthew’s had been obliged to go into overdraft to pay it.


A Sinking Fund was set up with an initial balance of fifty pounds to provide for the setting up of a new parish as and when the necessity arose, to be known as the Raureka and Frimley South Parish Extension Fund. Proceeds from the forthcoming Fair were planned to be credited to this Fund. The Vicar, K.F Button was asked in 1964 to apply to the City Council for at least one acre for a church hall and Vicarage in the Frimley area A sub-commitee of Hay, McLeod and Seton was set up to look for land; they were advised to keep in touch with the City Engineer Mr Fish.

In 1965 a meeting of representatives of all churches took place to allow discussion on a proposal that only one church be built at Flaxmere and that all Protestant denominations worship in it together. Meanwhile, two sections were purchased in the Lowe Block, Camberley, numbers 25 and 26, both of which were subject to a building tie. By 1967, after much

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discussion, Mr Fish drew up plans for a church hall for section 26, leaving number 25 vacant for future building as may be found necessary, or for sale if development in the area was not as good as anticipated. Vestry decided to delay building for the present. A Sunday school was started at Heretaunga Intermediate to judge what needs existed in the Camberley area. Parish extension in this area were put on hold. The sections were, eventually sold in 1970 following a meeting of parishioners called to discuss the Camberley/Flaxmere areas.

The Vicar, Rev. P.J. Munton, assisted by Rev. R. McNeil, made a house to house visitation at Flaxmere. The Joint Regional Committee reported that the Presbyterian Church may be building there. Clarification from Standing Committee asking if they had an overall policy regarding joint use of buildings was sought and found that Joint use of land and buildings under the “Act of Commitment” in suitable circumstances was permitted. The diocese was interested in joint projects. In 1969 the confirmation of purchase of three quarters of an acre for church building and the section adjoining for a Vicarage, bordering Flaxmere park was received by Vestry. It was hoped the laying of the Foundation stone at Flaxmere could be part of the 75th Jubilee celebrations.

The Joint Regional Committee met with Vestry representatives several times to discuss possible joint use of a building at Flaxmere, though the separate issue of Union complicated decisions. It was felt the Anglican church should “hasten slowly” By April 1971 the Methodist and Presbyterian churches were in discussion with Vestry on the needs of Flaxmere. A working model of the proposed church hall at Flaxmere was on view. Webb was congratulated on his very forthright and lucid assessment of the whole programme and the able manner in which he had presented it. The very cordial relations between Methodists, Presbyterians and Anglicans augered [augured] well for the future.

Vestry agreed, with one dissenting voice, that tenders should be called for building a church hall at Flaxmere. The tender of S. E. Morgan & Son Limited was accepted unanimously, with slight alterations to the plans. A Bank overdraft was arranged to cover the shortfall.

A Public meeting of Flaxmere residents to show the plans was called for 21 November 1971. An interim committee was appointed for the running of the hall. St. Matthew’s agreed to be responsible for the altar table fittings and heaters. There seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm generally from the Flaxmere residents. Attendance at the meeting had been disappointing. The local committee assumed charge of the Church Centre in April 1972. Seventy two shrubs were planted to beautify the grounds.

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By November 1972 a generous Bequest had enabled the balance outstanding on the Flaxmere section to be paid off.

Messrs. Natusch and Shattky, Architects, were consulted regarding the acoustics of the hall. Several solutions were suggested. A Joint Use Agreement was signed in 1973. Some decisions regarding the Flaxmere Church Centre at this time were the cause of lively discussion, and strong feelings were expressed.

A Special Vestry meeting was called for 19 March 1974 to discuss Hastings Central Consultative Council concerns regarding Flaxmere Parish. A draft proposal outlining a Flaxmere Cooperating Parish was introduced and discussed at length. Further meetings were held.

It was consequently decided in May that the Curate of St. Matthew’s would attend to Pastoral care of Anglican families in the Flaxmere area and so augment the existing Ministry in Flaxmere. The Minister at Flaxmere, Rev. Lionel Brown, was transferred to Hokitika, and Rev Bill Naera was appointed Priest-in-charge in his stead. A subcommittee was formed to prepare proposals for the future Anglican presence in Flaxmere.

Reverend Canon P. J. Munton accepted the position as Vicar of St. Matthew’s in 1968. He came to a parish which was reeling from the loss of a dearly-loved parish priest who, though preparing to move on as Vicar of Waikanae, still held a special place in the hearts of parishioners. Munton came, full of enthusiasm, and bursting with energy.

Early in December, he expressed a desire to form a Parish Council made up of representatives from parish groups, to meet, from time to time, to discuss matters of general interest. This was taken up enthusiastically and worked well. Vestry were able to use the Council as a sounding board, which helped them in their decision-making. Munton also relinquished the chair at Vestry meetings, in favour of the People’s Warden, Len Webb: a first for St. Matthew’s that has not been repeated. This was an excellent decision which enabled him to stand back from the mundane financial and political aspects of running the parish, and concentrate on what he is best at, “gathering in the lost sheep.”

The parish soon became used to Peter, the Fisherman; the boat sitting alongside the Vicarage. He brought to the Parish his own skills and strengths He gathered in some of the “fringe” Anglicans.

In 1972, eighty candidates, including twenty adults, were presented for Confirmation – the largest number for very many years in the Parish. Rev. Munton acknowledges the support of Valerie, his wife during his Vicariate at St. Matthew’s. Valerie was a strong supporter of the

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Association of Anglican Women’s groups. and a member of Evening Family Fellowship during her time at St. Matthew’s. Despite nursing her husband through serious illness, and her job with the School Library service, Val took an active part in parish life.

Shortly after Mr Andersons induction in 1976, Monty Brown, gardener at Matthew’s over several years, collapsed and died suddenly. The shock and sorrow of the parish is recorded in the Minutes.

Also recorded in the Minutes of December 1976 when he chaired his first Vestry Meeting, are Rev. S. Anderson’s expressions of his, and his families delight in being in Hastings, “and in particular, St. Matthews”. He went on to say he looked forward to a most profitable partnership in the years ahead.

House Groups were operating at Camberley by May 1980. Seven Lay people were Hospital Visitors. Parish coffee mornings had been held. Parish Life Committee was working well to increase fellowship within the parish. Pastoral Care and Outreach flourished. The Minutes of the Parish Life Committee reveal the deep concern for parishioners, and the financial and material matters of the parish being some of the Vicar’s strengths. Several people paid tribute to his work.

In his report of 1981, Rev. Anderson said the Women’s Groups continued to provide the main strength of the parish in many ways. “We need more people, to build up our people as ‘People of God’ – worship is the key. It is what we bring in our hearts. Worship is in our hands, not that of the clergy. Worship saves time for busy people,” Mr Anderson said.

Parishioners were encouraged to use the study door at the Vicarage and a light and door bell were fitted for this purpose.

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A well organised Mission collection took place, and it is recorded the Vicar felt personal involvement of parishioners in the Mission programme was essential. Mission boxes for this purpose were distributed and daily prayers said for the advancement of this work.

Rev. David Balfour, his wife, and the St. Paul’s Singers were invited to the Patronal Festival in 1981 to head a music workshop and entertain at the dinner when Balfour was the Guest Speaker. He also preached at the 10.00 am service. Those who took part in the workshop were given an insight into the close bonding which exists when a group Work together, play together and Worship together. Participants reported this was a great experience.

At the annual meeting of 1981, Les Goddard did not seek re-election to Vestry. nor as Treasurer. An appreciation of his work of thirteen years was expressed. and his resignation was received with regret. He was wished a long and happy retirement.

It is recorded that much discussion took place on the New Zealand Rugby Union Tour of South Africa. A table at the back of the Church held a petition on which parishioners could register their opposition to the tour. Letters to the Rugby Union and Prime Minister were also sent in the name of the “majority of Vestry persons”. Opposition to the tour was not unanimous – a Vestry person stated they did not support the tour but supported the right of people to tour if they so wished and they therefore could not agree to the petition.

Bishop Peter Atkins chaired the 1982 annual general meeting of parishioners, owing to the illness of Rev. Anderson. Nominations were taken from the floor. It was moved that nominations must close seven days before the next years meeting in accordance with the Canons. This was not the first time nominations had been taken from the floor which was contrary to the directions of Synod.

From April I982 St. Matthew‘s became a vacant parish. The Bishop said “we needed to assess our Ministry now and in the future”. He appointed Rev. Dr. Michael John to be Priest-in-charge. “Everyone is involved in looking for, and making suggestions as to requirements for a new Vicar, man. or woman,” said the Bishop.

There was a need for Deacons to Minister at the hospital advised Rev. John Wickham when he visited in July 1982 they could go on to become Priests if the Bishop and parish approve. Sadly, John Wickham died in August that year.

Minutes of the annual general meeting record that a parishioner said “the Church had been established nearly one hundred years ago by the Pioneers, but was running with a flat battery, The first Well’s dinner had been attended by 2500 people. but in 1982 there were now only 600 families. It could become necessary to cut staff or shut down ”

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Later in the same year Mr Trower of Greenmeadows made and donated to St. Matthew‘s a kauri Chalice and Paten made from timber taken from the Meanee [Meeanee] Roman Catholic Church. This gave a lift to a somewhat dreary year.

The term “Welcomer” had been adopted as more in keeping with present day, when the majority of sidespeople were women. The Wardens reported it had been a hard year for the Finance Committee. In spite of the magnificent effort of the Special Appeal, the finance battle continued. The absence of young people in church was again noted. It was felt other churches had attracted the young people, and it was further suggested at the annual meeting of 1983 that music could be livened up at the services. Comments from the floor on how this could be achieved were solicited. It being decided that a more welcoming and friendly attitude towards children and their families was required. The music could be more “congregational” – another circle turned! The Vicar said there were dangers in separating spiritual, moral, and financial assets.

Jim and Sheila Pether came at a time of change. Parishioners had ready been introduced to new ways, but the old were still very dear. It is reported there was much talk of the parish being a hard taskmaster to it’s clergy. St. Matthew‘s reputation in this regard could have been better. Rev. C. J. Pether came, “loving and giving, listening and advising, leading and following,” according to one parishioner.

Sheila (a teacher) as not able to find a suitable position in Hawkes so the family were disunited. This entailed much traveling too and fro of necessity. Concern for both the parish and for Sheila, Jim and family shown by Vestry and parishioners, who wished to support them in what ever way they could. By prayers and with love. The difficult decision for Sheila to return to Wellington, which they had made was respected. The parish was not sure if it deserved their sacrifice.

The Vicar was appointed Chairman of the Diocesan Council of Ministry, Bishop Ralph Matthews was seriously ill at this time. The Vicar formulated a plan to visit a number of parishioners each week in their homes in addition to his hospital visits. This, more than anything, endeared him to the parish – “we love him for it.” “He was always ready, and willing to help and advise.” “He is a gentle, Godly and faithful Priest.” are ways parishioners variously described him.

The Pether family made the difficult decision to return to Wellington in February 1985. The Vicar was congratulated on his approach to Ministry as he was farewelled in August of that year.

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The author is an active member of St. Matthew’s parish, has served a three year term as Vicar’s Warden. Leader/Secretary/Treasurer of the St. Matthew’s Association of Anglican Women, Evening Branch, Family Fellowship, and a member of Vestry at the time of writing. Former choir member, Chairperson of the Parish Life Committee, past Chairperson of the Supervisory Committee of the Waiapu Anglican Credit Union, long involvement with the St. Matthew’s Scout Group, and St. Matthew‘s Girl Guides. Former Bible Class teacher. This section combines information from the archives, as well as the perspectives of current parishioners, clergy and church members, including her own.

The question of how to attract young people to worship at St. Matthew‘s again exercised the minds of the clergy Jim Pether who had a teenage family, Dorothy Brooker with Andrew and Pip and David Biggs who was full of the Holy Spirit and the joy of life.

They turned their attention to the setting for the service, shifting furniture around, making the Sunday Eucharist a celebration. Unfortunately, this did not attract the people for whom it was designed, but alienated those who were already struggling with the inevitable changes. There was a lot of hurt. People needed time. Services became long and real “productions.”

The Hospice appreciated Rev. David Biggs who was generous with his time, compassionate with people and competent in his work. Dorothy Brooker had been quietly and caringly working in the parish. As well as her Sunday School work she took on more pastoral care with hospital and sick visiting, growing more confident, helping where she could, willingly. Dorothy offered herself as a candidate for ordination in February 1984, continuing her job as a trained nurse on four days a week at the Holy Family Home. Dorothy continued her work in the parish as a non Stipendiary clergy. She was ordained on 30 November at the Cathedral, went on to become Vicar of St. Augustines, Napier and in 1995 was appointed Vicar of the Rotorua Parish.

Vestry discussed in 1984 the “reconstituting” of the set of two Chalices and patens sent to St. Matthew’s from the Parish Church of Hastings, England, after the earthquake in 1931. This set had been split, One Chalice and one paten having been left at a boarding school in Havelock North.

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Discreet enquiries revealed the school was under the impression it had been given to them and did not feel disposed to return it. The matter was left there with a certain amount of sadness.

David Biggs was appointed “Clergy with responsibilities” by the Bishop in 1985, but this was later changed to “Priest-in-charge” as time went on. The numbers attending the 10.00 am services were at an all time low. The question was raised in September: “Can Women act as Sidespersons.” It was decided they could.

During the changes which had been taking place, the font had been dismantled with only the bowl and top portion being used. This prompted a request from parishioners to have the font put back together and baptism items to be kept together. This was discussed, but not actioned “There were some changes which parishioners could accept but this one of the hardest decisions to come to terms with” parishioners said,

The Wardens began the service at 10.00am by Welcoming the people from the Lecturn [lectern], reading out notices, and announcing the first hymn. The Lecturn [lectern] was shifted to the Lady Chapel side. The pulpit not having been used for several years.

It is recorded that in the opinion of one Vestryman the congregation now accepted the space in front of the pews and “Vestry should proceed to make it permanent, to have a low altar in the Chancel, with altar rail, platform, lights etc.” The truth was that those who did not accept the situation simply did not go to services. No decision was made. Vestry being divided on the wisdom of making permanent changes at this time.

Finances were a matter of grave concern. An Emergency Vestry meeting was called in October 1985. The Bishop’s view was that giving must be lifted to meet parish commitments. Discussion on how best to encourage giving, and methods of cutting costs in parish spending ensued. The Bishop did not feel he could invite a Vicar to take on St. Matthew’s if the Parish did not meet its commitments.

By January 1986 the Bishop advised he had written to a vicar offering him St. Matthew’s Parish.

Rev. Monty Black and his family came to St. Matthew’s from Stratford and he was inducted on 2 March having been in the parish since February 1986, He chaired his first Vestry meeting on 4 March in the Guildroom.

Listed under “Matters arising” from the previous meeting (February 1986) is a note regarding the “Night Club noise” so conditions at Vicarage were not ideal from the very beginning. The Vestry adjourned the church at the close of the meeting to view and discuss the proposed changes to the Sanctuary and Chancel.

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The Rev. Monty J. Black records the changes which occurred, and his impressions of his first visit.

“When I first saw St. Matthew’s Church towards the end of 1985 I could not believe how tatty and unwelcoming it looked. The carpet in the main aisle was threadbare and the interior looked dirty and cold. I was also appalled to see how far the high altar was from the first row of pews, let alone the last. The overall impression was of a long, narrow, dark, cold tunnel, and yet the building clearly had potential.

As I discussed coming to the parish with the nominators I made it clear that alterations to the interior of the building would be a matter of priority for me. I believe that above all else a parish is a worshipping community, and the place where we honour God in worship should reflect our love for God.

The old High Altar, separated by a considerable distance from the congregation, also compelled the president to celebrate the Eucharist with his/her back to the people teaching a theology which is incompatible with our present age. It teaches that God is distant and unapproachable, that the active person in the liturgy is the priest, and the priest is a person marked out as being very different from the rest of the people of God. Such an arrangement makes it very difficult to help worshippers to see themselves as belonging to a religious community in which all have their own roles, and to which they bring their unique gifts The clergy might teach this theology, but the building and spatial arrangements contradicted the teaching.”

Rev. Black explains that when St Matthew‘s was first built it was designed for a congregation whose primary acts of worship were Matins and Evensong, supported by a choir. Over the last thirty years the Anglican Church has been reconsidering it’s patterns of worship, and, following the lead from the Scriptures and the practice of the Early Church, now focuses on the Eucharist as the main service of worship. The Eucharist, is the supreme prayer of the Church, where the holy people of God gather around a table to break bread. It was, therefore, important that we should bring the altar closer to the people, but in such a way as to be in keeping with the present architecture.

Because of the liturgical changes taking place, it was desirable for the interior of St. Matthew’s to be adapted. Architect, Len Hoogerbrug of Hoogerbrug, Magdalinos and Williams was consulted, and ample opportunity given for parishioners to discuss and come to terms with the quite sweeping changes which took place in 1986. Parishioners commented that they appreciated being included in the decision making.

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Chalk lines on the floor of the Chancel, plans and sketches on the noticeboard; open and frank discussions; no hurried decisions were made. This resulted in “a very pleasing, functional and practical alteration.”

Other very necessary changes in 1989 were the provision of toilet facilities, new flower room and a kitchen. The flower room was relocated in the south porch. leaving the space for a paraplegic toilet, a second toilet and a galley type kitchen in what had been the previous flower room. “All very worthwhile projects and much appreciated” parishioners of the day reported.

Models of four different altar designs were circulated, and parishioners were invited to vote on their preference. John Hortop offered to donate his labour, and it was decided to incorporate pieces from the oak choir frontals not now used. Current parishioners consider the result is “a very fine communion table in keeping with the new look.”

Photo caption – Interior of St. Matthews 1995 (Photographer: Susan Maclean)

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To have, or have not, altar rails was the question. Len Hoogerbrug saw the refurbishing of the interior as a whole, His brief was filled sensitively, showing a real feeling for the church style. Although some parishioners felt, and still feel, they would be happier with at least one row of choir stalls retained in the Sanctuary. The alterations were made to enhance the beauty of the church building and to meet the needs of the new liturgical understanding of the way worship is offered to God.

The clutter of furniture in the Sanctuary and Chancel was removed to create space. “Just as silence is important in prayer, so space is important in worship” Rev. Black explains. “It has also enabled us to enhance our worship with the participation of the Dance Choir, and to make the building available to the wider community for choral and orchestral concerts, also for certain dramatic productions,” he said.

A red carpet was added to bring colour to the building and the new light fittings gave better illumination whilst masking the effect of the grey concrete walls yet emphasizing the beauty of the stained glass windows native timber and oak

A start was made in March 1989 on replacing the old pew cushions with foam covered in red material to match the carpet. Groups, and individuals were invited to contribute the cost of forty eight dollars each, until in 1992 Vestry decided to complete all cushions.

Some mention should be made of the change from the 1662 form of Liturgy to the present ‘A New Zealand Prayer Book. He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa.’ The transformation took place in several stages. In 1976, Rev. Stuart Anderson, the Vicar of St. Matthew‘s tentatively and sensitively took parishioners through the Revised Liturgy, Christian Initiation, new forms of Burial and Marriage services. Some Anglicans still express a longing for the language of the 1662 service, and question the need for so many changes.

During the Ecumenical explorations of the late 1960’s, Anglican, along with other disciplines, were expected to take a more active role in ministering and Ministry. It was no longer possible to have the service “Wash over one, cleansing and healing to emerge afterwards renewed.” Lessons, and even, prayers, were written and read by people with no particular vocation for such things. Hidden talents emerged. Background Seminars, teaching sessions, encouragement, all helped to make a daunting task into an even greater act of worship. The New Zealand Liturgy of 1970 was welcomed by the majority of parishioners who felt there was a more personal involvement, at a layman/woman’s level. St. Matthew’s began with one service of this style per month, retaining the 1662 version, especially at the 8.00 am service, for some time.

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The new ‘A New Zealand Prayer Book, He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa’ is part of the liturgical changes which have been occurring in the Western Church since the 1960’s. Not only has their been a change from Elizabethan English (the language of Shakespeare and the King James Bible) but changes in society since the 17th Century have been taken into account. Marriage is viewed differently from our forbears eg women are not chattels to be traded between men. In the funeral service the needs the grieving family are now taken into account. and baptism now confers all the responsibilities and privileges of complete membership of our Church. The Ordination services make it clear that the ordained ministry is part of the total ministry of all Christians, not some elite group of super Christians. New services accept the realities of the present political world, where monarchies are oddities, and where Christendom is no longer a meaningful term. The Church is also using New Zealand imagery, inclusive language and encouraging a much greater participation by lay people in the life of the Church.

Rev. Black maintains “We are much more friendly with one another when we come to worship. It is difficult to avoid being greeted when you come into church, or exchange the Peace before Communion, or share a cuppa afterwards. These are all significant changes and help to create a sense of a worshipping community and a community that knows and cares for one another.”

“In the earliest days of the Christian Church, congregations worshipped in each others home, gathered around a table and the usual posture for prayer was to stand.

Even when the first churches and cathedrals were built it was many years before chairs were introduced. As a sign of their humility, so Christians, especially those in religious orders adopted the practice of kneeling for prayers. And so it became fashionable to kneel in church. Because kneeling without support is difficult, Anglicans in particular also introduced kneelers to go with their pews. In fact, it is very difficult to kneel properly in most churches and so the Anglican slouch position, with backsides on pews has developed.

The intention of the writers of the new Prayer Book is that congregations should stand for the whole of the Great Thanksgiving Prayer. The priest must also stand to preside at this prayer. By standing Parishioners affirm the priesthood of all Christians. While it is appropriate to kneel on penitential days, e.g Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, it is also appropriate to stand on the festival days for prayers as a sign of celebration.

At St Matthew’s a number of people find kneeling difficult and they would be discouraged from attending church services if they were

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expected to kneel for prayers or for Communion. Of recent times, standing or kneeling are options at St. Matthew’s and parishioners are encouraged to adopt whichever posture suits them for prayers. Gone are the days when we all have to do the same thing at the same time!” Rev. M J Black said

The system of sending out accounts for the use of St. Matthew’s church was dropped in 1986 in favour of a suggested level of donation which may be made. The Vicar was concerned that there may be people who could not afford to be married or buried from St Matthew’s. Recently it has become necessary to take a deposit from those booking for a wedding as on several occasions the Celebrant has been ready and waiting and no wedding party has arrived, having decided they would make other arrangements.

The logo used on Saturday nights for the Church Notices was questioned in 1986. The majority of parishioners neither understood, or liked that which was being used. They preferred the cross as used previously. David Biggs explained it meant ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ A notice in the Anglicana appeared, explaining it to parishioners. However, shortly afterwards, this unpopular sign which had alienated many St. Matthew’s parishioners was removed. A picture of the Church taking it’s place

A shared lunch followed the annual meeting in 1987 the Minutes record. The Wardens reported considerable savings had been gained by having a team of volunteers with clerical and secretarial skills share their expertise by working in the office.

Many memorable Patronal Festivals have been enjoyed. All have been a time of thanksgiving, sometimes with a financial special appeal. It was the practice in the English Church for members to walk the boundaries in a Patronal procession (Daily Telegraph September 1970) However, St Matthew’s congregation, choir and clergy in the times of Canon K. Button and also Rev. S. Anderson. “Clypped” (to surround closely, encompass, hug: Shorter Oxford Dictionary) the church, making a complete circle by holding hands This was variously done at the time or the Patronal Festival, or on the second Sunday in Lent, (Mothering Sunday). At the time of the 75th Jubilee celebrations, about one hundred banner bearing repre- sentatives of Church organisations processed around the church area (Daily Telegraph 21 September 1970)

The workshops held in 1987 when a Liturgical Arts Festival was held, led by two Franciscans: Brothers Masseo, and Lancelot, is still talked of today by parishioners who participated. Several banners made at that weekend still survive at the time of writing. Several beautiful banners have been made by Hilary Black in recent times, the latest in celebration of the Centennial year 1995.

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The Minutes record a difficult time in September for Rev. M. J. Black and Vestry members who were divided equally into two schools of thought on decisions which needed to be made on the direction of the parish. The Minutes record that time out to reconsider the facts was given before final decisions were made. This occurred as well when the Bishop chaired a special parishioners meeting to discuss these same directions. On Sunday 29 March 1987 the option of asking Synod to make St. Matthew’s a Mission District to be directed by the Diocesan Standing Committee and controlled by the Bishop was widely discussed. Consensus being this was not what the people desired, records the Minutes.

Vestry decided that the pews no longer needed in the church be cut down to replace those of the sides which in many cases were in poor condition. Hortops of Havelock North quoted for pew restoration and a “vast array” of men took the pews out to Havelock North at the end of July 1988 under the supervision of Ru Davis, People’s Warden. According to the Minutes, this first batch of pews were successfully restored but work on further pews was put on hold until finance could be found to complete the work. The Centennial Committee made the decision to make this a Centennial project, along with new toilet facilities for the hall, and the enlargement and repair of the organ. Parishioners have agreed to these projects for 1995.

In his report to the annual meeting in May 1988, the Vicar, Rev. Black said he felt folk were “struggling to lead the parish in different directions at the same time, quite convinced they were the only ones who had the ‘right’ answers“ In the end, after giving what explanations he could, all he could say was, to quote the tv character Sledgehammer – “Trust me, I know what I’m doing.”

Rev. Black continued his report saying of St. Matthew’s “Sunday worship has developed a style which wins very favourable comments from visiting Anglicans – but is distinctly Anglican. Worship resources of the Province are more creatively used than in the vast majority of parishes. St. Matthew’s is basically a traditionally Anglican parish and expects this to be reflected in Worship. Some alterations to the building have been made to help make worship more flexible, Rev. Black maintains. He went on to say, ‘we are developing the very best insights of the current liturgical renewal.” Bishop Maurice Goodall at the ‘Disciples in Mission Conference’ said “When Jesus Came teaching and preaching, he also came caring.“

Rev. Black felt that as a major Provincial Centre, Hastings was bleeding. He concluded by saying “St. Matthew’s Church building is a very powerful and effective symbol and vehicle of Christian Outreach.”

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Vestry members agreed that the Girl’s Brigade Church parade in December 1988 was an ‘endurance’ test for clergy, parishioners and girls: seven Baptisms made for a very long service. It is recorded this event was unavoidable due to circumstances beyond the control of the Vicar.

The parish received notification in 1988 that a bequest from the A. N. Button Trust would be available for a project inside St. Matthew’s Church. Mrs. Hilda Button was consulted, and with her agreement, it was decided to install screens between the Lady Chapel and the north transcept, something which Canon Button had wished might happen during his time as vicar. Len Hoogerbrug was asked to work on this. His opinion was that the cost of an exact copy of the original screens would be prohibitive: he therefore recommended a different, but complementary style.

In August 1988, the Vicar put forward the idea of having a Lawn of Remembrance where parishioners’ earthly remains could be scattered or interred in church grounds. The area by the Cairn was nominated as a suitable place. Duncan Kemsley was appointed Sexton Duncan offered help to beautify the church grounds in 1987. Plans of the proposed landscaping were put up on the noticeboard inside the Church, Parishioners being invited to donate plants as listed. Thus began a long and continuing happy relationship between the gardens and the flower arrangers which was a far cry from the days when the groundsman complained of flowers being picked for church arrangements without his permission!

It is widely known among parishioners that not only does Duncan enjoy seeing the fruits of his labour displayed in the church to the Glory of God, but he encourages their use. Typical of Duncan is the quiet and unobtrusive way in which he carries out his work. He spends many hours at St. Matthew’s at the time of writing, and the ground and gardens show his devotion to his Church St. Matthew’s are very fortunate to have Duncan and Val as members of the Parish family and appreciate their talents used to beautify the church and grounds.

Lighting in the Lady Chapel was to be funded from the Kathleen Stubbs Memorial Fund, and topped up by donations from the Women’s groups. Kath was a much loved and respected member of St Matthew’s having nurtured several generations of youngsters through Kindergarten She was Sacristan for several years and expert at making palm crosses for Palm Sunday. A memorial plaque in the Lady Chapel acknowledges her faithfulness, and reminds parishioners of her.

The walls of the Lady Chapel were painted white with a hint of blue to complement the blue carpet. The reredos was remounted to stand on its own as a work of art. New Laudian frontals were prepared, including some of the old embroidery from the High Altar frontals. Blue glass was placed between the “lattice” for the screens.

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Following on the refurbishing of St. Matthew’s and the visit of St. Luke’s Liturgical Dance Group, St. Matthew’s own Dance Choir made it’s debut on Sunday 7 June 1987. The Dance Choir are choreographed, coached, and directed by Marion Dent, at the time of writing.

Parishioners enjoyed the first of many aids to worship. The dancers echoing and uplifting the spirit.

The noise from the ‘Niteclub’ had become intolerable by October 1988. A special meeting of parishioners was called to discuss how to solve this problem. Several options were placed before the meeting. It was decided to purchase a suitable house for a Vicarage, still within the area of the Church, but away from the noise.

As a result of this decision by parishioners, it was agreed to sell enough units in the Waiapu Board of Trustees fund to repay the amount outstanding in connection with the purchase of a new Vicarage. The Vicarage family were growing tired of the noisy situation, which was constant from the Niteclub across the road. Three good nights sleep was all that could be had in a week. The health of the Vicarage family was suffering, and parishioners were concerned for them. The situation was becoming desperate the Minutes record.

A house within the area of the Church was purchased as a Vicarage, the family thankfully, moving for some rest and quite in 1988.

Refreshment leave, long overdue, was taken by the Vicar in 1989 and. accompanied by Hilary his wife, left for London and the Continent. They were agreeably surprised when prior to this, a presentation was made one Sunday by the Vicar’s Warden, Betty Carding on bahalf of the parishioners, of seventy pounds sterling, a gift intended for the purchase of two theatre tickets. This was a token of the deep regard in which the Vicar and his wife were held by parishioners.

In 1988 the Department ofSocial Welfare leased the old Vicarage building for their Child Development Unit and this arrangement lasted until 1994 when the building was modified and upgraded ready for the opening of St. Matthew’s Primary School in l995. (fig.10).

The success of the Early Childhood Centre with so many families becoming familiar with the imposing building which is St. Matthew’s gave hope for a future generation. The Vicar, Rev. Monty Black put forward the suggestion that St. Matthew’s might look at the possibility of opening a school in the old Vicarage building. “I have had a dream – a dream which involves opening a new school at St. Matthew’s, which tries to combine the best elements of the present educational alternatives. This proposed new school would be for primary age children, 5-12 year olds, a

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Saint Matthew’s Primary School. First Day Pupils. 1995 (fig. 10)

Back row: Sheryl England, Marg. Thompson, Assistants

Second row: Jessica Hawke, Sequoia Christie, (obscured), Jason Christie, Gary Dunn, Timandra Houltram, Bronwyn Ward, First Principal

Third row: Hamish Johns, Joshua Christie, Christopher Coyle, Matthew Wood, Brandon Gillies, Jennifer Johns, Casey-Jane Johnson-Sullivan, Joseph Barton-Barclay, Toby Barton-Barclay, John Hallet, Bernard Setz.

Front row: Cher Hodson, Christopher Mattsen, David Small, Timothy Coyle, Lia Wilson, Samantha Hilton, Egypt Kenrick (Photographer: Sheryl Hilton)

St. Matthews Early Childhood Centre children at play

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Co-educational school for boys and girls. A Christian School offering education within a traditional Christian context.” Rev. Monty Black said. He continued. “This dream I shared with the parishioners of St. Matthew’s, and with some experienced people who are involved in education and the life of the Anglican Church.”

A seminar was held on Wednesday 4 August 1993 for first time parents on “What happens in the classroom today.” Parishioners, parents and interested people were encouraged to attend.

In March 1993 it was announced that the Minister of Education, Lockwood Smith, was agreeable for the new Diocesan School, St. Matthew’s to open from Day One as a fully integrated school. Christian Education was to be a part of the Curriculum. This was the first school in New Zealand to be fully integrated from Day One. Enrolments were opened in 1993. At the time of writing there is a strong parents committee and an active Board of Trustees. An adventure playground was built in 1994.

Saint Matthew‘s Primary School was officially opened and Blessed by The Rt. Rev. Murray Mills, Bishop of Waiapu, on 10 March 1995. Among specially invited guests was Mrs Hilda Button, wife of the late Canon K. E. Button. (fig. 11),

Rev. M. J. Black was appointed Chaplain to the school. The first Principal was Mrs Bronwyn Ward. The school opened with a full roll and within a few weeks a further teacher was employed, The School has a waiting list at the time of writing.

Photo caption – Bishop Murray Mills with Mrs Button on the occasion of the Blessing of St. Matthews Primary School, 10 March 1995. (fig 11)

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Organ blower about to be replaced (Photographer Kim Stops)

Originally the organ was powered by water. (Photographer Kim Stops)

Page 78


The earliest record of Church newspapers/newsletters is in 1907 when the Vestry purchased two hundred copies of the ‘Church Chronicle’ from the diocese, a later reference to the ‘Church Times’ being distributed to the congregation may be a reference to this. The paper cost one shilling per copy.

In 1912 a picture of the new church appeared in a local business calendar, and in 1920, three hundred copies of ‘The Gazette‘ which cost three shillings per copy were ordered. The account for advertising times of services in the Herald-Tribune thirtyseven shillings and sixpence and ten shillings for the Daily Telegraph.

The establishment of a parish magazine was considered by the Intelligence Committee, and a temporary issue was printed in 1927.

One hundred and twenty copies of the ‘Gazette’ cost two pence per copy and was distributed ‘gratis’ to members of the congregation.

The parish had it‘s own printing press, ably used by Mr Dutton who did this work voluntarily over a number of years.

Ten thousand sheets of quarto paper were purchased for thirtysix shillings in 1929. (fig. 12),

Photo caption – Sunday School picnic 1910 style. Powdrell’s traction engine about to leave for Mount Erin with the whole school.

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Church of St. Matthew, Hastings

Parish Magazine


Clergy: REV. CANON C. MORTIMER-JONES M.A. (Oxon). The Vicarage;

Churchwardens: T. W. SMITH (People’s Warden), T. A. HOGG (Vicar’s Warden).


Organist: C. B. SPINNEY, L.R.A.M.   Hon. Assistant Secretary: MRS. ARMSTRONG

Treasurer: HENRY de DENNE, Box 113.   Auditor: A. L. RAINBOW, A.P.A (N.Z.)


Parochial Nominators: T. A. HOGG, H. HOLDERNESS.

Lay Readers: H. NELSON FOWLER and A. STAMP

Women’s Guild of Fellowship: President: MRS MORTIMER-JONES.
Secretary: MRS. HALL.

Sunday Schools:
Superintendent: THE VICAR
Assistant Superintendents: MISS O’KANE, MISS WRIGHT, MISS STUBBS – St. Matthew’s
MR HARPER (Mahora)

Mothers’ Union:
Presiding Members: MRS de LISLE.
Secretary MRS. HOPKINS.

Girls’ Friendly Society:
Presiding Associate: MISS RAINBOW.
Secretary: MISS DALTON.


Parish Magazine August 1930. (fig. 12)

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“The St. Matthew’s Parish Magazine” containing four sheets was issued for a three month trial in 1929. The Vicar was appointed editor. A financial column was a regular feature. The magazines were posted out and cost a halfpenny on permit No 10, Hastings, Advertisers were encouraged “so as to keep expenses down”. A typist was employed at one shilling per hour when the necessity arose.

A window was put in the upstairs room of the hall, and the printing press shifted there. In 1935, in appreciation of the tremendous work he had done, Mr Dutton was directed to go to Mr Baird‘s shop and purchase a suit of clothes for himself at the expense of Vestry.

A sub-committee was formed to investigate the re-starting of a Parish Magazine and this resulted in the publishing of two hundred and fifty copies at two shillings and sixpence per annum, or threepence per copy, and, if posted, sixpence per year extra. Messrs. Wattie Limited printed this copy.

Printed in the next edition was a “form of Legacy” (fig 13) for parishioners wishing to donate to the Endowment Fund, and bound with it “The Reaper. ” A monthly leaflet issued by the New Zealand Anglican Board of Missions. (fig, 14).

The provision of a childrens magazine was suggested. This eventually took the form of a double page insert, but it was not a success and so was discontinued.

St. Matthews Parish Endowment Fund.

Form of Legacy

I Give and Bequeath to the Waiapu Board of Diocesan Trustees Incorporated the sum of ₤       free of Duty Upon Trust to invest the same and apply the Income arising therefrom for General Church Purposes in the Parish of Hastings, Hawke’s Bay And I Declare that the receipt of the Treasurer for the time being of the said Board shall be a sufficient discharge to my Trustees for any monies so paid to the said board.

Form of Legacy (fig. 13)

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Gratis – Donations Towards Cost Thankfully Received

Vol. XV., No 10.
Nov. 22, 1937


A monthly leaflet issued by the N.Z. Anglican Board of Missions

President: The Most Rev. The Archbishop of New Zealand.

Chairman of Executive: The Rt. Rev. The Bishop of Waiapu.

Sister P. McKenzie, Of the Golden Memorial Hospital, South Melanesia.

General Secretary: The Rev. F. C. Long, M.A.

Office: 49 Ballance Street, Wellington, C. 1.


1. Melanesian Mission.
2. N.Z. Church Missionary Society.
3. S.P.G., North China
4. Diocese of Polynesia.
5. Chinese Mission in N.Z.
6. Jerusalem and East Mission.

“Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”

“The Reaper” front cover magazine. (fig. 14)

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Magazines were put in church in 1956, to be collected but if not removed by the first Sunday in the month, they were posted.

The December magazine in 1937 was found to he overweight and extra postage required. Prompt action by the Acting Vicar resulted in the postage being reduced from eleven shillings and fourpence to seven shillings and threepence. Wattie Print Ltd had printed envelopes in error and these were purchased at a nominal figure. A circular soliciting support both spiritual and financial in the church in general, and for the stipend, of an assistant curate in particular was included with the 1937 magazine.

The supplement, “The Sign” was discontinued in 1938 and the Waiapu Church Gazette was embodied in the parish magazine, in it’s place. Four boys were employed to deliver the magazine at a remuneration of two shillings and sixpence each per month.

It was agreed the magazine should have an outside cover of plain white paper to reduce costs in 1942. In 1944 a group of High School boys were printing the financial statements and magazine using the church press. They did not wish to be paid, so a “Thank you” party was arranged as recompense for their work.

11 February 1946 saw the new Joint Diocesan Newspaper “Church and People” launched.

The Vicar’s letter to parishioners was included as an insert to the magazine in 1945. Miss Stubbs and her helpers addressed and posted the “Church and People” as well as the magazine. “This splendid interdiocesan publication ‘Church and People’ is posted monthly to two hundred and eighty subscribers,” the Minutes proclaim.

One thousand five hundred and fifty copies of the Newsletter were distributed each month in 1949 when, for the first time, a picture of the church was used on letterheads and on Newsletters. Several photos of various angles were taken, and the one chosen was that viewed from the Market St/Lyndon Road corner, courtesy of Lloyd Wilson. At the time of writing, the Church logo is a picture of the church from the Lyndon Road/ King Street corner.

Donations towards the expenses of the Newsletter were encouraged in 1953, and in 1977, an alphabetical roster was instigated whereby certain letters were nominated each month, and parishioners whose surname began with that letter(s) were invited to make a special donation towards the magazine. Acknowledgements of receipts were printed in the following edition.

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A new magazine in 1959 was given a six months trial, two thousand seven hundred copies being distributed each month. A brochure “Simple Answers” was distributed with the magazine. Numbers of Communicants and amounts of collections were recorded by means of graphs. Four extra pages were incorporated in 1960 and the magazine was referred to as “The Call,” St. James used this as their parish magazine, and they paid one third of the associated costs.

Mr S. I. Jones, Editor, called the July 1963 a “tumble” style of magazine, the result of experiments with format to see which would be suitable for all three parishes. By November 1967 the “Church and People was running at a loss. It was decided to have St. Matthew’s Parish News letters bound in yearly issues in 1970.

It is recorded that a handbook was written by Patrick Dingemans in 1971 setting out clearly, answers to questions often asked about Anglicanism. Entitled “The Anglican Way,” this was a very successful publication. Two re-prints were made. Publication was entirely sponsored. Vestry were very appreciative of this fine work agreeing it was the work of an enthusiast.

The cost of producing the newsletter increased to one thousand two hundred dollars in 1971 but it was considered an effective tool of communication. The Newsletter was distributed to every family in the parish.

Following the retirement of “Jonah” (S.I Jones) as Editor in 1963, Mr Kirkby took over this task until he left the district to live at Westshore in August 1976.

As well as the monthly magazine, a sheet containing the news for the week, the Priests, and Readers on duty for the day, was printed weekly, this was the brain child of Rev. Stuart Anderson who called it the “Anglicana” the first mention of this sheet was in 1979.

In I983 one thousand copies of a Parish “Who’s Who” were printed. Names of office bearers, and associated organisations were distributed to all parish families. Following this, in 1994 and also in 1995, a Parish Directory including a list of Parishioners and a Prayer Guide was printed in the Parish Office, made possible by the upgrading of office technology which began in 1986.

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St. Matthew‘s has been fortunate over the years to have had loyal Christian men and women committed to the Sunday school. Looking back, there were not too many of them because they have been devoted to their calling and loved their charges, so have stayed a long time. Miss Kathleen Stubbs was in charge of the Kindergarten for many years, and several generations of children came to know and to love her. She told the Christian message in the way she lived her life. The children had the benefit of her clever craft work, and the endless hours of preparation for the weekly lessons. She stood no nonsense, but all wanted to please her. Little ones were made to feel very special and parents were encouraged to stay with them.

Miss Wright was another whose Sunday mornings were spent teaching others the Gospel stories and shaping young lives. She often also, played the organ. She was regarded as an “institution” giving many years of devoted service in a range of activities.

Sunday schools were set up in all four corners of Hastings quite early on. The Town Hall being used as a Sunday school for juniors in 1894, and thanks were recorded to Flaxmere and Tomoana Superintendents and teachers even before then. By 1896 a special prize was given for the most regular attender at Bible Teaching Class, and Tomoana and Hastings Sunday schools each enjoyed a picnic in 1898.

It appears that some misfortune “ bestook the Sunday school library” in 1901 as the teachers were thanked for replacing same. Next to be established was a Sunday school in Parkvale where a tenancy agreement for part of the ‘Old Hop Kiln’ was signed on 30 November 1921. The Methodist class wrote asking if they may join with St. Matthew’s children in 1923 and facilities for bicycles was the subject of long discussion by Vestry. Eventually, it was resolved to build a shed to accommodate these.

Application to the Education Board in 1924 allowed two schoolrooms at Mahora to be used free of charge for the Sunday school. It was decided the church should at least pay for the cleaning of the room. The Sunday school bell was rehung the following year and the Deaconess applied for kneelers for Parkvale which cost thirty four shillings per dozen. The organ was repaired at a cost of five shillings. Insurance was taken out on Parkvale for organ, seats, library and pictures housed in the building owned by A. Masters situated in Sellwood Road and leased by Vestry. Frontal linen was purchased for Parkvale in 1926. Final payment for use of Mahora School as a Sunday school was in April 1935 after which children were accommodated in St. James hall.

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Thirty-six Kindergarten chairs were ordered from Hortops costing six shillings and sixpence each in 1941. In March, a Sunday school picnic held at Windsor Park on Saturday 13 March 1942 was hailed a great success. The Borough Council was thanked for allowing the use of the park.

Vestry recorded it was “not satisfied with the ‘Religious Education’ of children in this country” and requested Standing Committee to instruct the diocesan delegate to bring the matter before the next General Synod.

By 1957, Sunday school accommodation at St. Matthew’s and St. James was fully utilised but not overcrowded. However this was not so at St. Barnabas where there were ninety children, and St Martin’s where the number was one hundred and sixty putting a premium on facilities. Younger children spilled over into Mayfair School where two classrooms were used for Sunday school purposes.

A tentative proposal for a Sunday school at Frimley was discussed in 1957 and one at Raureka opened in April 1958 but was abandoned shortly afterwards, children preferring to attend the one held at Ebbett Park school. This flourished, using four classrooms, catering for one hundred and thirty children in 1965. It was overcrowded. A few names have continued to appear throughout the archived material from which this publication is sourced. As Superintendent of Ebbett Park Sunday school Marion Dent showed her administrative skills, her talent for organisation, and her skills as a Communicator.

The overall roll of Sunday schools in the parish in August 1959 was approximately one thousand.

The Churchwardens and Vicar visited Raukawa in 1959 with the object of furthering the church work in that area. Services were already held there before this time. The Sunday school was not a success and was discontinued, but services were regularly conducted with active attendance. May 1960 saw a Sunday school begun at Frimley and in “Wall Road” in July. Increases in all Sunday schools necessitated an appeal for more teachers. The annual party at Christmas time and picnic at the beginning of the school year were occasions to be looked forward to, and talked about. By February 1961 St. Martin’s had a roll of over two hundred pupils, Waipatu also had a Sunday school under the care of Miss Blackett who was given ten pounds by a parishioner to “help her in her work.”

The Trustees of the property in Murdoch Road which was being used as a Sunday school sold this as there was a lessening need in this area. Heretaunga Intermediate was then used from 1969. A new curriculum for Sunday school classes was introduced in 1970.

A combined Sunday school picnic was held at Eskdale Park in 1971. A riotous, noisy day of cricket, running races and games on a beautiful hot day, according to Vestry Minutes,

Thity two Bible Class students visited Lower Hutt accompanied by Mesdames Eris Hay, and Connie Williams with Cliff Brannigan. The

Page 86

students went by bus over Queen’s birthday weekend in 1972 at a cost of six dollars each. There was a possibility a return visit would be made. This active Bible Class group took over the old Scout Hut, redecorated same and laid on power. The Vicar, Rev. P. J. Munton, it is recorded, was very pleased and found their efforts “heartening.”

By 1972 attendance at all Sunday schools had declined as there was a grave shortage of teachers. Ways to stimulate interest were discussed. The Intermediate group had their end of year function at Waimarama in the form of a B.B.Q. Eighty members of the Bible Class were present for tea on 3 December 1972, the culmination of the year being the presentation of the “Pageant of Light” ceremony at Evensong.

A major effort in youth work was planned for 1973 involving a greater number of children. The Bishop, a former Director of Religious Education in Auckland, was invited to attend shortly after Easter for the whole weekend.

Bible class meeting nights were changed to Thursdays, with Intermediate age children meeting on Friday evenings as usual in 1974. A ‘Nativity Pageant’ followed the annual prizegiving. There was talk of closing Ebbett Park Sunday school and centralising at St. Matthew’s which the Vicar believed to be a retrograde step. The actual date when the outlying Sunday schools were closed is not recorded.

Screens were fitted in the hall at St. Matthews to give each class an area and allowed less distractions from other classes. These screens were rehung and repaired in 1975. Pre-school to Form 2 had a roll of one hundred and thirty-five children from sixty-one families.

In the Vicar’s opinion. the Bible class juniors of 1975 were a “most impressive group of youngsters.” They met in the Girls’ Friendly Society room under the leadership of Mrs. Dale Brannigan and Mrs. Betty Carding. A Melanesian Missionary Feast” was held later in the year to highlight Missionary week.

Visits to Waipatu-Moteo marae (1976) and Paki Paki marae (1 978) were made by the Sunday school and a Halloween theme in 1981 included the whole family in a seminar. Kohupatiki visit occurred in 1985 and, to close the year, a visit to Hukarere. That year prizegiving took place on 11 December with a picnic at Fantasyland.

Sunday school was offered to children up to and including Standard 2 in 1986, with Standard 3 to Form 2 having Seminars and other studies during the year. By 1987 the idea of inviting other Sunday schools to join with St. Matthew’s children on an Ecumenical basis was being considered. In 1988, Sunday school at St. Matthew’s was in recess.

Sunday school was recommenced on the first three Sundays of the month during term time in 1991. A modern, interesting series of lessons proclaiming the old message for today’s children was proposed.

Page 87



People and events of the last one hundred years have interwoven within the framework of the Church to develop the rich tapestry of St. Matthew’s Parish.

The loosely chronological exploration of Vestry Minutes, supplemented with anecdotal information provided by current parishioners and past and present clergy, has developed an interesting, if not always complete, understanding of historical events.

It seems that changes in the vision for the Church have been brought about by new personnel as well as altered community expectations.

Whilst the spiritual focus of the Church has been prominent overall, the day to day management of these activities has always, it would appear, been dogged by problems of funding.

St. Matthew’s has been fortunate over the years in having men and women of vision among the parishioners. Of recent years monthly meetings of parishioners have taken place, with responsibility for decisions being shared.

Over the years there have been various excuses for not keeping up pledges, some genuine causes of changed circumstances remind us of hard times of the Depression, when it is recorded. Vestrymen insisted that any contract for work around the Church or grounds should include the provision that “unemployed parishioners should be given the opportunity to work ” In recent times, Government legislation has been the cause of older parishioners having less spendable income.

In 1995 St. Matthew‘s has extended it’s outreach to include weekly giving to the Hastings City Foodhank. of food and money. The Opportunity Shop, Drop-in Centre, the Early Childhood Centre and a Primary School. All these entail sacrifices of one sort or another either in time, money, or convenience.

Finance is a never ending challenge, and it is part of the territory as much as the Outreach, spirituality and worship of today‘s Church.

This book began with the division of a parish. One hundred years later the author raises the question. Is it now time to look at pooling our resources and once more gathering as one Church in one place, wherever that may be.


Page 88

Page 89


St. Matthew’s “Westminster Abbey” Church. 2

St. Matthew’s interior “Mountfort” Church. 15

St. Matthew’s “Mountfort” Church taken from Eastbourn [Eastbourne] St West. 17

St. Matthew’s “Mountfort” Church taken from Lyndon Rd/King St Cnr  19

Repairs to tower after earthquake in 1931. 29

Pipe organ which is to be restored. 35

St. Matthew’s choir 1915. 37

St. Matthew’s choir 1932. 37

Oak Carving. 47

Reredos main church. 47

St. Matthew’s interior 1995. 68

Early Childhood Centre Children at play. 75

Organ blower to be up-dated. 77

Water pump about to be replaced. 77

Sunday school picnic, 1910 style. 78


Lychgate, King Street South entrance. cover

Lawn of Remembrance to the right.

St. Matthew‘s Church 1995, King Street South. (fig. 1) 1

St. Matthew’s Church 1995. F. deJ, Clere design 27

St. Matthew’s Church 1995, showing “Mountfort” and “F. de J. Clerc” 62

designs in harmony, looking from beneath the magnolia tree.


Copy of letter to the Parishioners of St. Matthew’s Church 5/6

Copy of front Cover Annual Accounts 1926. 58

Copy of Newsletter re: Canon Drake Hall, 1955. 59

Page 90

Page 91


Boyd, M. B. (1984) City of the Plains: A History of Hastings
Pub: Victoria University Press, Wellington

The Daily Telegraph (1970). Parish Celebrating 75yrs: Milestone for St. Matthew’s.
Pub: Daily Telegraph, Napier, September, 1970.

Delaney. John J. Dictionary of Saints.
Pub: Kaye & Ward, Windmill Press.

Dingemans, Patrick (1971). The Anglican Way.
A booklet on Anglicanism.
Pub: Hart Print, Hastings.

General Synod (1989) Church of the Province of New Zealand.
A New Zealand Prayer Book: He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa.
Pub. Wm. Collins Ltd. Auckland

Grimes, G.H.D. (1935) Churchwardens and Sidesmen
Dissertation from the Vicar of Newton Ferrers, England, found amongst Minutes of St. Matthew’s Vestry meetings.
Unknown source.

Jubilee Committee (1946) St. Matthew’s Parish Jubilee, 1895-1945
Pub: Hart Print, Hastings

Jubilee Committee (1955) St. Matthew’s Parish Jubilee, (1895-1955)
Pub: Pictorial Publications, Hastings.

Little, W., Fowler, H.W. and Coulson, J. (1967)
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
Pub: Oxford University Press, London.

Page 92


1895-1909  Rev. J.J. Hobbs

1910-1920  Rev. J.B. Brocklehurst

1920-1926  Rev. R.T. Hall

1927-1938  Rev. C. Mortimer-Jones

1938-1946  Rev. W.T. Drake

1946-1968  Rev. K.F. Button

1968-1976  Canon P.J. Munton

1976-1982  Rev. S. Anderson

1980 assistant

1982-1983  Rev. Dr. M. John

1983-1985  Rev. C.J. Pether

1985-1986  Rev. D. Biggs

1986-   Rev. M.J. Black


Convenor: Gordon Vogtherr   Secretary: Alan G. Adams

Betty Carding  Marion Dent  Bill J. Dent
Peter Gifford  Morris Hay  Bryan B. Higgins
Sheryl Hilton  Ann Kale  Bob Masters
Norma Norton  Kim Salamonson  Shirley Vogtherr
Len. J. Webb  Margaret Webb

Page 93


The font and the oak screens behind the high altar were made by Bridgeman & Sons, Lichfield, England. The carver’s mark is a bee which can be found on this work.

The Centennial Committee of 1995, therefore decided to use the logo of a bee for the celebrations.

ISBN 0-473-03370-4

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Surnames in this book –
Adams, Anderson, Armstrong, Atkins, Averill, Baird, Baker, Balfour, Bark, Barton, Barton-Barclay, Bascand, Beamish, Beard, Beilby, Bennett, Bethel, Biggs, Birch, Black, Blackett, Blathwayt, Bone, Bonner, Boshier, Brannigan, Brathwaite, Brocklehurst, Brook, Brooke-Taylor, Brooker, Brown, Bryant, Burr, Burton, Button, Campbell, Candy, Carrell, Cartwright, Chadwick, Chambers, Chaplin, Charlton, Christie, Clapham, Cleary, Clere, Coates, Cockerill, Collelo, Corbin, Coulson, Coutts, Cowlrick, Cowrick, Coyle, Curd, Cushing, Dalton, Davis, de Denne, de J Clerc, de Lisle, Delaney, Dent, Des Forges, Dewar, Dingemans, Drake, Dudding, Dunn, Dutton, Ellis, England, Ewan, Field, Fish, FitzRoy, Fletcher, Florance, Fowler, Fraser, Galway, Gavin, George, Gifford, Gill, Gillies, Giorgi, Giorgi, Glenny, Goddard, Godfrey, Goodall, Goodin, Grant, Gray, Greenfield, Gregory, Grey, Grimes, Hall, Hallet, Hallett, Hamilton, Hammerston, Harper, Harvey, Hawke, Hay, Heald, Henry, Higgins, Hilton, Hobbs, Hodson, Hogg, Holderness, Holmes, Holt, Hoogerbrug, Hopkins, Hortop, Houltram, Howard, Hughes, Hunt, John, Johns, Johnson-Sullivan, Joll, Jones, June, Kale, Kelly, Kemsley, Kenrick, Kershaw, Kippax, Kirby, Kirkham, Lancelot, Lapsley, Lesser, Levien, Little, Long, Lord, Mace, Mackersey, MacKilligin, Maclean, Magdalinos, Marshall, Masseo, Masters, Matthews, Mattsen, McKenzie, McLean, McLeary, McLeod, McNeil, Mills, Monk, Moore, Morgan, Morrison, Mortimer-Jones, Mountfort, Munton, Naera, Natusch, Neil, Nelson, Niblock, Nicholson, Nolan, Norman, Norton, O’Kane, Ormond, Peach, Percy, Perry, Pether, Phillips, Philpott, Plank, Pluymers, Pope, Powdrell, Price, Pywell, Quilliam, Raglan, Rainbow, Roach, Robinson, Rochfort, Ross, Rouse, Rush, Russell, Salamonson, Scholes, Sellitt, Selwyn, Seton, Setz, Shattky, Simpson, Small, Smith, Solomon, Speight, Spence, Spinney, St Hill, Stamp, Stent, Stops, Stubbs, Sutcliffe, Sweetman, Tanner, Tate, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Thornburrow, Tictmir, Titterton, Tombs, Tong, Toombs, Tosswill, Toswell, Townsend, Trindall, Trower, Tucker, Tustin, Vickerman, Vickers, Vogtherr, Vyner, Wake, Walden, Wanoa, Ward, Waters, Webb, Wellwood, Werry, Waymouth, White, Wickham, Williams, Wilson, Wilton, Woodward, Wright, Wyley, Young

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