St Mary's Cathedral

This charming Gothic-Revival church echoes the architecture of great medieval stone cathedrals, beautifully interpreted in local New Zealand kauri timber.

Wander around the grounds of the late 19th-century St. Mary’s Cathedral Church to admire the stunning architectural feat of its designer, Benjamin Mountfort. Replicating design motifs usually seen in grand stone structures, this vast wooden church is all the more splendid for its locally sourced native timber. Take a seat on a pew in St. Mary’s Cathedral Church and be awed by the glow of the kauri panelling throughout and the light spilling in through stained-glass windows.

When you first encounter St. Mary’s Cathedral Church, you will note its striking Gothic-Revival architecture and steeply pitched roof, which makes it appear as though it was plucked from medieval Europe. Stretching more than 50 metres (165 feet), the church is as long as it is vast. Wander around the structure to get an idea of its size and admire its flair. Check out the church’s series of gables and Gothic lancet windows, as well as its three-sided altar tribune.

Enter the structure to see its cavernous nave and peruse the collection of relics and artworks. The church has a series of stained-glass windows, many of which are tributes to Auckland’s Anglican Church leaders. Two of the windows are dedicated to the early Anglican pioneers in New Zealand. You can see candlesticks carved out of salvaged wood from York Minster, in England, and a stunning 19th-century baptismal font. Hanging above the baptistery is the banner of Sir Edmund Hillary, the New Zealand mountaineer who, with the Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay, was the first to climb Mount Everest.

St. Mary’s Cathedral Church is used for weddings, funerals and occasional concerts. Special services are also sometimes held here. Enquire at the adjacent Holy Trinity Cathedral to find out when the next service is programmed at the church. The church is located in the Auckland suburb of Parnell, to the east of the CBD. There is a bus stop directly outside the church grounds. It is open daily and free to enter.