Old St Paul's
Murals, religious artifacts, stained-glass windows and special exhibits chronicle Wellington’s past and the historic bond between this city and American Marines.
Discover the history of Wellington through Old St Paul’s, the first Anglican cathedral in Wellington. This 19th-century Gothic Revival church was adapted for the colonial environment and is known for its religious objects and artifacts, special exhibitions, historic murals and stained-glass windows. Although masses are no longer conducted in the church, it is still a place of religious, and historic, significance.
Walk inside the church to see interior decorations that reflect Christian symbolism and a beautifully constructed nave made completely from native timbers. View the stained-glass windows and murals that depict the history of New Zealand, charting the country’s development from its colonial past to what it is today. The sculptures in the niches and on top of pillars commemorate the parishioners, clergy and the many others who have worked to build and conserve the church.
Stained-glass windows and brass memorials commemorate the land wars of the 1860s and the soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. View religious objects such as the large Bible that dates back to 1844 and the carved English oak altar, sculpted in the form of an eagle. See the purpose-built organ and walk up the tower to the peal of five bells. Walk down the nave and view the 10 illuminated panels that are painted on boards of rimu and kauri, native New Zealand timbers.
In the special exhibition room you can learn about the unique relationship between Wellington and the American Marines who served in World War II. The flags of the New Zealand Navy, the Royal Navy, the United States of America and the Second Marine Division United States Marine Corps are displayed to honor the alliance.
Join one of the guided tours, which are held every hour during opening hours and have a fee. Or, pick up a brochure to take a free self-guided tour through the cathedral. At the end of your visit, browse through the gift shop for a commemorative book or crafted religious memento of Old St Paul’s.
Old St Paul’s is a short walk from the parliament buildings and the bus and train interchange. The church is open daily except Christmas Day and during private functions.