Holy Trinity Cathedral. Church in Auckland, New Zealand

Holy Trinity Cathedral

Church in Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland Cathedral Of The Holy Trinity Photo © russellstreet

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Holy Trinity Cathedral

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Untitled - Holy Trinity
Untitled - Holy Trinity Cathedral. Photo by rjcox
Located in the Auckland suburb of Parnell, the Holy Trinity Cathedral is one of Auckland’s most iconic churches. Renowned for its modern stained glass, the Cathedral marries together the Christian story with the nature of New Zealand and the origin of its people.


George Selwyn pioneered the Anglican Church in New Zealand, with Selwyn arriving in New Zealand in 1841. In 1843 Selwyn purchased the site on which the Cathedral now stands, overlooking the Waitemata Harbour (Wikipedia Article) and the Pacific Ocean. Bishop Simkin laid the foundation stone for the Holy Trinity Cathedral Chancel on 13 June 1957. The stone was brought from Lichfield Cathedral (Wikipedia Article) in the United Kingdom. The Cathedral Chancel was completed in 1973, and served as the Cathedral for twenty years before work could begin on the Nave.

Holy Trinity
	Cathedral, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand - Holy Trinity Cathedral
Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand. Photo by merrikwan


The Cathedral is renowned for its modern stained glass, including the unique window featuring a Polynesian Christ, with vividly colored Pacific motifs. New Zealand Architect Professor Richard (Dick) Toy designed the Nave of the Cathedral. Construction began in 1991 and was completed in 1995. Professor Toy designed a modern Nave while retaining the ambiance and architectural values of the older Chancel. He incorporated two architectural styles: existing brick and reinforced concrete neo-Gothic Chancel, with the contemporary design of the new Nave, which has large areas of glass and a timber ceiling. A set of 18 windows along the sides of the Nave, designed by Robert Ellis and Shane Cotton, tell the Christian story using a combination of traditional and Polynesian designs. The line of the Nave roof reflects the roofline of neighboring St Mary’s Church.

The Rose Window in the Chancel is the work of English artist Carl Edwards, and symbolizes the Trinity: the Father (eye), Son (cross) and Holy Spirit (dove). Beneath it in the Sanctuary stands the High Altar, which is made from native New Zealand Kauri wood.

The Cathedral grand organ was built in 1968 by Harrison and Harrison, and is to the right of the crossing, with the console situated on the bridge. The large gold window on the left of the crossing is the work of John Baker, who also designed the windows in the Marsden Chapel. The Chapel is named for the Reverend Samuel Marsden, who established the New Zealand mission to the indigenous Maori people in 1814.

The Votive Candle Station was designed by Richard Eriksen to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (Wikipedia
	Article). The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, dedicated the station during his visit in 2012.

Auckland Cathedral Of The Holy
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Auckland Cathedral Of The Holy Trinity - Holy Trinity Cathedral. Photo by russellstreet

St Mary’s-in-Holy Trinity

The St Mary’s Church was built on the west side of Parnell Road, and served as the Cathedral Church of the diocese prior to Bishop Selwyn’s dream of the current cathedral being realized. St Mary’s was enlarged in 1886 to its present size, before being consecrated in 1888 and then relocated to its current location in 1982.

The building is beautiful in itself, as well as reflecting New Zealand’s unique nature and culture. The whole building is made from native Kauri timber, apart from the front and back pews and the pulpit, which are constructed from English Oak. Brasses are along both sides of the building, as well as windows in memory of former parishioners – a reminder that St Mary’s was built as a parish church as well as a Cathedral. The central brass on the wall between the southeast porch and the pulpit is a memorial to the parishioners who were killed during the First World War.

The three central lights in the great window behind the altar are a memorial to William Garden Cowie, who was the Bishop of Auckland from 1869 to 1902. His coat of arms can be seen at the foot of the window. To either side of these windows are the “evangelist windows” – which memorialize the pioneers of the Church in New Zealand. On the altar are candlesticks made from timber salvaged from a fire in York Minster in 1829. They were gifted to Bishop Selwyn as he left for New Zealand in 1839.

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Holy Trinity Cathedral. Photo by Jesse Wang

The Cathedral Precinct and Garden

The Mountain Fountain, designed by Terry Stringer, was moved to the Cathedral Forecourt from Aotea Square (Wikipedia
	Article) in 2010. It is made from bronze and concrete, symbolizing hope, confidence, and a place of belonging.

The Trinity Garden is located at the rear of St Mary’s. The garden was designed by Jacky Bowring of Christchurch, who created the space for memory, contemplation and celebration, with the aim of providing a symbolic place for people of faith, with relevance for a range of cultures.

Practical information

The cathedral is located on the corner of St Stephens Avenue and Parnell Road in Auckland. Multiple services are held at the Cathedral every Sunday. Eucharist is held in the Marsden Chapel on weekdays at 12:15pm, and at 10:15am on Tuesdays. Evensong is held at 5:45pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during school term time.

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Author: Amanda. Last updated: Mar 14, 2016


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