All Saints' Church

All Saints church

All Saints Church stands at the corner of Moxham Avenue and Kupe Street, on land donated by James Coutts Crawford in 1878. The first church on the site was a wooden building that cost just over £185 to build. It opened on 19 August 1894 and was known as the "Kilbirnie Church Room". Services were ususally held in the evening, lit by kerosene lamp until electricity came to the suburb. During the dark winter months a hurricane lamp was tied to bushes at the Moxham Avenue entrance as a guiding light for those attending.

In 1904 the church was enlarged and in 1907 a seven-roomed vicarage was built and opened behind the church. This was demolished in 1961 when a new vicarage was built. Also in 1907 the bishop sanctioned calling the Church Room by the name of All Saints.

In 1906 the City corporation paid the church £480 for some of its land to use for the new tram track being built. The tram track was eventually extended into a road (Kupe Street) in time for the Centennial exhibition in 1939-40.

With the trams came increasing settlement in Hataitai and Kilbirnie, and the congregation grew. In 1910 planning and fundraising started for a new brick church. The existing wooden building was pulled down, re-erected and enlarged further back on the site to make way for the proposed new building. Some parishioners were disappointed with the enlarged church room and called it "the barn".

From the late 1920s until 1946 Mr and Mrs Taylor of 67 Moxham Avenue opened their residence for garden parties to raise funds. About 1926 the architect Frederick de Jersey Clere prepared final plans, and the foundation stone was laid on 5 November 1927. Parishioner and local resident H A Huggins deposited in a cavity in the stone a sealed copper urn containing photos, newspapers and church newsletters, plans of the new church and silver coins. The church was opened on 14 September 1928 with 30 pews donated by parishioners. The first baptism was of Raema Luke on 15 September, and the first wedding was that of John Allen and Amy Eaton on 18 September. On 11 November the church was consecrated by the bishop of Wellington. The old wooden church then became the church hall, and with some alterations still stands today. The brick walls, terracing, steps and path at the front of the church were built in 1936.

All Saints from the Town Belt
All Saints Church, taken from the Town Belt. The white spire and building in the bottom right is the Latter-Day Saints church directly across Moxham Avenue from All Saints. Small road to the left is Baden Road, with path zigzagging up to Overton Tce.

The church purchased a new reed organ from Nelson Cathedral in 1931. In 1935 Mr Huggins' wife Ada died and he presented two stained glass windows to the church in her memory. Mr Huggins died in 1962 when he was in his nineties.

In 1938 the church's reed organ was sold to Hutt Methodist Church, because All Saints had bought a Wurlitzer organ from the Paramount Theatre. It dated from the silent movie era of the 1920s and could play 24 different sound effects including horses' hoofs, tom toms and a steamboat whistle. Over years of use at the church most of the sound effects broke down or were sold, and the organ became difficult to maintain. With the amalgamation of All Saints and Hataitai Methodist Church in 1977 the church decided to install the Hele organ from the Methodist church, and the Wurlitzer was sold to a local resident who intended to restore it.

Source:
All Saints' Church Hataitai-Kilbirnie Jubilee History, by F D Bell, published by All Saints' Parish Council 1977.

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