All Saints' Church, Dunedin

All Saints' Church is a heritage-listed Anglican church located in Dunedin, New Zealand. Established in 1865, the church is part of the Dunedin North parish in the Diocese of Dunedin.

All Saints' Church, Dunedin
All Saints' Church
45°51′44″S 170°30′51″E / 45.8623°S 170.5141°E / -45.8623; 170.5141
Address786 Cumberland Street, Dunedin
CountryNew Zealand
Founded11 February 1865 (1865-02-11)
Founder(s)Bishop Henry Harper
DedicationAll Saints
Dedicated23 July 1865
Consecrated21 April 1869
Functional statusActive
Architectural typeChurch
ParishDunedin North
Vicar(s)Rev. Canon Michael Wallace
Reference no.2136

The church building has a Category I listing with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.[2]



The parish comprises the former parish of All Saints and the former parish of St. Martin's North East Valley. It is part of the The parish boundaries include North East Valley, Pine Hill, North Dunedin, Ravensbourne and Leith Valley.

Church building


The building is the oldest church still used as a place of worship in Dunedin. All Saints' Church is the chapel of Selwyn College, Otago. The college was built around the church and the college and parish have a close relationship. Selwyn College was built as an Anglican theological college in 1893, from the beginning it also housed non-theological students from the university. All Saints' is located close to the University of Otago.



The nave of the church was designed by William H. Clayton and built in 1865; the transepts and chancel, designed by William Mason were added in 1873. All Saints' is an example of gothic revival architecture.

A notable architectural feature is the polychrome brickwork. The bricks came from the brickworks in Filleul Street, Dunedin. Also used in the building is Oamaru stone, an early use of the stone in Dunedin. In 1969, All Saints' Church was restored, in which the foundations, hardwood floor, and slate roof were replaced. At this time a nave altar was installed with altar rails designed by Ted McCoy.

Notable art works in the church include a large rood hanging above the sanctuary carved by leading sculptor Frederick George Gurnsey (1868–1953) who also carved the aumbry door and the pulpit. A small Christus Rex by the eminent New Zealand sculptor Ria Bancroft is above the pulpit.[3] In 2017 a set of ceramic sculptures of the Scriptural Way of the Cross by Whanganui sculptor Kirk Nicholls was installed.

In 2019 an appeal was launched to install a stained glass window in memory of the Ross Sea Party and in honour of Rev. Arnold Spencer-Smith.[4]



All Saints' parish was organised before the Diocese of Dunedin was formed in 1869; for the first few years of the parish it was part of the Diocese of Christchurch. The land was given by James Allen Senior, father of James Allen and the foundation stone laid on 11 February 1865 by Henry Harper 1st Bishop of Christchurch. The church was built rapidly (admittedly only the nave and narthex) and opened on 23 July 1865. The church was consecrated on 21 April 1869.[5] At the 1886 Annual General Meeting the parish discussed an offer from the Bishop Samuel Tarratt Nevill 'to take over the Parish Church for the purpose of making it the Cathedral of the Diocese, and to facilitate the legal transfer by contributing £2,000 towards liquidating the debt on the property, at that time £2,600.' The AGM agreed to the bishop's offer however the project failed, 'the General Synod hesitating on legal grounds to sanction the transfer of the property.'[6][7]

The Church made national news in 2017 when its vicar crashed his car while drunk on the way to the Sunday 10:30 service.[8]


  1. Rev. E.H. Granger 1865–1872
  2. Rev. R.L. Stanford 1872–1879[9]
  3. Very Rev Alfred R. Fitchett Alfred Fitchett 1879–1928 (Dean of Dunedin 1894–1929)
  4. Fr. William Hardy-Johnson 1928–1935 (Rector of Rosslyn Chapel 1923–1928)
  5. Ven. L.G. Whitehead 1935–1948 Algy Whitehead also Warden of Selwyn College
  6. Fr. Charles Harrison 1948–1964[10]
  7. Rev. Canon Arthur Philip Atkinson Gaze 1964–1980 (Cousin of Arnold Spencer-Smith)
  8. Rev. Dr. John Irwin 1980–1983
  9. Fr. David Best 1983–1997
  10. Rev. Canon Erice Fairbrother 1999–2002
  11. Fr. Tim Hurd 2002–2009
  12. Rev. Canon Michael Wallace 2010–

Notable parishioners




Worship at All Saints' is in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. Incense and bells are used for High Mass.



The first organ at All Saints was donated by the first vicar in 1871: "(Mr Granger) has to act as organist- or rather harmonium player- and later he presented the Church with an organ."[22] Mr. Granger left All Saints in 1872. This organ went to Holy Trinity Church, Lawrence, New Zealand in 1874. The second All Saints' organ (1874-1905), has a label on the back: 'John B. West, Organ Builder, Dunedin, New Zealand’, however, it appears that this label has been pasted over the position occupied by a former label and it may be a Halmshaw & Sons organ.[23] This organ was re-located to the original wooden 1863 St Peter's Church in Queenstown, New Zealand in 1906.[24] The third and current organ was built by Bevington & Sons, a London firm founded in 1794. Two of the most notable Bevington organs are in St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin and St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. Bevington organs won medals at exhibitions in Paris (1855 and 1867) and London (1862), and are held in high regard for the quality of their construction and voicing. The firm was absorbed into Hill, Norman and Beard in 1944. All Saints' Bevington organ was built in 1877 for St Paul's Presbyterian Church, Christchurch. In 1905 the organ was transferred to All Saints. It was restored in 1969 by the South Island Organ Company. The two manuals have tracker action, and the pedals have tubular pneumatic action. In recent years a Bourdon pedal stop has been added. All Saints' organ is one of three Bevington organs in Aotearoa New Zealand, the others being at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament Christchurch and at St. John the Baptist Waimate North.[25]

All Saints' Hall


All Saints' Hall was built as the Cumberland St Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. It is constructed from timber from the Bell Hill Methodist Church (1862-8) designed by George Greenfield. During a gale in 1862 the Bell Hill church was badly twisted and deemed unsafe until the addition of a transept designed by William Mason permitted its reuse in February 1863. Its poor design and inconvenient position prompted its early demolition.[26][27] From the sale of the Bell Hill property in 1868 £150 was set aside for the building of a new church. A weatherboard schoolhouse able to accommodate 150 worshippers was built on a quarter acre of freehold next to All Saints given by James Allen. The hall was erected in 1869, but the Wesleyan Methodist congregation didn't last very long - until about 1872.[28]

The front portion of the hall has windows designed by prominent Dunedin architect Basil Hooper and installed in 1911.[29] The University of Otago creche was established in the hall in 1968.[30] Araiteuru Maori club (with Muru Walters as leader) used the hall before Araiteuru Marae was built.


  1. ^ Dictionary of New Zealand biography article on William Henry Clayton. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  2. ^ "All Saints' Church (Anglican)". New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  3. ^ "Ria Bancroft: Three Decades of Sculpture".
  4. ^ "Window to commemorate Spencer-Smith". Otago Daily Times Online News. 6 April 2019.
  5. ^ John H. Evans Southern See, Diocese of Dunedin, 1968, p 52.
  6. ^ All Saints Jubilee Record, 1915.
  7. ^ ANGLICAN GENERAL SYNOD. In tho Anglican Synod on Monday... The tenth Synod finished sitting soon after midnight. The Sessional Committee on Trusts recommended as follows re All Saints', Dunedin : " This Synod is not able to authorise the transfer of land applied for by the parishioners of All Saints', Dunedin." The Bishop of Dunedin proposed the following addition to the motion: "But they are of opinion that if the parishioners and Diocesan Synod wish to use the existing building for the purposes of a cathedral, the terms of the trust deed offer no objection in law to their doing so." The Primate said that when Bishop Nevill was appointed Bishop of Dunedin an omission was probably made in not naming a particular church as his cathedral it lie thought that the recommendation in this matter should come from the Diocesan Synod and lie sanctioned by the General Synod. The Bishop of Wellington and others strongly opposed this proposed addition to the motion by the Bishop of Dunedin. Archdeacon Williams maintained that the matter ought not to have been brought before the Synod. The Standing Committee was the proper tribunal. After considerable discussion the Bishop of Dunedin's amendment was negatived, and the recommendation of the Committee was adopted.
  8. ^ "Drink-driving priest more than three-times over legal limit driving to church". 4 June 2023.
  9. ^ Littell's Living Age/Volume 134/Issue 1729/A New Zealand Divine on Early Closing
  10. ^ James K. Baxter wrote: Father Harrison, (is) a man of great charm and integrity as I well know- but I would not like to see him in action in a theocratic State." Letter to Bill Oliver 20 May 1957
  11. ^ "Bell, George".
  12. ^ "Te Tiriti o Waitangi — Nine Lives".
  13. ^ "Bro. Thomas Sherlock Graham First Worshipful Master Lodge St. Patrick 1881".
  14. ^ "Stop One: Choie Sew Hoy & Eliza's House".
  15. ^ DMS Document
  16. ^ "Gravestone of Polish prince restored and consecrated". 13 November 2019.
  17. ^ pl:Druccy-Lubeccy
  18. ^ "Prince Lubecki".
  19. ^ "Duffus Lubecki Postgraduate Scholarship in Applied Science".
  20. ^ "Similar positions for Duffus Lubecki Scholarship The University Of Auckland The University Of Auckland". Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  21. ^ Rae, Sally (26 May 2023). "City pair made fellows of CAANZ". Otago Daily Times Online News. Retrieved 2 March 2024.
  22. ^ John H.Evans, Southern See, Diocese of Dunedin, 1968, p52.
  23. ^ Gazetteer of New Zealand pipe organs: South Island
  24. ^ "MUSIC".
  25. ^ Stiller, John 1945- : Documentation of historic pipe organs in New Zealand. 1981-1982.
  26. ^ A City Rises exhibition, Heritage New Zealand, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 2015
  27. ^ 'The (Bell Hill Methodist) church was opened on July 14, 1862, the Rev. D. M. Stuart preaching in the morning, Dr Burns in the afternoon, and Mr Harding at night. The congregations were very large, and the collections totalled £61 7s 2d. The "Colonist" in describing the church (July 16, 1862) said: "The Wesleyan chapel is a building of that peculiar neatness of design which would have filled the hearts of the Pilgrim Fathers with delight. It is of a quasiGothic order, with all the elegance of the Renaissance style without its florid ornament. The interior is in keeping with the exterior, affording a nave with two aisles, crowned with a chancel containing the reading desk. It is lighted with lamps affixed to the arches of the aisles. The windows are disposed in form and position to a subdued but mellow light." A transept was later added for support. Within three months the church was wrecked. The structure was quite unequal to carrying a high slate roof in a very windy situation. Even in moderate winds it creaked, and the lamps swung and broke their glasses. A very fierce and destructive gale in the first week of October put the church out of plumb and broke its back, and again services reverted to the courthouse.'The Story of the First Methodist Church in Dunedin, A.R. Brown, Wesley Historical Society (NZ) Publication No. 17(1-3) Page 7
  28. ^ Rev. Donald Phillipps, Methodist historian, Dunedin April 2019
  29. ^ Ralph Allen, Motif and Beauty: The NZ Arts and Crafts Architecture of Basil HooperHarptree: Dunedin, 2000, p103.
  30. ^ "Otago University Childcare Association".

Further reading

  • Hamilton, Derek; Hamilton, Judith (2009). Early Churches in and Around Dunedin (Paperback). Christchurch, NZ: Self-published. ISBN 978-0-473-15950-4.