St. John the Baptist Church (Waimate North)

35°18′59.59″S 173°52′34.91″E / 35.3165528°S 173.8763639°E / -35.3165528; 173.8763639

St. John the Baptist Church
St John the Baptist Church, Waimate North.JPG
LocationWaimate North
CountryNew Zealand
Past bishop(s)George Selwyn
Heritage designationHistoric Place Category 1
Years built1831, 1870-1871
ParishWaimate North
Wooden headstone for two of the British soldiers killed at Ohaeawai, preserved at the mission

St. John the Baptist Church was built in 1831 by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) at Te Waimate mission at Waimate North, inland from the Bay of Islands.[1] In 1841, it became the first seat of Bishop George Selwyn when he arrived in New Zealand to take up his appointment as the first Anglican Bishop of New Zealand.[2] Bishop Selwyn established St. John’s College at the mission in June 1842 to provide theology to candidates for ordination into the Anglican Church. On 26 September 1844 Bishop Selwyn presided over the first Synod held in New Zealand at the church.[1]

During the Flagstaff War soldiers from the 58th and 99th Regiments, casualties of the Battle of Ohaeawai (July 1845), were buried in the graveyard of the church,[3] including Captain Grant of the 58th Regiment, and Lieutenant George Phillpotts of HMS Hazard.

The construction of St. John the Baptist ChurchEdit

The construction of the church at Te Waimate was commenced in May 1831 and it was completed in 6 weeks. The name of the church was chosen as St. John the Baptist day fell on 24 June.[1] The original church also served as a school room.[1]

The first child baptised at the church was Edward Blomfield Clarke on 10 July 1831.[1] The first church wedding of two Europeans in New Zealand was conducted on 11 October 1831, between William Gilbert Puckey (26), son of a CMS carpenter, William Puckey, and Matilda Elizabeth Davis (17), second daughter of the Rev. Richard Davis.[4]

The existing St. John the Baptist Church was built in 1870 and 1871.[1][3]

List of clergymen (1830–1909)Edit

The clergymen appointed to St. John the Baptist Church were:[1][4][5]

  • Rev. William Yate (CMS) (1830–1834)
  • Rev. William Williams (CMS) (1834–1840)
  • Rev. Richard Taylor (CMS) (1840–1842)
  • Rev. Thomas Whytehead, Rev. William Charles Cotton and Rev. William Charles Dudley (1842–1844),[6] when St. John the Baptist Church was the Cathedral of Bishop George Selwyn.[2]
  • Rev. Robert Burrows (CMS) (1844–1854)
  • Rev. Richard Davis (CMS) (1845–1854) at Kaikohe; at Waimate (1854-1863)
  • Piripi Patiki (CMS) was appointed in 1863 as deacon.[6][7]
  • Ven. Edward Blomfield Clarke (CMS) acted as vicar (1871–1884)
  • Rev. Phillip Walsh was appointed as vicar (1884-1909)

In 1886 the CMS gave control over the church to the Diocesan Trust Board.[1]

List of Archdeacons (1830–1909)Edit

Bishop George Selwyn appointed the Rev. Henry Williams as Archdeacon of Te Waimate on 21 September 1844.[8][1]

  • Ven. Henry Williams (CMS) (1844-1867)
  • Ven. Edward Blomfield Clarke (CMS) (1870-1901)
  • Ven. Phillip Walsh (1901-1909)[1]

St. John’s College at Te Waimate MissionEdit

In June 1842 Bishop George Selwyn set up residence at Te Waimate Mission. Some buildings were converted for use by St. John’s College to teach theology to candidates for ordination into the Anglican Church.[2] The candidates for ordination as deacons were:[1]

  • Richard Davis (11 June 1843)
  • Seymour Mills Spencer, William Bollard and Henry Francis Butt (24 September 1843)[6]
  • William Colenso, Thomas Chapman, James Hamlin, Joseph Matthews and Christopher Pearson Davies (22 September 1844)

In late 1844 Bishop Selwyn moved his residence and St John’s College to Auckland.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Bedggood, W.E. (1971). Brief History of St John Baptist Church Te Waimate. News, Kaikohe.
  2. ^ a b c Limbrick, Warren E. (1990). "Selwyn, George Augustus". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Church of St John the Baptist (Anglican) and Churchyard (344 Te Ahu Ahu Road, Waimate North)". Historic Places Trust. Retrieved 18 November 2021.
  4. ^ a b "St. John the Baptist Church, Waimate North, Bay of Islands". Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  5. ^ "The Missionary Register". Early New Zealand Books (ENZB), University of Auckland Library. 1836. pp. 213–215. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Blain Biographical Directory of Anglican clergy in the South Pacific" (PDF). 2019. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  7. ^ "A MAORI SERMON: Rev. P. Patiki's sermon, preached at the ordination at Waimate on Jan. 20, 1878". ENZB 1884 – Lady Martin. Our Maoris – APPENDIX (pp. 219–220). 1878. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  8. ^ Evans, Rex D. (compiler) (1973). Faith and farming Te huarahi ki te ora; The Legacy of Henry Williams and William Williams. Auckland NZ: Evagean Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 0-908951-16-7.