St Pauls , Papanui

Harewood Rd, Papanui
Papanui, Canterbury
In the mid 1870s, about the time he designed stone churches for Holy Trinity, Avonside, and St Peter's, Upper Riccarton, Benjamin Mountfort designed a handsome timber church for the parish of St Paul's, Papanui.

The first St Paul's had been built as early as 1852 to serve the small saw-milling village that had grown up near one of the few patches of native forest on the plains. Ngai Tahu also lived here, naming the area Papanui, which was 'A platform in a tree used for snaring birds.'

The foundation stone of Mountfort's replacement church was laid in February 1876 and the church opened in December 1877. It was an Early English Gothic Revival building, with a steep roof, simple pointed windows and vertical board and batten cladding.

The adjacent graveyard is the resting place of several famous and founding Cantabrians including Robert Heaton Rhodes and Captain Charles Hazlitt Upham. Another mini claim to fame held by St Pauls is that in 1900 Lord Rutherford married Georgina Newton here.

The bell-tower and spire were rebuilt in 1910-12 to a slightly different design. The church has kept its striking form despite this and other small changes. Wooden panelling installed on the interior during the 1970s was later removed revealing the original tounge and groove timber still in good condition.

Extensive and expensive repairs during 2012 and 2013 and its wooden construction saved this church from major damage during the Canterbury Earthquakes


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  • St Paul's Papanui
    St Paul's Papanui
  • St Pauls, Papanui
    St Pauls, Papanui
  • St Paul's Papanui
    St Paul's Papanui
  • St Paul's Papanui
    St Paul's Papanui
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