The Melanesian Martyrs' Memorial Church of St Andrews

My Church

Our Story
1855 For over 140 years, there has been a St Andrew’s Church serving the spiritual needs of people living in the Mission Bay – Kohimarama area. Originally, part of the Mission Station at Mission Bay and, since 1927, on the present site, dedicated to the Martyrs of Melanesia.
Throughout this rich historical period, it has been the centre of worship and fellowship, preserving all that is good in the Anglican tradition, while endeavouring to make worship relevant to the time and mindful of the challenge of the future.

1859-

1861 Originally, St Andrew’s was a college with a chapel at one end of the schoolroom and formed part of the Mission Station when it was rebuilt in stone in 1859 by the Reverend John Coleridge Patteson. Patteson was later consecrated Bishop of Melanesia – in 1861. In those days the area was known as Kohimarama but it became known as Mission Bay for obvious reasons and the next bay to the east ultimately became known as Kohimarama. It is interesting to note that the name Kohimarama was chosen for the site of the Bishop Patteson Theological Collegeon Guadalcanal.

1847
The original Melanesian mission had been established in 1847 by Bishop Selwyn following his purchase of 140 acres of farmland with a sandy beach (Mission Bay) in 1841.

(There is a misconception among many residents of Mission Bay and Kohimarama that the land leased from the Melanesian Trust directly benefits the Anglican Church in New Zealand and St Andrew’s in particular. In fact, however, the income earned by the Trust is paid entirely to theChurch of Melanesia which is established in theSolomon Islands and Vanuatu).

1871
On September 20 1871, Bishop Patteson was killed on the island of Nukapu during a missionary voyage. The killing was in revenge for youths who had been taken from the island by Blackbirders. Six days later, the Bishop’s companion, the Reverend Joseph Atkin, who had been wounded trying to recover the Bishop’s body, died from tetanus.


1925 In 1925, Joseph Atkin’s sister, Mary, in accordance with the wishes of William Atkin, her late father, donated the land on which St Andrew’s now stands as a site for a memorial church to the Martyrs of Melanesia.


1955 A wooden building which was erected by largely volunteer labour, served as a combined church and hall until the constitution of the parochial district of Kohimarama on March 9th 1955.
The Reverend Mervyn A Moore was the first vicar of the parochial district. Under his leadership, supported by a strong team lead by David Baker, a faculty was obtained to build two churches. St James Orakei and St Andrew’s at Kohimarama. There was debate as to whether one central site should be chosen but the historical significance of the Kohimarama site decided the issue. A very successful Wells campaign, plus loans from the Auckland Savings Bank, assured the completion of both churches. The parish flourished during the Reverend Moore’s tenure which lasted until 1963. His son, Bruce, became Bishop of Auckland and his daughter, Margaret, has been a stalwart of the parish since 1955.
1963-
1966 Canon Frank Truman was the next vicar from 1963 to 1966. He was a godly and loveable man and the parish continued to progress.


1966
Archdeacon John Brokenshire was the vicar from 1966 to 1979. He came with a large family, all of whom joined fully in the parish life and a new vicarage to the east of the church was provided at the time. John’s period with us was marked by spiritual growth. The Charismatic Movement swept through the church during his time. At first, cautiously, and then whole heartedly, John became involved and St Andrew’s became the centre of charismatic services in the eastern suburbs. There was a vibrant singing group and a traditional choir. Even those who were not inclined to join in acknowledged the changes that occurred in many parishioners. Occasionally, speaking in tongues and prophecies were heard at St Andrew’s in those days. Eventually, John and Sheila Brokenshire chose to move to a mission district inWest Auckland. In those days, the parish has a curate as well as the vicar. One of our curates during the Brokenshire years, was the Right Reverend Willie Pwaisiho, who subsequently became Bishop of Malaita in theChurch of Melanesia and is now the vicar of a parish in Cheshire in the United Kingdom.


1980 John was followed by the Reverend David Bindon. David left the Franciscan Brotherhood when he became vicar at our church and was with us for six years. Shortly after Canon Bindon arrived, the wooden hall, which had been the original church, was burned down. Canon Bindon did a great job in negotiating the insurance payout on the hall and having the parish complex designed and built with the proceeds. He was also prominent in the running of the Diocesan Synod as chairman of committees. He resigned eventually to take up the task of raising funds internationally to rebuild Selwyn Collegeon the island of Guadalcanalin the Solomons, after the original college had been destroyed by a disastrous flood. Funds were raised and a new co-educational college was built.


1984
During Canon Bindon’s time the church centre was completed and the church became clear of debt. On March 11th 1984 the church was consecrated. Towards the end of his term, Kohimarama became a parish and St James, Orakei, which had been part of the parochial district up to that time, was established as an independent Mission District.


1987
The Reverend Jim Withers became vicar of the parish in 1987 and ministered to us until the end of 2002. Two very successful Alpha programmes were run. During Jim’s time, the sanctuary was remodelled and the altar brought forward into the nave and the Martyrs’ Memorial Chapel created behind the reredos.


1991
The vicarage to East of the church was sold in 1991. With the proceeds the present vicarage was built on previously unused Parish land.


2002
St Andrew’s has been the centre for Mother’s Union in the eastern suburbs for many years. In 2002 a St Andrew’s parishioner, Margaret Wilson, was re-elected as national president for a second term. The parish centre is used for a wide variety of activities not all of these church related – Alcoholics Anonymous Yoga, Bridge etc. It is primarily a venue for Church meetings, the Sunday School and Creche and Christian Fellowship.
2003 Reverend Stephen Baxter was appointed as Vicar.
We are also the spiritual home for the Melanesians throughoutAucklandand particularly students and their families at St Johns Theological College. The Melanesian artefacts displayed in the church and hall are on loan from the Auckland War Memorial Museum but came originally from the Mission House at Mission Bay.