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St Paul's Anglican Church
Old Tai Tapu Road, Tai Tapu
Church Property Trustess
Registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category I Historic Place (Register Number 4395) Listed on the Selwyn District Council Plan
Insurance Shortfall - TBA
WHY ST PAUL'S MATTERS
At Tai Tapu's St Paul's Anglican Church, an unfortunate set of circumstances combined to give the township one of Canterbury's most picturesque and distinguished places of worship. A death and the Depression led to a fruitful collaboration between three men and the production of one of the country's finest Arts and Crafts churches.
Following the death of his wife Jessie in 1929, local luminary Sir Robert Heaton Rhodes decided to progress the building of a new church at Tai Tapu as her memorial. This was opportune for the project's architect, distinguished exponent of the Arts and Crafts movement Cecil Wood. Just as the Great Depression brought a halt to most construction, Wood found himself with an important project underwritten by a committed and wealthy patron. Rhodes in return got an architect at the height of his powers with (thanks to the Depression) the time to devote to fully developing his vision, aided by talented carver Frederick Gurnsey. The carefully crafted result is considered to be Wood's best building.
In their verdant stream-side setting, St Paul's and the adjacent Tai Tapu library (another Wood and Rhodes collaboration) constitute one of Canterbury's most important and best known architectural pairings. St Paul's however has sustained serious damage in the Canterbury Earthquakes, and will require significant repair before worship can resume.
Which aspects of the building will benefit from the money fundraised?
1876: The first St Paul's is constructed at Tai Tapu to a design of Frederick Strouts.
1896: Heaton Rhodes is elected to the vestry of St Paul's.
1929: The vestry decides to build a new church. A building fund is started. After his wife's death later that year, Rhodes offers to fund the new church as a memorial. Architect Cecil Wood is commissioned.
1930: Foundation stone laid 29 September.
1932: Consecration 25 January.
2010-11: Substantial damage sustained in the Canterbury Earthquakes.