On Anzac weekend 2021, St Patrick’s Church, Waipawa, will host celebrations to commemorate 150
years since the first church was dedicated.
St Patrick’s has been a focal point for many families in its long history, and the parish is inviting those
families and their descendants, as well as past pupils, teachers, and Religious of St Columba’s School,
back for this special celebration.
There have been three churches on the site over the 150 years. Father Reignier, who from
1851-1871 periodically trekked from his Meanee Mission station to minister to settlers and Maori in
the Waipawa District, instigated the building of the first church, which was dedicated by Bishop
Viard on 16th April 1871.
A growing congregation led to a larger church being built around 1890, with the original church
being moved to the back of the property, and used as a schoolroom. This second church was
destroyed by fire during the night of 30 th March 1920. People of all denominations throughout the
district rallied to raise funds to build the present church, designed to look like St Mary of the Angels
Church in Wellington, and which was opened debt free in 1921.
This, the current St Patrick’s Church, withstood the 1931 Earthquake, and stands today as a
testimony to the faith of those earlier hardworking generations
Friday evening 23 rd April will be the first chance for many to reunite, with a ‘meet and greet’, and a
“book launch'', planned at the historic Waipawa Municipal Theatre.
Saturday’s itinerary includes morning tea and a cemetery tour, and dinner. A special Mass will be
celebrated at St Patrick’s at 4.30pm, by Cardinal John Dew and co-celebrated by Father Paul; and
other visiting priests .
The organisers of this milestone event are gathering history, information and stories for an
anniversary book, and wish to contact as many interested families and individuals as possible.
To enquire about this historic event, please contact Sue Cullen, phone [06] 8578681, email
or Jo McGowan phone 021 171 3189 email jomacg2@gmail.com


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