Margaret Brown was the first woman elected onto the Katikati Anglican Vestry in 1972. Here she backgrounds the history of Katikati's oldest church.

Margaret died on 19 February 2001, only a few months after contributing the information for this page.

This page is dedicated to her.

St. Peter's Anglican Church

Arriving with Katikati's first settlers were two Clergymen. One, the Reverend John Crossley, became Katikati's first Vicar. He carried with him a Bible given to him by the congregation of his Parish in Belfast, Ireland - St. Matthews dated 26.2.1875. On board the Carisbrook Castle was another Clergyman, Reverend. William E. Mulgan who assisted Rev. Crossley in the Parish. In November 1881 a meeting was held to discuss the building of a church at which Mr Alex Turner offered an acre of land for the church site. The following attended this meeting - Captain Barclay Morton, Robert Hunter, George Vesey Stewart, John Wilson, Alex Turner and Messrs. Latimer, Leech and Surtees. Many of these first settlers were Presbyterians and it was unclear why an Anglican Church was built, perhaps because the clergy were of that faith.

Tenders were called in July 1882 the only one being from Messrs. Sims & Gray for 500 Pounds with extra for fittings. This was reduced by 100 Pounds by various omissions. John Gray was the builder of the church which is built of pit-sawn Kauri rafted from Auckland to a wharf on Diggleman's farm and carted from there by dray (a low, heavy cart) pulled by horses.

above: The Reverend John Crossley arrived with a Bible dated 26 February 1875, given to him by his St. Matthews Parish congregation in Belfast, Ireland. The carved oak lectern was shipped from England after being found in an unused church in Derbyshire, England. It was carved in the early 1800s.
On 11th May 1884 the Church was completed and the Bishop of Auckland journeyed on horseback to Consecrate it. When he arrived officials found it locked. They went to John Gray for the key but he refused to hand it over until he was paid for his work. The party moved to the No. 2 School and the Consecration was held by proxy.

The Reverend. Crossley was an old and ailing man and did not live long. He was the first person to be buried in Te Rereatukahia (now Katikati) Cemetery. He is commemorated by the stained class window on the northern side for the Sanctuary. The community were very Ulster-like and closed and did not welcome newcomers so a Roman Catholic Church was not built until 1954 and even then there were threats to burn it down.

above and left: Each stained glass window in St Peters has a story to tell.
The Central Window, the earliest of the three, is in memory of the 'Silver General'. In the second Ulster group were three brothers, one a doctor and two generals. The locals referred to them as the 'Silver General' and the 'Black General' from the colour of their beards. General T.H. Stoddard is remembered by this window. The Font is in memory of his daughter Clara Louisa Stoddard. The southern window is in the memory of a faithful parishioner Lucy Cookson and was erected in the early 1970s.

Many streets and roads in the district have connections with the Church - Crossley, Katterns, Mulgan, Stewart, Gledstanes, Turner, Surtees, Major, Morton, Turner, Gray, Busby and of course the two ships the settlers arrived in the Carisbrook Castle and Lady Jocelyn.

There are four brass plaques and several other commemorative items in the church.:

To the War Dead - 1st World War.
To Charles Gledstanes who died in Noumea.
To Thomas Anderson who, together with the son of the founder - George Vesey Stewart Junior, was drowned at the Bowentown Heads. There is a pew to
George Vesey Stewart Junior's memory.
To Henry, Mary, Robert and Dorothy Major. Parents and brother and sister of Henry Major who left Katikati as a young man to study for the Church at Oxford University.

Henry Major became one of the outstanding figures of the Anglican Church and the Principal of Ripon Hall, Oxford. He sent a contribution towards the Primary School swimming pool and in an accompanying note said that after 45 years he still remembered the thrill he felt when fellow Katikatian, Dave Gallagher, led his All Blacks onto the Oxford Football Field in 1905. Dave Gallagher, the 1905 All Black Captain grew up in the town although he was not born here.

In the new millennium the congregation of St Peters plan to add to the church, providing much needed space while retaining the character of the original building.

In memory of Charles Gledstanes who died in Noumea.
The Corona inside the main door commemorates Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.
To Thomas Anderson who, together with George Vesey Stewart Junior, was drowned at the Bowentown Heads.
above and left: A church on the move. Repiling of the main church building in late 2000 gave the congregation a chance to show that many hands do in fact make light work...