1844 – 1994 – The first 150 years

This page has been compiled to commemorate
Sesqui – Centennial of the
Parish of St. Thomas’ Tamaki

Jonathan Deacon

It is my great pleasure to be the incumbent Vicar during the Sesqui Centennial Year.

A privilege one will never experience again.

This publication, therefore, stands as a firm reminder to all, that the Christian faith was first professed in this area 150 years ago.

Time escapes our human understanding and as we stand in 1994, one can only ponder the passage of time, to the current age we now live. A world dominated by global trade, science and technology and its social impact on the lives of people.

My hope is, that as we celebrate and look back, we can continue to capture the vision of those gone before us and move into a further 150 years, with hope, to the life and witness of the Gospel in this place, in what is and what will be, a very different age.

The Parish Centre stands as a symbol for us as a 150 year achievement, may it and the Church be used well.

Yours sincerely

Congratulations from Diocese of Auckland

Letter from Bruce Gilberd, Bishop of Auckland:

150 years is a long time, and worth noting in the life of a parish. By publishing a booklet and having special events to recall and revision, we can gain a sense of history and destiny.

St Thomas’s Church, Tamaki has evoked diocesan and community leaders from its members -and has been a beacon on a hill through its worship and life. There have been, as with all faith communities, times of difficulty, times of triumph.
St Thomas himself is a great reminder that doubt is not the enemy of faith. Fear corodes faith, not healthy doubt. So I trust that in all your exploring and being the church on the hill, you will be fearless and faithful, and reach across to other nearby communities and join in their struggles of faith and justice.

Go well, as you claim the next years and on your journey forward, fulfilling God’s purpose for you.

With every good wish, and my blessing.


Timeline of the new St Thomas’

1957Feast of St Thomas’ 2Ist December foundation stone laid.
Bishop Simkin and W.A. Stevenson (Donor)
1958December 21 – St Thomas’ consecrated by Bishop Simkin
1959May – Tree planting on site. 16 young trees planted
24 May – Service to acknowledge
First stage of work on church surrounds. Further work to be done when new vicarage constructed
1963Dedication of the hall at St Thomas’ 25th August. Right Rev. S.G. Caulton
After Evensong congregation proceeded to the hall for afternoon tea, after a short dedication service
19661 January – St Thomas’ constituted as a separate parish
New Vicar: Reverend Charles Walter Kent-Johnston. Instituted by Bishop Right Reverend E.A. Gowing
Vicarage built
I967Working bee to clear debris from ruins. Lions Club and Reverend
Kent-Johnston. Stone given to Selwyn College for a rockery, to Home Chapel in Papatoetoe and some was used to form the Altar in the new church
196921 December – 125th anniversary of the first services in St Thomas
9.30am – Festival Eucharist: Archbishop N.Z. Most Reverend N.A. Lesser, D.D.
7.00pm – Festival evensong. Bishop Auckland Right Reverend E.A. Gowing M.A. Ecumenical representation. Archbishop Lesser, Bishop Gowing and Sir William Stevenson each presented with copies of Selwyn College notes on history.
1970Recital series May until November, 16 evening recitals, on Tuesday
nights. Geoffrey Skerrett, Peter Averi, Douglas Mews, Peter Godfrey and Ronald Dellow. School Choirs, Lectures. Organ, gift of Mr Jack Butland.
1973Reverend Kent-Johnston died February 27th. Large ecumenical
attendance at the funeral service.
Reverend H. Simmonds inducted
1979St Mary’s Church, Glen Innes and St Thomas formed a joint
committee to sponsor an Indo Chinese refugee family resettling in New Zealand
198715 March – Collation of Archdeacon of Tamaki, Herbert John
27 November – Farewell Parish Luncheon for Herbert and Margaret Simmonds
198921 May – Jonathan Deacon inducted
1990Bell Tower, dedicated Sunday 2 September. Given by Mrs Barbara
and Trevor Cook
1992September – Arson attacks on St Thomas’ Hall
Mid October – Another arson attack. Sir Paul Reeves became patron of the Restoration Fund.
199325 April – Deconsecration of Parish Hall
May – Various plans proposed for new hall. Decided on wrap around concept proposed by Savory Construction.
19 May – Hall demolished over two days and construction began on new building
Ann Deacon died
17 December – Hall handed over
2I December – Service to mark beginning of Sesqui Centennial Year. Bishop Bruce Moore
1994Sesqui Centennial dinner held on 23 July at Auckland Bridge Club –
speaker Lady Beverley Reeves.
18 September – Thanksgiving service – speaker John Taylor, Headmaster King’s College
23 October – Confirmation – Bishop Bruce Moore
6 November – Sesqui Centennial Service – Archbishop Davis
Memorabilia display – dedication of tree planted in the Ruins
19 November – Fair
21 December – Special Evensong to mark the end of the Sesqui Centennial
Bishop Bruce Moore blessing the new centre with the wardens.



  • Mark Hanson
  • Janet Foster – Diocesan Archives
  • Dr. Alan Curnow – for permission to print his poem


  • Newspaper articles from NZ Herald, Auckland Star.
  • Eastern Courier, Church Gazette, St. Thomas’ Church files

Compiled by Cavell Morgan and Rob Hicks