St Patrick’s Church, Hawea Flat, New Zealand

My daughter’s friend lived in this charming historic church in Central Otago, which was designed by the renowned George Gilbert Scott. He was the architect of the Christchurch Cathedral which was destroyed by the earthquake of 2011. It was the first church in the area (soon followed by St Ninyans and another near Tarras). It was deconsecrated around 1980 (I think) and has been used as a community centre and now a residence.
It would be wonderful to see it restored sometime, but the current owner seems to be doing a fairly decent job of preserving it.
The light was quite amazing the first day we photographed it, but we went back a second time and got some more, equally interesting shots.

The view from the road as we approached.Wan14FB---15

The light was just amazing that day – it was very cloudy, but there were breaks to the west, giving the church a very warm, welcoming look.Wan14FB---9

The cross at the front of the building.Wan14FB---10     Some little girl’s shoes left in the window a while back…Wan14FB--60

When the sun disappeared, the church appeared almost Gothic, with brutal detail. This is the rear view – the altar would have been just behind those windows back in the day. It is the kitchen area now. StP-ext-fb-2Similar view to the golden light a few images up. Not so welcoming here.


Let me introduce you to two of the residents. Straw men, wearing old prisoner and guard of the local work camp. I don’t recall how they were obtained exactly – but they were sold to the local Moari after the prison system shifted to the much more fashionable day-glo orange.Wan3-StP-7 FB

Last light of day – a bit Wuthering Heights… it doesn’t really get much more romantic than this…Wan14FB---13

Published by Titirangi Storyteller

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8 thoughts on “St Patrick’s Church, Hawea Flat, New Zealand

  1. Hi there!
    Yep, it’s me imaging, crawling out of the grave. So much happened over the last two years. I see you’re still powering on, and my word, how much more glorious can you get. Really wonderful seeing what you’ve been up to.
    I’m trying to ressurect my blog….lost a lot of stuff on it, so trying to reclaim it from here and there!
    I hope you are doing well,


    1. Hi Kenny! I am so so glad to see you are back! Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I have seriously been past my eyeballs on a project, doing 16 hour days for the last month or so and either working or too exhausted to think. I am hoping it will lighten up now… something’s got to give and I hate not having time for the stuff I love best!
      I have been having a good time the last couple of years though and really pushing myself creativity-wise into some new and more challenging directions. And pretty happy with the results… Don’t think I could have made this set of photos even a year ago. Pretty chuffed with them I am 🙂
      So now that I have a moment, I’ll wander over to your neck of the woods and see what you are getting up to!


  2. Veronica,
    What an amazing series of shots. I have always wanted to live in an old church, which is strange considering my non belief, but the architecture, you know? Sorry I haven’t been around much. Life……….


    1. Oh thank you! I really am chuffed with these… and the entire south island. I did some incredible stuff there this past year – I was determined to do something different than I had before (we go there every late autumn/early winter)… skipped most of my old favourite haunts and discovered some new and amazing skills I didn’t know I had. I might event post some of them one of these days!
      Oy! Not sure quite why I got into this new project – I thought my life needed something. But I don’t think this is it… I am just feeling overwhelmed and disconnected. Like and unnecessary transition – where I am not really getting from one place to another, just feelin the stress and anxiety that usually accompanies major changes… And the change I might need is really not to be changing at all! Sigh…


      1. I can relate. You think path a is going to be perfect until you run into a steep cliff and a rather large drop to the rocks below. You sound stressed and overworked.


  3. St Patricks in RD2 Wanaka was designed by Francis Petre. Is there any possibility of accessing the original drawings, a photo copy?


    1. Hi Fionn, I’ve recently learned that it was indeed designed by Francis Petre and have been meaning to update this post.
      I only know of the building and property through the previous tenant. I met the current tenant this past winter and took a few more shots, but I doubt they have more information. The owner lives oversees apparently and there is some discussion about restoration or possible sale in the next couple of years. But this is hearsay.
      Sorry, but I don’t have any more information. You might try contacting the Catholic Church Diocese in Christchurch. While it’s been de-consecrated, I would imagine it remains part of their historical records.


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