Places of Worship

Akaroa and The Bays warmly welcomes all denominations for worship. And with ties to early European settlement, Akaroa is home to historic churches more than 100 years old, but equally cherished today.


The first Catholics arrived in Akaroa in 1840, and some of their descendants still live in the area. Bishop Pompallier celebrated his first Mass in the South Island here in August that year.  The present church was built in 1865, the tower added in 1893. The church features four beautiful statues, stained glass windows with Latin inscriptions and a fine stained glass window  of the Crucifixion of Christ behind the altar that was crafted in Germany and gifted to the church in 1930. The church was completely renovated with new lighting and heating installed 2018.

Mass Times:

 St Patrick's   Sunday 9.30am    Wed & Friday  10.00am

Little River  Second Sunday  5.00pm  At Service Centre

 Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals are celebrated as required.

 St Patrick's church on Rue Lavaud is open daily to visit and pray.

Summer Season:  Cruise Ship Passengers Mass at 12.00 noon

Parish Priest:  Fr Geoffrey Gray

Church of Saint Patrick (1865) - Catholic
Address: 29 Rue Lavaud
P.O. Box 30
Akaroa    7542.    New Zealand
Phone  03 304 7083 



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St Peter's Anglican Church 1864

St Peter’s Anglican Church


St Peter’s Anglican Church and Trinity Presbyterian Church have combined form the Akaroa Combined Church. Sunday services are held at 10.00 am, at St Peter’s on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month and at Trinity Presbyterian on the 2nd and 4th Sundays.  Newsletters on the notice boards outside each church advertise services and special events.

St Peter’s is a Selwyn-inspired church built of totara, with a beautiful interior, and is open most days for people to visit. 

To find out more details of service times, who we are and what we do, please visit our website


“This Jesus God raised up, and that we all are witnesses” Acts 2:32


The French settlers had arrived in Akaroa ten years before the first Anglican church was built in 1851.  It was situated at No.54 Church St. on a section that is now part of the Area School in Rue Jolie.  The architect was Samuel Farr, and the contract price for the building was £98.

The congregation, and a more central site was given by the resident magistrate, Mr John Watson, in Rue Balguerie.  The building of St. Peter's was made possible by grants from the Canterbury Provincial Government, the Diocese, the sale of the Church Street Church and subscriptions from personal donors.  Work commenced on the new Church in 1863 and was completed in 1864.  It is thought to be a Selwyn Church after George Augustus Selwyn, the first Bishop of New Zealand.  The builders were Messrs. Checkley, Bates, and Newton.

A meeting of parishioners in 1876 referred to the need for more room, and Messrs Kane and Drewett drew up plans for enlargement.  Transepts were added, giving extra space for the choir and organ.  The sanctuary was retained and moved eastward.  Mr Penlington's tender of £280 for the work was accepted.  On St. Mark's Day, 25th April 1877, the new transepts were opened with a choral service with selections from the "Messiah".

In October 1907 repairs were made to the cross on top of St. Peter's; damaged by the wind.  Two years later the Church was painted for £17, in 1950 it was again painted for £140.  By 1996 the cost for painting, including the lounge, had risen to $10,875.

The Rev. William Josiah Aylmer became the first Vicar in 1851.  He and his wife together with six children made "Glencarrigh" their home, during his 33 years in Akaroa.  Still standing but with additions, it is located at No.7 Percy Street, in that part of town once called Aylmerton.  A keen gardener and lover of nature, he was much loved by his parishioners, and laid strong foundations for the growing Parish.  He retired in 1873 and continued to live in Akaroa until his death in 1883.  His body was laid to rest in the Akaroa Cemetery, and his name lives on in the beautiful Aylmer's Valley.  William and Percy Streets are named after a son and daughter respectively.

St. Peter's has many memorials that speak for themselves, but the grave in the churchyard needs an explanation.  The inscription on it reads “Sacred to the memory of the Rev. E.B. Nevill, Curate of Wanganui.  Born at Nottingham, September 29 1835.  Died January 31 1875”.  His brother, the Right Reverend Samuel Tarratt Nevill, first Bishop of Dunedin, decided that his brother Edmund, should be buried near the east end of the church instead of in the cemetery.  As there was no vicar in Akaroa at the time, the Bishop chose the place of burial and found a grave digger who worked through the night in pouring rain, working under a tarpaulin.  From time to time the Bishop brought hot refreshments.  At about 4.00 am the grave was ready, the coffin was brought, and the Bishop read the burial service.  That morning he left by stage coach for Pigeon Bay, Lyttelton and Christchurch.  The Vestry considered removing the body at a meeting on September 4, 1877 and decided that the grave should remain, but that this burial should not set a precedent for any future interment in the churchyard.

Among the church's treasures is a Communion Set with the Canterbury Arms and inscribed in Latin “For use in the Church of Canterbury”.  This set of paten and chalice is one of the sets that came on the First Four Ships which reached Lyttelton in December 1850.

The organ was installed in 1869 by Richard West of Dunedin who imported it from London.  The action was mechanical throughout.  In 1965 it was found that the trackers, roller boards and action in general was impossible to repair.  Restoration was completed in 1971.  The stops, Open Diapason, Gamba, Dulciana and Principal are on the origins bar and slider chest.  The stop action for these is mechanical.  The remainder of the organ is direct electric.  A one-horse power three-phase motor drives the wooden fan for the blower.

From the first registers we read that in the 1850's and 60's there was a wide range of occupations and professions in Akaroa.  As well as sawyers, carpenters, farmers, shopkeepers, and bushmen, the records speak of a lawyer, doctor, schoolmaster, postmaster, boatman, custom's officer, cooper, brick maker, and hotel keeper.  The first recorded baptisms, marriages and burials were in 1851.  Between 1851 and 1860, of 24 burials, only four passed the age of 40 years and the average age is a little under 27 years.  As well as hardships that the settlers had to face, the early cessation of life was due mainly to the struggle against nature as the records so poignantly show.

Vicars of Akaroa:
• W.J. Aylmer 1851-73                                               
• Henry Cooper 1873-77                                           
• P.C. Anderson 1877- 79                                          
• Harry Stocker 1879-82                                            
• Arthur Davidson 1882-87                                        
• McKenzie Gibson 1887-90                                     
• E.A. Lingard 1891-92                                              
• T. Jasper Smyth 1892-03                                        
• W.W. Sedgwick 1903-04                                        
• A.H. Julius 1904-24                                                 
• Alban Purchas 1924-28                                           
• Cecil Wilson 1928-31                                              
• Henry N. Wright 1931-1937                                    
• A.J. Petrie 1937-40
• R.P. Andrews 1941-43
• Frank Ault 1948-52
• F.C. Allen 1952-55
• Wilfred Bool 1955-61
• John Merton 1961-64
• William Dewey 1964-68
• John Coulson 1968-72
• Lawrence Wards 1972-78
• Donald Williams 1978-84
• Martin Warren 1985-97
• Stephen Baxter 1997-2000
• Diana Rattray 2001-2003
• Rory Redmayne-2004-2010
• 2012-2015 John and Rae Major
• 2015-          Michael Baker

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Trinity Presbyterian Church 1886

Trinity Presbyterian Church


Trinity Presbyterian Church and St Peter’s Anglican Church have combined to form the Akaroa Combined Church. Sunday services are held at 10.00 am, at St Peter’s on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month and at Trinity Presbyterian on the 2nd and 4th Sundays.  Newsletters on the notice boards outside each church advertise services and special events.

The first Presbyterian Church was built at 57 Rue Lavaud in 1860. The present church was erected in 1886. Mainly Music takes place at 10.00 am on Mondays during school terms. These are nationally-organised pre-school music sessions, at which visiting caregivers and children are welcome.

Contact Ken Paulin 03 304 7012 for use of the grounds or buildings, or Clive Weir 3047151.

For more details of service times, who we are and what we do, please visit our website

Akaroa combined churches web site:  

Akaroa Craft Market Contact:

Jose Thomson
Phone: 03 3291000
Cell Phone: 027 4302308

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