How to find us:
Click below for a Google map of St John's location.
See below for
details on parking and a map of the complex.
The present St John's church building has stood as a landmark for
over one hundred years. The parish members are very
proud of this architectural
gem in the heart of the city.
Designed by the well-known Wellington architect, Thomas Turnbull,
the third church at the Willis Street-Dixon Street corner was built
in the colonial timber Gothic style. The kauri timber used
in construction of the exterior of St John's by the builder James
Wilson came from a sawmill in Courtenay Place about 2 kms from where
the church stands. Within the church itself the timber is
kauri, totara and red pine, the main beams being kauri. The
tower is divided into three storeys: a vestibule where morning teas
can be held after Sunday services, a staircase landing and a bell
chamber. The vestibule which was completely refurbished in
1993, was gifted with splendid kauri arches by the building contractors,
Fletcher Construction, made from recycled timber.
The interior of the church
is spacious with expansive use of native timber in the curved rows
of pews and chancel. There is much to be admired in the craftsmanship
of the joinery and the decorative style used in the roof beams and
balcony supports. Memorial windows set in the north end of
the church are lit up in the evenings: a magnificent sight for anyone
passing the Willis Street site.
The building is historically
significant and has received a B classification from the New Zealand
Historic Places Trust. Partly shielded from the Willis Street
traffic by pohutukawa trees, it offers the visitor a captivating
insight into New Zealand's colonial past.
Although the Church is not open during
the weekdays, we are always pleased to take visitors through it
Earthquake Resilience and Strengthening October 2012
Like many Wellington buildings,earthquake
strengthening is an issue for the St John's church building.
This link provides details. Session and Council have concluded
that we can continue using the Church for services but the known
risks are outlined in a notice displayed at the front entrance to
the Church. It is included i the link above. Plans for
earthquake strengthening of the Church building are now being developed.
The Mackay Chapel
Dedicated at Easter 1994, the chapel is a long awaited and valuable
addition to the worship facilities at St John's in the City, thanks
to a very generous bequest from a former member, Miss Margaret MacKay.
A feature of the chapel
is the magnificent Aitken stained glass windows depicting the Last
supper. They were made in Edinburgh in 1903 with the objects based
on Leonardo da Vinci's 15th century painting on the wall of a convent
in Milan. Originally part of the Aitken family parish church, Lochend,
in Campbelltown, when the Church was demolished in 1985, the windows
were carefully removed and stored in Edinburgh. A descendant of
the family was largely responsible for the idea that these windows
should be brought to Wellington and installed in St John's.
With generous assistance
from numerous individuals, commercial and church organizations in
New Zealand and Scotland, the Aitken memorial windows eventually
arrived in Wellington. They have been cleaned and restored
and now provide a magnificent spiritual focus for worship and a
priceless treasure for St Johns in the City and Wellington City
The chapel is open for
meditation from 8:30 to 4:30 pm Mondays through until Friday. Evening
services are also held in the chapel on Sunday evenings.
From the early days, a Sunday School had been attached to St John's
Church. After a fire in 1884, a larger building was thought
necessary. Accordingly, an adjoining property, including an early
colonial house known as Spinks Cottage, was bought late in 1884.
cottage, which had been used as a home and a school for some years
by the family of William Spinks, a local storekeeper, became the
home of the church officer. In 1967, it was renovated and
made part of a small church hostel for young men and women who attended
Victoria University of Wellington. Early in the 1980s it was
moved again to make way for church redevelopment, expenses being
met by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. Now alongside
Dixon Street, Spinks Cottage, which was originally built between
1858 and 1863, has been refurbished and has received a B classification
from the Historic Places Trust.
Downstairs rooms are accessible
by booking through the Church Office located at the bottom of Troup
House. They are now mainly used as a youth centre. St
John's is considering the possibility of establishing a cafe in
the cottage as of 2006.
Situated on MacDonald Crescent, Troup House is a modern four-storied
building that was commissioned in 1993. This new building
replaced the original wooden Bible Class rooms and the gymnasium
that was used as recently as 1992 by the Boys Brigade. The
first floor of Troup House holds the Youth Group Room as well as
the Youth Coordinator's office. The second floor is leased
to Capital City Pre-School, which caters for children from three
to five years of age. The top two floors are presently occupied
by tenants, including the BGI and Wellington Bible College, both
of whom have relationships with St John's.
The Church Office is located
at the bottom of Troup House, just up some steps near the main door
to the Conference Centre through the Courtyard. Alternatively,
access is possible at the top of Dixon St before it turns into McDonald
Crescent, at the top of the Cottage, by walking past four covered
carparks. The office provides space for our two Ministers,
and office staff, together with a meeting area. The extension
to Troup House to accommodate the Office was completed in July 2004.
The Conference Centre
(aka The Church Hall)
We are fortunate to have a modern Hall complex which was opened
in March 1994.
This modern facility has a large, well-equipped kitchen, conference
and seminar rooms, and an acoustically designed multiple use hall
on the ground floor. While priority must be given to the use
of the Centre by our Congregation, we are always pleased to let
it out to community groups and others for a myriad of occasions
ranging from seminars, public forums and lectures to wedding receptions.
The top floor of the Centre,
which is primarily used by the Girls and Boys Brigade and Sunday
School, has several teaching rooms, as well as a small kitchen
and gymnasium. There are also changing rooms with shower and toilet
facilities. Once again, these facilities can be used on request
by other groups, when available.
For further information on what is available and the cost, please
refer to Visitors
for parking during services are as follows:
There is parking available
in the following places:
number of disabled parking spaces in the church grounds immediately
in front of the church;
behind the church
and in the basement garage of the St John’s Centre, primarily
for the elderly and infirm or those with small children. Please
note that parking spaces 4, 5, 9 and 10 are to be kept free at all
times, including Sundays. The organist’s carpark, no 16, is solely
for the use the organist at all time. (access from Willis
free two hour
parking on Willis Street between Dixon Street and Ghuznee Street
(and further South) and on Dixon Street and McDonald Crescent (west
of the church);
12 parks are
available to the west of the New Zealand Film Commission building
at 119 Ghuznee Street. They are available on Sunday mornings. At
other times, this is a tow away area;
is also available at a number of carparks around the church. The
cheapest option at the time of writing is the Wilson Parking Building
at 151 Willis Street (just north of the Dixon St intersection) at
$1/half hour on Sunday mornings.
behind the St Peter’s apartments, across Willis St from St Peter’s
Church. The cost is $5 for 6 hours on a Sunday.
Please consult the church office if you require a
space at any time during the week. Generally, we can provide one.
By directing you to a space we know is not in use, we can avoid
with those who have prior parking arrangements with us.
Please note that the stylistic
map below of the St John's site requires editing to show a change
in our layout - The church office is now accessed from the Courtyard
at the bottom of Troup House, having shifted from Spink's Cottage.