St. Anne’s Catholic Church
22 Emmett Street
The Church in Newtown:
- Land was purchased between Green and Daniell Streets and a new school was opened in 1893.
- In 1897 a small chapel was opened in Newtown but within months this was inadequate. It was decided to build a new school and enlarge the existing school to use solely as a church.
- Fr Ainsworth SM was appointed as the first Parish Priest of the new Wellington South parish of St Anne’s in 1902. The parish included Island Bay, Kilbirnie, Miramar and Seatoun which would later become separate parishes.
- Polish Chaplains began saying Mass in Newtown in the 1950’s. From about 1974 the Polish community began having Mass at St Joachim’s which was built in 1966.
- The Catholic Samoan Community formally began in Wellington in 1955. Initially a monthly Mass in Samoan was held at St Joseph’s. In 1968 they moved their base to Newtown.
- The Cook Island Community at St Anne’s began celebrating Mass together in the 1970’s.
- In the late 1970’s a Vietnamese Chaplain was appointed to serve the people in Newtown and for a time a weekly Mass was celebrated at St Joseph’s in Mount Victoria, where he was based. Later, in the 1980’s a monthly Mass in the Vietnamese language was celebrated at St Anne’s.
- The new church was opened in December 1975.
- The new school was opened in September 1984.
This page is a “work in progress”.
Information from The Four Winds – A History of St Anne’s Parish, Newtown Cecily McNeill
NEWSLETTER 23 JULY 2017
Celebrating the Feast of St Anne
The beginning years of St Anne’s Parish 1839 – 1920
Before the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi very few Europeans had settled in Wellington. So when the New Zealand Company’s ship the Tory arrived in September 1839 problems arose between Maori and settlers who wanted land to build their homes. Eventually 217 acres in the greater Wellington area were administered by a Trust. Of this agreement 36 acres became Newtown by 1847.
Wellington had been divided into two Catholic Parishes – St Mary’s Cathedral in Hill St and St Mary of the Angels in Boulcott St. With the increasing Catholic population, especially in Newtown by 1885, it was evident that a Church building was needed. A fundraising project resulted in having a Parish school in a rented two storeyed house in Adelaide Rd. The Sisters of Mercy who lived at St Mary’s Convent Guilford Tce were asked to staff the school of approximately 100 pupils. “The school was blessed and opened by Fr Kerrigan SM” ( The Catholic Times 1890 )
However, increasing numbers by 1892 meant buying two acres of land between Green and Daniell St. A new school was built and blessed by Archbishop Redwood SM in April 1893. Two apartments built near the school were for the Sisters use.
A small Chapel opened in 1897. By 1900 this Chapel was too small for the parishioners.
In the meantime a two storeyed Convent had been built for the Sisters of Mercy who until then had been travelling three miles (4.8 kms ) from St Mary’s Convent Guilford Tce. Some of the pioneer Sisters were Srs: Camillus Tracey, Chanel Burton, Imelda Aisher and Aloysius O’Shea.
The Sisters of Mercy continued their teaching and pastoral ministry in St Anne’s Parish when they moved from Green St to 42 Rintoul St in 1989.
Land was bought in Wilson St in 1898 for the first presbytery. In September 1902 Fr John Ainsworth SM was appointed administrator of the new Parish of St Anne’s which included Island Bay, Kilbirnie, Miramar and Seatoun. Later,in 1906 the Daniell St presbytery was built.
By April 1903 with a pupil roll of 300 a larger school building was needed. Once more fundraising efforts enabled that to be built by June 1903 when it was also used as a church. (It was replaced by the present school in 1984.) In 1904 a Chapel, music room and two more classrooms were added to the ground floor of the Convent. The classrooms became St Joseph’s High School for fee-paying pupils. It was a source of income for the Sisters’ living needs.
Sr Augustine McDonald taught music as another source of income.
In 1906 another school in Tasman St was opened for 70 infants (Primers 1 & 2 ). By 1911 it was closed and the site taken over by the Marist Brothers who moved from Boulcott to Tasman St. Br Justin was principal of the school with a roll of about 200 pupils.
From 1893 Catholics used the Buckle St Church for Sunday Mass until the school was enlarged. The new additions could be used for classes and for Sunday Mass. This was the normal practice until the first St Anne’s Church was built.
The Marist Priests administered the Parish until 1920.
They were Frs John Ainsworth SM 1902 – 1907, Archdeacon Thomas Devoy SM 1908 – 1920, Alfred Thomas Herring SM 1908 – 1915 Hospital Chaplain.
Sr Patricia Clarke RSM July 2017
From The Four Winds by Cecily McNeill
Sisters of Mercy Wellington Archives by Sr Stephanie Kitching RSM