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New Plymouth’s Anglican cathedral, the Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary, is the country’s oldest stone church. It began as a vision in 1842 when Bishop Selwyn traveled by foot to the tiny settlement of New Plymouth and laid the foundations for the church.
More than 160 years later the Cathedral remains at the spiritual heart of Taranaki. It is tied intricately to the region’s history and development and occupies a prime spot in its central city.
In March 2010 St Mary’s was consecrated as a Cathedral after years as a provisional Cathedral. The ceremony was attended by hundreds of guests and dignitaries including many from the three stands of the Anglican Church – Maori, Pasifika and Pakeha. The service was conducted by The Archbishop of York The Most Reverend Dr John Sentamu, and was deeply moving and significant.
The Cathedral boasts a complex stone structure, a soaring timber ceiling, stained glass windows and historic artifacts. Plaques, flags and church pews mark its connection to the city’s past. Outside, its churchyard houses the graves of Maori and early settlers. There are also some notable trees.
Taranaki Cathedral has long played a commemorative role in the city. Services ranging from those that mark the Battle of Britain to those mourning the loss of lives in the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, have been held.
The Cathedral also contributes to the region’s modern flavour and provides an enduring link to ‘home’. Local people feel an affinity with it – even if away from the region - and many return to marry or have children baptised there.
It remains a place to celebrate all that is good in Taranaki and a striking venue for events, concerts and important occasions. Three services of prayers are held daily and there is a variety of styles of worship offered for all on Sundays.
The Cathedral is open every day, and visitors are welcome.
Address: 37 Vivian Street, New Plymouth, Taranaki, 4310
Phone: (+64) 6 758 3111