Discover Canterbury: St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church held its first service 167 years ago on 1 February 1857. St Andrew’s Church was the first Presbyterian church to be built in Christchurch / Ōtautahi and was originally located at the intersection of Tuam Street and Oxford Terrace.  The initial stage of the building was erected in 1856-1857 and was designed by H. J. Cridland, who was one of the first architects to work in Canterbury. The building has major significance due to its association with a number of pioneering Canterbury families including John and Jane Deans, the Wilsons, Andersons, Hays and Grubbs.


When the church was opened in 1857, the wooden building was only 54 feet by 22 feet. It had to be extended multiple times, once in 1862, when a nave was added, and in 1892 an extension, designed by R.W. England, was built. However, St Andrew’s congregation began to dwindle in the 20th century and by the 1980s, the building was in danger of being closed for good. At this time, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School was looking for a new school chapel and it was relocated to its present site on Merivale Lane in the late 1980s. It now functions as both a school chapel and parish church.

On the Canterbury Stories website, we are lucky to have numerous photographs of the St Andrew's Presbyterian Church including during its relocation.

Do you have any photographs of the St Andrew's Presbyterian Church or other iconic buildings of Christchurch? You can contribute to our collection via the Discovery Wall website.


Christchurch City Council. 2014. St Andrew’s Church and Setting – 59 Hewitts Road, Christchurch: District Plan – Listed Heritage Place – Heritage Assessment – Statement of Significance – Heritage Item Number 271. [online]. Accessed 11th January 2024.

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. 2024. St Andrew’s Church (Presbyterian). [online]. Accessed 11th January 2024.

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