Whakapirau, a charming seaside village on the shores of the Kaipara Harbour, is home to St Alban’s Anglican Church. Well-loved in the district this historical icon was built in the late 1890s by local builder, Frank Somner, for the princely sum of 500 pounds ($1,000).
With Chadwick’s mill just down the road beside the present wharf Mr Somner was able to use top quality kauri timber both inside and out and, although the mill is long gone, burnt down in 1906, the church still stands proudly on top of the hill at the entry to the village.
Built to the classic cruciform design St Alban’s is a graceful example of pioneering architecture and enjoys a Category 2 Heritage NZ classification. Frank Somner was clearly a master of his trade and the quality of his workmanship is still very evident today.
The church opened its doors in 1896 to the 150 hardy locals who had braved the cold and the mud to be St Alban’s first congregation. These were folk who had worked long and hard to fund this project. They had done everything from holding flower shows to selling hot water for pots of tea at the Pahi Regattas to raise the money required and were justifiably proud of the result. The church, with its interior of beautiful golden heart kauri, was resplendent with curtains of red velvet and gold braid. While the altar was graced by gleaming brass candle sticks and vases sent out from England by absent relatives. Over the following decades St Alban’s has been maintained by the local congregation and owes its present well preserved state to their efforts.
Under the administration of the Anglican Diocese of Auckland St. Albans holds a 10am Service on the third Sunday of every month conducted by the newly appointed Priest in charge Reverend Colleen Binns.
A warm invitation is extended to all to share our informal gathering in our historic Church at the northern end of the Kaipara Harbour in the charming harbour side village of Whakapirau.

Any questions regarding the Church

can be directed to Rev. Binns at [email protected] We would appreciate any input which would expand this newly posted page.

Source: ‘St Alban’s Anglican Church, Whakapirau, 1896 – 1996’

Hazel Williamson

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