This online tour contains extracts from the Cathedral guide book written by Judy Bradwell. More details may be obtained from guide books on the entrance table of the Cathedral and for sale in the Cathedral shop by the entrance porch.

The cathedral viewed from Parliament

Main entrance and Commemorative Tower

The decision to complete the Cathedral, and raise the $6 million needed for it, was taken in 1992 by the Wellington Diocese Synod, persuaded by Dean Michael Brown, with the support of Archbishop Brian Davis.   A further 3 bays were added to the nave, and a new and permanent narthex, porch and gallery built…

Hutton window

Narthex

The narthex of a cathedral is the entrance or lobby area, located at the end of the nave, at the far end from the church’s main altar. Traditionally the narthex was a part of the church building, but was not considered part of the church proper. The Dean’s office is on the left and the…

Chapel without walls

Chapel Without Walls

This ‘chapel without walls’ in on the left as you enter the Cathedral. Votive tea-light candles may be lit here and prayer requests left on the altar.

Landmarks

Landmarks

This installation is designed and dedicated as a national tribute to the women of New Zealand – to the contribution they have made to the social, economic, political and spiritual development of the country. It also pays tribute to the legislative and social changes which have made New Zealand a world leader in the advancement…

Chunuk Bair memorial

Chunuk Bair memorial

Chunuk Bair was captured from the Turks by the Wellington Battalion in August 1915. It was the furthest point reached by any of the allied forces before the retreat from an ill-fated World War I campaign that cost very many lives. The white stone in the centre was taken from the memorial at Gallipoli, Turkey….

Tribute to the building industry

Tribute to the building industry

A tribute to the building industry of New Zealand: ‘to those who construct in city, town and country, places of habitation and industry, communication, transport and business, education and recreation.’ The Wellington buildings shown include the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, Wellington Railway Station, the Beehive, Seabridge House and the Westpac Trust Stadium. The memorial…

St Paul's conversion

The Nave windows

The stained glass windows in the nave were designed by Brian Thomas, who also designed stained glass for windows in London’s St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey after World War II. He took as his theme words of St Paul at the Areopagus, Athens: ‘The Unknown God; Him I now proclaim.’ The windows made by…

Holm Window

Holm window

The Holm window, a major contribution to the Cathedral’s stained glass, is dedicated to the memory of Captain Ferdinand Holm, founder of the Holm Shipping Company, and his wife Mary Alexander who were married in Old St Paul’s Church in 1870. It depicts St Paul, patron saint of the Cathedral, as the missionary voyager who…

Holland Porch

Holland Porch

The Holland Porch is named after Herbert St Barbe Holland, 5th Bishop of Wellington from 1927-1946. The Cathedral’s foundation stone was laid by a young Queen Elizabeth II on 13 January 1954 on her first visit to New Zealand and blessed by Archbishop Owen. Construction began the following year.

Cross of Nails

Cross of Nails

This Cross of Nails was made from some of the thousands of nails which fell from the roof of the Abbey Church of St Michael’s, Coventry, England when it was bombed on November 14, 1940. The Cross, which was presented to the Cathedral, is on the Canon’s stall at the left of the chancel steps…

Chancel

Chancel

The first stage of the new Cathedral, finished in 1964, was considerably shorter than its present exterior length of 88 metres. The sanctuary and chancel were complete, the ‘star’ ceiling where the chancel meets the nave was in place, 18 metres above. However the 24 metre wide nave stopped short at the first bay.  …

Modern Madonna mosaic

Modern Madonna mosaic

Modern Madonna, mosaic by New Zealand potter, painter and print-maker, Roy Cowan. This is found in the Amnesty Chapel, on the left side of the Cathedral near the High Altar.

Bishop's Chair

Bishop’s Chair

The Latin word for chair is cathedra, which gives its name to the place where the Bishop’s chair is housed: a Cathedral. The Bishop represents the Apostles of old; he is charged with the responsibility of the oversight and care of that part of New Zealand, the lower part of the country’s North Island, which is…

Sedilia carving

Sedilia

The ten sedilia, the seats for clergy and assisting ministers, beside the altar in the sanctuary, are of moulded concrete. The seat backs, crafted by a team of expert joiners in Wellington, are made from Japanese oak. Each seat back has 28 pieces of wood and most of the design is hand carved. The figures…

Altar

Altar

The floor in the sanctuary, where the Cross and the candlesticks stand on the altar, is white Carrara marble, a setting designed to reflect the biblical quotation ‘And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal…’ (Revelation 4: 6) The candlesticks and 1.5 metre high Cross were designed in London and…

Dossal

Dossal

The dossal behind the altar – the word dossal is French and refers specifically to an altar hanging – was hung in 1990 and is yet another dramatic work of art created for the Cathedral by Beverley Shore Bennett. The centre panel depicts the overshadowing presence of Christ who promises to be present ‘wherever two…

John 15: 1 'I am the True Vine'

Ambulatory stained glass windows

The pairs of windows in the back ambulatory (the passage in behind the high altar) are based round the ‘I am’ statements of Jesus – the Bread, the Way, the Vine, the Life, the Resurrection, the Lamb of God. The windows contain many symbols, which elaborate on these themes, for example the life cycle of…

LadyChapel

Lady Chapel

The Lady Chapel was formerly the parish church of St Paul’s in Paraparaumu. Designed by the diocesan architect Frederick de Jersey Clere, 1856-1952, the church was opened on its Paraparaumu site in 1905. In 1990, there was a need for a larger church in Paraparaumu nearer the main residential areas. After this was built, Paraparaumu…

RoofSpace

Hidden Spaces

This page contains information and photographs of the hidden spaces of the cathedral – areas that are not normally open to the public. The Crypt houses various meeting and storage rooms, and the heating equipment for the cathedral. A cleverly disguised door into the boiler room: Roof Space It is possible to walk the length…