Our History 1930 –

The 1930s was a very difficult time for St Luke’s both financially and spiritually. Attendance dwindled and there was no money to pay for necessary repairs to the buildings. It looked like St Luke’s would have to close down. Reverend Neville Watkins was appointed in February 1938 and through his strong leadership and hard work bankruptcy was averted. A special campaign was mounted including the distribution of an appeal leaflet showing the church with a large for sale sign in front.


By the end of his tenure Rev Watkins had overseen the return of the Parish to a much healthier state. The choir had been revived and a new organ installed. Most importantly the church was returned to the strong spiritual footing it had once previously experienced.

As with other parts of New Zealand the war years were a difficult time for St Luke’s. One hundred men from the parish left to serve overseas and 26 did not return. After the war a memorial fund was established. It funded the beautiful Memorial Window (above the altar) which was unveiled in 1952. The history of the Memorial Window is: HERE

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In 1942 the workload of the vicar were significantly increased with the addition of responsibility for St Anne’s in Northland. Help came in the form of a curate in 1947 but that lasted only until the following year. The high workload involved in running the Wadestown-Northland parochial district ensured a fairly rapid turn-over of vicars. In 1953 a formal motion was passed at the annual meeting requiring vestry to consider the possibility of Wadestown becoming a full parish. This was finally achieved in 1960. St Luke’s continued to grow slowly and steadily.

The church was renovated and strengthened against earthquakes during the 1970s and a new vicarage at 55 Pitt St was bought. In 1981 St Luke’s celebrated its centenary together with Wadestown School and the Wadestown Presbyterian Church with a week of festivities.

After many years of discussion and indecision, the parish, led by vicar Helen Jacobi, finally decided the old Churchroom known by this time as the small hall would be demolished and replaced with a purpose built centre better suited to the needs of the 21st century. The parish once again established a building fund and fundraising began in earnest. As part of this the larger brick hall which needed earthquake strengthening and upgrading was sold and has since been converted into an attractive apartment with a flat underneath.

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Much of the information in this section was sourced from Parish Church of St Luke, Wadestown: A Short History 1881-1957 by H.A. Peebles and Saint Luke’s: a Centennial History of the Anglican Church in Wadestown 1881 – 1981 by T. J. Thorpe, M.A.

For a more detailed history see T. J. Thorpe’s history (20MB pdf file): HERE