FROM THE ARCHIVES: ST JOSEPH’S PAUATAHANUI
St Joseph’s in Pauatahanui is one of the oldest surviving Catholic churches in the Wellington region, although in its 145 years it has had several changes of name. Opened in 1878 as the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for some reason by 1887 it had become St Joseph’s. The first priest, Fr. Yardin, had apparently insured it as St Michael’s (Centenary booklet, p.18) and for a time it seems it was decided to honour this intention; from 1952-1957 the Catholic Directory lists St Michael’s, Pauatahanui. From 1958 the church name is no longer given so it is unclear how long this lasted.
Does anyone in Plimmerton parish remember why this change happened, how it was received, and when it became St Joseph’s again?
St Joseph’s nearest original neighbour was also a St Joseph’s, opened in 1875 in Ohariu; but in 1892 in a neat mirror-image this was renamed as Sacred Heart. That year Ohariu became part of Lower Hutt parish, in which two of its three churches were already dedicated to St Joseph. Three out of four might have been a St Joseph’s too far; perhaps it was also intended to commemorate the original Pauatahanui dedication.
Image: St Joseph’s Centenary Book Cover from the Archdiocese of Wellington Archives.