He Hīkoi Whakapono: A Journey of Faith

WelCom August 2021 This month the WelCom’s Hīkoi of Faith visits Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish and School – Te Whaea Tapu o Kāpiti. The parish area includes Paekakariki, Raumati,…

WelCom August 2021

He Hīkoi Whakapono: A Journey of Faith Archdiocese of Wellington

This month the WelCom’s Hīkoi of Faith visits Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish and School – Te Whaea Tapu o Kāpiti. The parish area includes Paekakariki, Raumati, Paraparaumu,  Otorohanga, Waikanae, Peka Peka and Te Horo.

The parish is a combination of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Waikanae and St Patrick’s Parish and School, Paraparaumu. After becoming a reunited parish in 2013, the parish followed Cardinal John Dew’s invitation to all Archdiocesan parishes to ‘Build a Future Full of Hope’, by reviewing its buildings so that they were fit for mission. This led to the redevelopment on a new site in the centre of the new parish.

History continues to show the wisdom of this decision. Kāpiti population is currently around 55,000 and expected to increase by 30,000 in the next few years. Already, the school roll that commenced at 120, is now at its capacity of 250 and additional classrooms are being planned, to facilitate future enrolments. 

Our Lady of Kāpiti is a parish of tremendous talent and energy, of all age groups and cultures, with a depth of diversity and quality and a flourishing future of faith, hope, and outreach.

Brief Parish History 

1857: St Mary’s Church, Ōtaki, started by Fr Jean-Baptiste Comte.

1887: St Mary’s Church, Ōtaki, completed – Fr François Melu.

1896: St Patrick’s Church, Paraparaumu, opened – Fr François Melu.

1911: Sacred Heart Church, Te Horo, opened – Fr François Melu.

1932: Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Paekakariki, opened – Fr François Melu.

1951: West Coast Beaches – designated new parish, included Paekakariki, Raumati South, Raumati, Paraparaumu, Paraparaumu Beach. Mass centre at Blue Moon, Paraparaumu, blessed – Fr Jack Dunn, pp. 

1951: Our Lady of Fatima, Waikanae, opened – Fr Jack Dunn.

1952: Sacred Heart Church Te Horo, dismantled, used in building of church in Waikanae.

1954: Seven Presentation Sisters arrived from Thurles, Ireland. St Patrick’s School opened at Blue Moon Hall. St Patrick’s School, Tongariro St, and Presentation Convent opened – Fr Jack Dunn.

1958: Our Lady of Lourdes 12.5m statue commissioned and built – Fr Jack Dunn. Blessed by Cardinal McKeefry.

1960: Presentation College opened – Presentation Sisters. St Paul’s by the Sea, Raumati South – blessed and opened, Fr Jack Dunn. Closed a few years later due to future roading plans.

1966: New St Patrick’s Church, Paraparaumu, blessed and opened – Mons Bill Heavy.

1973: Presentation College closed – Presentation Sisters.

1982: Waikanae became separate parish – Fr Noel Donohue, pp.

1987: Dedication of extended Our Lady of Fatima Church, Waikanae – Cardinal Peter McKeefry.

2011: Cenacle Sisters move from Johnsonville to Waikanae.

2013: Promulgation by Cardinal John Dew forming Parish of Our Lady of Kāpiti, Te Whaea Tapu o Kāpiti, with merger of Our Lady of Fatima, Waikanae, and St Patrick’s Paraparaumu. Inaugural Mass for new parish celebrated at Southwards.

2014: Purchase of new site for parish and school at Milne St, later named Presentation Way. New church and parish centre vision, fundraising and construction led by Fr Michael McCabe pp, parish steering committee and parish community.

2015: New site blessed – Fr Michael McCabe pp, and Māori elders with kaumātua Tuki Takiwa. 

2016: St Patrick’s School closed.

2017: Final Mass at St Patrick’s Church. 

2017: Our Lady of Kāpiti School and St Patrick’s Hall opened and blessed – Cardinal John Dew. Parish/School Hall becomes interim Mass centre.

2017: New L’Arche Community homes opened and blessed – Tuki Takiwa and Fr Michael McCabe

2018: Taonga burial under chapel site.

2019: Final Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Waikanae.

2019: Construction began on new church and parish centre.

2020: New church and parish centre building completed. Inaugural Mass and blessing of Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish Church – Cardinal John Dew.

Source: ‘Let’s Build a Church – Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish/Te Whaea Tapu o Kāpiti’, Pauline McGinchey

The blessing of accompaniment 

Michael McCabe, Parish Priest

Pope Francis speaks often about accompaniment – the gift of being present with the people of God on our journey of faith. He also writes beautifully about the gift of discernment – the active process of listening to the signs of the times and the particular needs of the Church within a particular culture and time. 

To walk with the people of God in Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish since its formation in 2013 has been my privilege as its pastor. The leadership groups of finance, pastoral council, and liturgy, from the earlier parishes of St Patrick’s and Our Lady of Fatima combined and, in an admirable spirit of unity, formed its new pastoral vision as our response to Cardinal John Dew’s pastoral letter, ‘A Future Full of Hope.’ 

The completion and opening of our new parish church and parish centre in 2020 was the fruit of much patient discernment, prayer, and sacrifice. We began with a series of memorable breakfast meetings as the redevelopment group began to dream and plan for the future needs and good of the parish. Throughout our discernment and planning we received wonderful support and encouragement from Cardinal Tom Williams and the retired priests and religious sisters living in Kāpiti. They gently reminded us that the paschal mystery involves suffering and death as well as resurrection. 

Our journey has involved the heartache of closing three churches and parish school, two presbyteries, and the Presentation Sisters Convent, but these losses have now become a wellspring of hope for our future ministries in Christ. 

Our parishioners have enjoyed WelCom’s Hīkoi of Faith series from our two dioceses and drawn inspiration and challenge for our own journey of faith here at Our Lady of Kāpiti parish. That is the gift we give back to all WelCom readers in this taste of parish life here at Te Whaea Tapu o Kāpiti.

Parish liturgy and ministry 

Maureen Borkin, Parish Council Chair

He Hīkoi Whakapono: A Journey of Faith Archdiocese of Wellington
Morning tea at L’Arche. Photo: Supplied
The L’Arche Kāpiti community involves two homes and a day activity centre for people with disabilities, and those who assist them. They live together sharing life with one another and building community as responsible adults, contributing to society, regardless of any physical or intellectual limitations.

At Our Lady of Kāpiti parish, we are increasingly blessed with our multicultural community. We are frequently reminded of St John Paul II’s beautiful phrase: ‘Culture is indeed the first voice of the sacred’.

At heart is our monthly Miha, which has been celebrated regularly in the parish since the 1980s when Katekita such as Robert Ngāia and Tuki Takiwa supported the Māori Pastoral Team and priests including Fr Don Hamilton, Pā Hemi Hekiera and Pā Piripi Cody. These were then outside of parish Mass times but since 2010 Miha has been celebrated each month as one of our weekend Masses. 

Thanks to the leadership and support of parishioners Pauline and the late Tuki Takiwa as well as Marguerite Osborne, Oriwa Law and Wai Stewart, we have grown in confidence and appreciation of this gift. The blessing of the Miha and the growing comfort among parishioners with its hymns and chants has been complemented by the regular monthly Masses led by the Filipino community.

Since the memorable dedication of our church on the feast of Pentecost last year, 2020, our parish has increasingly focussed on its mission to reach out to those on the peripheries of the Church and society. This has meant the renewal and refreshment of our liturgy, prayer and sacramental life, the Adult Catechumenate and faith formation, our service of the poor, as well as strengthening our well-known tradition of hospitality to all. The men’s and women’s retreat days and Passionist family groups have all helped to reinforce a sense of inclusivity and welcome. 

We have been especially blessed in the presence and example of our L’Arche community and the leadership of a renewed St Vincent de Paul Society, its community garden at L’Arche, and its strong links with other Christian churches here in Kāpiti. Similarly, the growth of our parish school and youth ministry, have brought abundant blessings to the young and to family life in the parish.

Our Lady of Kāpiti School

Isabel Carberry

He Hīkoi Whakapono: A Journey of Faith Archdiocese of Wellington
Our Lady of Kāpiti Catholic school, opened in 2017, continues to flourish and grow. Photo: WelCom

Our Lady of Kāpiti School legacy began as St Patrick’s School in 1954. The dream began the year before when Archbishop Peter McKeefry invited the Presentation Sisters of Ireland to come and teach in Paraparaumu. The school was originally built in Tongariro St and hundreds of local students gained their Catholic education there over the decades that followed. 

When the Archdiocese purchased a site on Milne Drive in January 2014, a new stage in our school’s history began. The school site was blessed by Cardinal John Dew in 2016 and building began soon after. Thanks to a dedicated building team the school was ready to open in record time in February 2017, taking on the new name of the amalgamated parish – Our Lady of Kāpiti. 

Under the leadership of principal Martin Elms, 119 students in five classrooms began their 2017 academic year at the new site. With its purpose-built classrooms and beautiful grounds, we knew we would be the envy of all other primary schools in Kāpiti.

After the retirement of Martin Elms, Viv Conroy became the school’s principal in 2018. An experienced local teacher who was an active member of the parish, it didn’t take Viv long to embrace the school’s special character and build on its legacy. Under her direction and guidance, the school has grown from strength to strength, retaining its unique whānau atmosphere as the number of students has grown. This has been achieved largely due to the dedicated staff who have embraced our newly-formed FAITH values – Fun, Aroha, Integrity, Togetherness and Hospitality – into everything we do.

With student numbers fast approaching the legislated maximum, the school was directed to close its non-preference roll in 2020. Numbers showed no sign of slowing though so in 2021, under the guidance of the Ministry of Education and the Archdiocese of Wellington, the school began the process of establishing an enrolment scheme. We have also requested an increase of our maximum role to 350.

Now it seems the school is about to embark on the next stage of its journey because an increase in our maximum roll will require new buildings. Yet, none of this would be necessary if it wasn’t for the growing parish community, which we are part of and the close relationship we have with each other. Because of this we are able to provide a strong faith-based education that our students will be able to take with them as they grow in their everyday lives.

Our Lady of Kāpiti School currently has 10 dedicated teachers, a team of incredible support staff and a committed principal. We are supported by an active Board of Trustees made up of four proprietors’ representatives and five parent representatives. We are all looking forward to continuing the growth and development of our school where our focus continues to be our students and our special Catholic character.

Isabel Carberry, Board Chair of Our Lady of Kāpiti School, with input from Viv Conroy and Kate Bertham.

Youth Ministry on the Coast

Jacqui McLaughlin

The world is a dynamic one with change often seeming to be at a breakneck pace. For Youth Ministry on the Coast, 2021 has given us a chance to look at how to move forward and support out youth on their spiritual journey in a Covid world. How do we reach out and build relationships that will foster our young people’s journey into discipleship when we don’t necessarily see them face-to-face at youth groups or events or even
at Mass? 

Youth groups are but one facet of ministry and we are widening our doors to look at the possibilities that will enable us to communicate with and minister to our youth where they are at. Great words but what do they mean? It means that ministry does not start and stop at the church/or youth-group door but pervades the community at large in the moments we interact with our young people, whether it’s face-to-face or through another medium.

Our aim is to provide as many opportunities as we can to support young people on their spiritual journey and foster their love of God.

Our programmes include: 

  • Fun Time – a weekly music group for pre-schoolers and their carers.
  • J-Team – a twice-a-month youth group for school children in Years 5–7.
  • Gravitate – a twice-a-month youth group for youth in Year 8 and at college.
  • Music Jam – a weekly group for youth in Year 5 and upwards where young people play music and lead music at a monthly youth Mass.

Youth Ministry is not possible without the support and help of leaders, the Kāpiti Catholic Youth Trust and our parish community – thank you to you all for all that you do.

A guiding light for us is St Mother Teresa’s quote:

“Never worry about numbers, Help one person at a time. And always start with the person nearest you.” 

St Mother Teresa
He Hīkoi Whakapono: A Journey of Faith Archdiocese of Wellington


He Hīkoi Whakapono: A Journey of Faith Archdiocese of Wellington



Jacqui McLaughlin is coordinator and administrator, Kāpiti Catholic Child and Youth Ministry, c/- Our Lady of Kāpiti Parish.