He Hīkoi Whakapono: A Journey of Faith

WelCom’s Journey of Faith continues this month to visit the Lower Hutt Parish of the Holy Spirit – Te Wairua Tapu. Formed in 2015, the parish covers four main Lower Hutt suburbs and their constituent areas geographically located across the harbour from Wellington city and surrounded by coastlines and bush tracks.

WelCom May 2024

WelCom’s Journey of Faith continues this month to visit the Lower Hutt Parish of the Holy Spirit – Te Wairua Tapu. Formed in 2015, the parish covers four main Lower Hutt suburbs and their constituent areas geographically located across the harbour from Wellington city and surrounded by coastlines and bush tracks. The parish churches are San Antonio, Eastbourne; Sacred Heart, Petone; St Patrick’s, Wainuiomata; and Our Lady of the Rosary, Waiwhetu. There are two Catholic colleges – Sacred Heart and St Bernard’s in Lower Hutt (featured in WelCom’s profile of Te Awakairangi parish, November 2023) and three primary schools –  Sacred Heart, Petone; Our Lady of the Rosary, Waiwhetu; and St Claudine Thévenet, Wainuiomata. Parish priest, Fr Marlon Peter Maylon svd works alongside the Stewardship teams, many ministries and spiritual interest groups in this vibrant, multicultural parish. Photos: Supplied.

Welcome to the Parish of the Holy Spirit – Te Wairua Tapu

As we all journey together, it is good to reflect on what God wants us to do for our parish communities. God is reaching out to us in mercy, love and compassion. I am delighted with the involvement and participation of all the stewards of the parish. Stewardship Spirituality is a way of life that calls for our response by receiving the gifts of God with gratitude, cultivating our responsibility and sharing them generously in justice with others and returning the gifts with increase to God.

God Bless,

Fr Marlon Peter Maylon, svd, parish priest

Our Mission and Focus

Called, Gifted, Sent Forth. We, the people of God, led and inspired by the Holy Spirit, fed by the Word and the Eucharist, strive to share our faith and live our lives daily as disciples of Christ.

Our parish is richly multicultural, including Māori, Filipino, Samoan, Tongan, Tokelau, Indian, Sri Lankan, Dutch, Polish and several other communities. The Archdiocese of Wellington model of ‘Stewardship’ is our vision in parish leadership.

Our Parish Pastoral Council is responsible for the ‘big picture’, working with our parish priest to plan and foster pastoral activities. Committees for building and maintenance and finance oversee these areas. 

Stewardship teams in each community oversee the cultural and spiritual aspects of their own community within the Pastoral Plan. Many ministries and services provide vital support and assistance within a prayerful environment. For example, we have the Spirited youth music group, faith education, reach out and care activities, altar society, children’s liturgy, youth group, seniors’ group, prayer groups, Sacramental programme, OCIA, marriage preparation, a Vinnies store and three St Vincent de Paul Society conferences in Waiwhetu, Wainuiomata and Petone. 

The Seniors’ group attracts up to 100 people for Christmas meals held in July at Days Bay and December in Wainuiomata. The group celebrates Mass each month, the Anointing sacrament regularly and enjoys social outings. 

Whole parish Masses are held annually on the Feast of Christ the King. The Liturgy teams in each community combined to prepare last year’s whole parish Mass, celebrated at St Patrick’s Church Wainuiomata.

Keeping the wheels turning is ably handled by administration assistants Nilda Campbell and Maria Ashkettle. 

Recent history

On 1 February 2015 the Parish of the Holy Spirit, Te Wairua Tapu, began a new chapter. It was formed by amalgamating four parishes: San Antonio Eastbourne, Our Lady of the Rosary Waiwhetu, Sacred Heart Petone and St Patrick’s Wainuiomata. Archbishop Cardinal John Dew appointed Rev Marlon Peter Maylon svd as our first parish priest. Assisting Fr Marlon since then have been Msgr Charles Cooper, who passed away in January this year, Rev Michael Stieller and Rev John Quang Phan svd. Currently Fr Marlon is assisted by Fr Taliauli Akuila svd.

Religious today 

RNDM Sisters Annette Young, Trish Boyd and Rosy ZinmarHtwe from Myanmar, are resident in the Britannia St convent. In Petone. Rosy is learning English following others in recent years from Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh. Sr Therese Courderc dolc has led the OCIA (Order of Christian Initiation for Adults) programme in Wainuiomata for over three decades. 

The first Mass in the Hutt Valley was celebrated on Christmas Day 1843. The Sisters of Mercy made the arduous journey each day from Hill St, Wellington to teach in the newly established Sacred Heart primary school. In 1907 Archbishop Redwood asked the Mission Sisters to replace them and live next door. However, it was not easy at first. ‘The children acted in a very undisciplined manner. The older boys ran out of school as the mood took them.’

Sr Annette Young rndm and Fr Marlon Maylon with OCIA candidates and newly received members to the Catholic family in 2021: Elizabeth Denholm, Lueta James Leafa, Joshua Nehemiah Leafa-Paki, Riana Ekueta Leafa-Paki, Kade Tumua Leafa-Paki.

Petone and Wainuiomata Samoan communities

Isapela Duffy

For four years, our two communities were the first to have combined Samoan Masses within our parish rather than separate communities. We each have three Samoan Masses a year, and we take turns hosting the Masses. In July each year, we come together as one Samoan community and celebrate our combined Mass with our young adults responsible for the readings and the offertory while the adults focus on the singing. After each Mass, we get together for shared food and conversations while our young adults have their bonding time. 

When these changes were implemented, the opportunity allowed us to build a strong relationship with each other. We got to know our people better, our young people had the opportunity to be part of the Chaplaincy Youth Group and the Sunday School. 

Our dreams and aspirations for our communities and young people are that we continue to serve our Lord in whatever capacity we can fulfil and maintain our current service to our parish community and the Samoan Chaplaincy. Each community meets bimonthly to update everyone on what’s going on in the parish community and the chaplaincy. It is also an opportunity to catch up with our families to make sure everyone is alright and offer support if needed. 

Isapela Duffy is Petone Chairperson and Pauli Sapa Sola Wainuiomata Chairperson.

Wainuiomata Samoan youth group performing the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday for St Patrick’s community. 

Our Lady of the Rosary 

Emily Su’a-Dunn

Our Lady of the Rosary Church community has many active ministry groups including ‘Spirited’, a youth ministry group. We get together once a month and jam contemporary Christian music and other songs. We have pizza lunch together, then jam some more! It’s fun and loud with some great music moments. We have led the Mass at OLR several times, bringing new music for the congregation. All youth, Intermediate school age and older, are welcome to come along to a Spirited session.

Catholic schools

There are currently three Catholic Primary schools in the Parish of the Holy Spirit – Te Wairua Tapu: Sacred Heart, Petone; Our Lady of the Rosary, Waiwhetu; and St Claudine Thévenet, Wainuiomata.

Sacred Heart Primary School Petone
Sacred Heart Primary School Petone, Te Kura o Ngākau Tapu ki Pito-One

Sacred Heart Primary School is a Catholic primary school for girls and boys from Year 1 to Year 8. Teachers and parents are committed to uphold the Special Character of the school within the Parish of the Holy Spirit Te Wairua Tapu. The Special Character is reflected in our school and in our values.

The school’s beginnings stem from when in 1891 two Mercy Sisters began to travel by train every Sunday from St Mary’s Convent in Guildford Terrace, Wellington, to Petone to teach the local children about God. They met with about 90 children each week in a small hall.

When Sacred Heart Church opened in 1899, the Sisters’ Sunday school was taught in the Church.

A school was opened in 1904 and named Sacred Heart School. The Sisters of Mercy were invited to take charge of the school.

On the first day of school, the school building was not quite ready. So for the first two weeks of school, the children were taught outside.

The Sisters of Mercy spent many happy years teaching the children of Sacred Heart School.

Our Lady of the Rosary School, Waiwhetu

Our Lady of the Rosary School, situated on Wainui Rd, Waiwhetu, is a Catholic Integrated school for tamariki from Year 1 to Year 8.

Our school displays gospel values and we have a strong and developing sense of spirituality, faith and belonging. The school programme reflects the special Catholic character of our school. Religious observances and Religious Education form part of the education with a special character. 

The school enjoys a close relationship with the Holy Spirit – Te Wairua Tapu Parish. We attend a school Mass at Our Lady of the Rosary church at least once each term.

Our Lady of the Rosary School, Waiwhetu
St Claudine Thévenet School, Wainuiomata

St Claudine Thévenet is a great school with children who are keen to learn and active and supportive school community.

The school was completed in 1965 and was run by the Sisters of Jesus and Mary. The school is named after Claudine Thévenet, RJM (1774–1837), Marie of Saint Ignatius, a French Catholic religious sister and the founder of the Religious of Jesus and Mary.

Today the school is a vibrant and engaged learning community, reflecting a wide diversity of cultures and sharing the school’s strong Catholic values ground in gospel teachings.

The Kapa Haka group from St Claudine Thevenet School sang at the opening of the New Zealand Catholic Education Convention, June 2018, in Wellington. The waiata was Tihei Mauri Ora – Let There Be Life! Photo: WelCom

Students from San Antonio School on the beach at Eastbourne looking across Wellington Harbour. The school was established in the beach-side suburb in 1936 under the Mercy Sisters. Due to its falling roll, the school was closed in 2023.