This week’s travel theme is N for Napier – and for Wednesday, its a lovely church in the heart of the town.
It is “The Waiapu Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Napier” – which is quite a mouthful!
It is more often referred to as “Waiapu Cathedral”, “St John’s Cathedral”, or “Napier Cathedral” … and it is unusual in that it hosts TWO bishop’s chairs (or cathedra), those of the Bishop of Waiapu and of the Bishop of Aotearoa (a separate bishop representing Maori in the Anglican church)
The church is built, like much of the city of Napier, in the Art Deco style – but unlike most of Napier’s Art Deco buildings, this was built in the 1960s, rather than the ’30s.
The original cathedral building was destroyed by the 1931 earthquake (which came during communion, trapping one unfortunate woman in the rubble – she remained trapped and had to be euthanized with a fatal overdose of morphine as flames from an out-of-control fire approached the ruins)
The old building was replaced by a ‘temporary’ wooden church – but by 1955, work had begun on the current building.
It took another 12 years before it was consecrated, having been built in the Art Deco style that had dominated Napier since the Hawkes Bay quake.