1942 earthquake: news report

Cairns Post, 1 July 1942





Explosions rocked Masterton, the centre of the devastating earth quake, to-day, when an army of engineers set about blowing up dangerously-poised St. Matthew's Church. The first blast blew out portions of the front and east end, but failed to bring the whole edifice down. The second and third were heavier charges, and did the job most effectively.

Read more: 1942 earthquake: news report

2nd St Matthew's from east end

St Matthew's Church from the East End

This photograph was taken by James D. Robertson.  It shows the liturgical East End of St Matthew's, the view from Park Street, Masterton. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-6529

The Meredith windows can be seen in the centre of the photograph and the present Parish Hall (built in 1922) can be glimpsed at the right.

Read more: 2nd St Matthew's from east end

Christmas at St Matthew's, 1907

Christmas Services

The Christmas services at St. Matthew's Church were of a simple and yet festal character. The decorations were tasteful, though less elaborate than usual, the drought having spoiled the flowers, and the rain on Christmas Eve keeping many of the decorators away.

Read more: Christmas at St Matthew's, 1907

Early recollections of parish - 1913

View of the interior of the first St Matthew's Church, c1900. The church is decorated with swags of greenery, suggestive of Christmas decorations


Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume LXV, Issue 11783, 20 September 1913, Page 5

From Mr and Mrs J. Nicol, of Church Street, who are settlers of over fifty years standing, and various other sources, a Daily Times reporter was able to gather some very interesting particulars concerning the Church of England in Masterton in the early days.

Read more: Early recollections of parish - 1913

St Alban's, Taueru, opened 1905

St Alban's Church, Taueru, 1913


(Special to Daily Times.)

This pretty little church was formally opened, yesterday afternoon, by the Vicar of St. Matthew's [the Rev. Wyndham Earee]. Standing as it does a short distance from the main road, it forms a conspicuous object to all passers-by. Painted a light green, picked out with dark green facings with its roof of red Marseilles tiles, it looked quite a picture in the bright sunshine of yesterday. Inside, the mellow light from the stained glass windows contrasted well with the dark woodwork of the building. The acoustic properties of the building are excellent.

Read more: St Alban's, Taueru, opened 1905

Earthquake destroys iconic church: 1942



At 11.18 p.m. on June 24, 1942, in the midst of the Second World War, a huge earthquake hit the Wairarapa and St Matthew's changed forever.

When the earthquake hit the parish was flourishing under the capable, positive leadership of Archdeacon Eric Rich.  It was debt free, building up reserves, preparatory to giving the vicarage next door a much-needed makeover.  Each year saw it exceed its own records for communion attendance, giving, as well as Sunday School and Bible Class attendance.

In an instant this all changed.  Grown men stood in the street and wept at the sight of their much loved and iconic church in ruins.

Read more: Earthquake destroys iconic church: 1942

St Matthew's Parish Magazines


Since 1909, the parish of St Matthew's, Masterton, New Zealand, has published a parish magazine. This was published at regular intervals, usually monthly.

A project is being undertaken to transcribe these magazines for the interest of parishioners, those researching church history, Wairarapa history, or undertaking family research.

The current project involves parish magazines from the time when Archdeacon Eric Rich (later Bishop) was vicar, from 1930 to 1945.