Of the many enquiries the New Brighton Residents Assn receives from locals, a popular one is repair progress of historic St Faiths Church on Hawke St.
From a recent visit can report all the crosses are back in place and there is big tick on how it is looking already.
Most of the work has involved earthquake strengthening, with huge improvements in heating, lighting and power/ internet. While Covid has caused a few delays particularly around steel supplies, the first service for the revamped church is planned for May this year, with the add-on public toilet/kitchen facility not completed till after that (see plans below).
Anglican Reverend Katrina Hill says visitors to the church (from May) will see an open community focus, and anybody will be able to drop-in, rest and enjoy the wonderful interior and ambience. The church building itself will house two community groups including RENEW, and worshippers with access to the chapel at the east end.
Rev Hill says this church is unique and a tourist attraction as one of the few remaining Canterbury churches of ‘Early English Gothic style’, and able to be admired will be the fantastic stain glass windows and beautiful rimu interior via a newly created visitors centre, and in this space will be information on other parts of the Coastal area worth visiting.
Within five years the amount of traffic down Hawke St will have trebled as the new bridge and Oram Av extension move to completion and the imposing new-old church cannot be missed.
While the history is extensive, briefly the stone building was constructed in 1926 to replace the old wooden one dating back to 1886 on land donated by none other than James Hawkes (Hawke St used to be Hawkes St).
For those interested in history, St Faiths contains one of the two most significant old trees in New Brighton familiar to generations of residents living nearby:
The 100-year-old Marine Parade 18 metre high Macrocarpa by the library is one and thought to have been planted by Teddy Howard, an early city Member of Parliament and the father of Mabel Howard, the first woman MP in Aotearoa.
The second is located within the church grounds, an evergreen, or Holm Oak (Quercus ilex) planted in May 1937 to mark the accession to the throne of King George VI and raised from a seedling