In Hokitika is this beauty of a church named St Mary's Catholic Church, why it's so grand and ornate who knows? This caught our eyes last week on the first day of our holiday. In 1912 the parish building committee agreed to call for tenders for a new church so a Greymouth architect named John Thomas Watson prepared a concept design in Roman or neoclassical architecture.
Alfred Luttrell won the tender and although he was guided by Watson's work, he introduced significantly different aspects. The previous 1866 church was demolished in February 1914 and Bishop John Grimes laid the foundation stone a month later. Owing to the outbreak of WW1 and funding difficulties it wasn't until 1920-21 that the portico and tower were added. The church was built of double brick but in 1927-28 the plaster was finally applied and the building achieved it's final appearance.
In 2004 the church was registered with the Historical Places Trust but unfortunately following a structural assesment triggered by the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011 the church was closed to the public in 2012.