The Friends of St David’s Trust is an independent, not-for-profit registered charity established to protect, assist with the restoration and future community service roles of St David’s Memorial Church building at 70 Khyber Pass Road, Auckland, New Zealand.
Friends come from diverse walks of life, backgrounds and sectors, local and international. The Trust also gives voice to members of St David’s congregation, past and present.
We warmly welcome you or your organisation. Scroll down to meet our corporate and institutional partners and please use their services.
Scroll to the bottom to read messages from the Friends.
Trust board members
Penelope Stevenson - Chair
Dawn Judge - Treasurer
John Morrow - Secretary
advisory board members
Dr. Ann Pearl
Max Gimblett ONZM
Dr Elizabeth Ebbett and Richard Ebbett
Lord and Lady Farrow
Dr Ann Pearl
Mary Ann Judge
Julian Miles QC
The Chartwell Trust
Allen and Ruth Dixon
Brent and Delwyn Goldsack
Ross and Josephine Green
Andrew Bull and Mani Murphy
Join the list of Friends of St David’s here
Some of the friends of St David's - add your name and be part of something great
Dame Trelise Cooper DNZM
Donald Trott ONZM
Minnie Baragwanath MNZM
David John Harvey
Charles and Sarah Clark
Jillian de Beer
Brian and Fiona Downes
Chris van Ryn
Andrew Bull & Mani Murphy
Liza Cacala Clark
Trudy H Dickinson
Allen & Ruth Dixon
Pam & John Glenie
Doug Hawkins & Lisa Bates
Brian & Jeni Hughes
Alan & Alison Kirkness
Annemarie Wille Thomas
Graeme & Nutty Reeves
Audrey van Ryn
The Waddingham Family
Paul Waite & Nicola Donati
Marilyn & Geoff Wales
Adrian & Tibby Simcock
Corporate friends & organisations
If you are a company that may be interested in becoming a corporate Friend of St David’s we would love to hear from you here
The Friends of St David’s thanks and acknowledges:
Stories & comments from the friends
Contribute by submitting your story here
The below comments are personal to the authors and are not formal statements
of the Friends of St David’s Trust
Such a shame another beautiful masonry building is at threat of being pulled down – unlikely anyone will build in this style, scale and purpose again it’s important to hold onto NZ’s historic architecture. Reinvent for reuse and the future!
— Jessica Gernat
Such an important part of Central Auckland's history must be cherished and restored.
— Jock Carnachan
I am connected to St Davids through my Uncle Kenneth Lloyd Taylor who was in the 2/NZEF 7th Field Company NZ Engineers in Greece/Crete and Egypt through the Second World War. He was one of two men who earned the MM on the night of 23/24 October 1942 in the Battle of El Alamein sweeping mines and clearing the way for the Tanks to make the first major break through of the Second World War. It was termed the beginning of the End for the Third Reich and Nazism in Europe. He was trained at Papkura and I assume, as was traditional by then would have had a service there prior to departing. His family was Presbyterian through his Scottish forbears.
Because of the Churches association with the NZ Engineers, I am therefore also connected to St Davids, as his nephew. Lloyds only son died early in the 1960s.
He went in good faith and good heart to fight “bad” things going on in Europe and came back a man who could not endure stress of any kind and had a major breakdown at 57. This Church means many things to many people but for me it symbolises the hope that men have in their hearts when they prepare themselves to overcome evil. My uncle left virtually nothing when he died and I gathered a small shoe box full of his possessions from his long time partner, Dolly. In it was a Listener Magazine from October 23 1967. I read through the long article and in particular the article by Brigadier Hanson and there I finally realised after a lifetimes silence on the matter, something of what he and his Engineer colleagues may have endured in the war.
The Church is a notable building and adds important streetscape as well as history in a fast changing part of Auckland. We need to protect and conserve our landmark historical buildings so that those who follow have some sense of who we were and what we believed in.
— Tony Bartley
St David’s symbolises the importance of heritage issues in our city, where so many iconic buildings of our history have been lost, due to short-term thinking. While there are certainly very real issues to overcome in preserving these cityscape records of our shared past, surely this is an important cause for both present and future generations?
— Ann Dunphy
Letter to the Editor NZ Herald, 19 December 2014
Another Christmas, another heritage building at risk, while we are all too busy to notice – the usual modus operandi.
This year’s candidate for demolition is the flagship Presbyterian St David’s Church in Khyber Pass, Grafton. Built in 1927 as a WW1 war memorial to the “Sappers”, the Army Engineering Corps, it boasted disability access and listening posts for the deaf.
Recently closed on spurious claims of health and safety, fittings have been stripped and the organ is to be removed in the New Year. Initial engineering assessments show the church is in remarkably sound condition, considering the present congregation has done no maintenance in the last 13 years.
This magnificent church has important historical, social and architectural significance to Auckland. The group Friends of St David’s is set to fully fund a thorough assessment and seismic upgrade, and ensure an ongoing community use. Presbytery, the church governing body, should welcome this offer with open arms, and the public should insist this happens.
— Helen Geary
St David's, as I drive by, is a delightful church that reflects a time when people attempted to put up solid buildings that would last. Its elegant, traditional lines, and fine detailing of the bricks and stone-work, are a pleasant antidote to some of the ugly box-type buildings in the vicinity.
— Brian Gill
“My Grandparents Henry and Elsie Johnston were married in Old St Davids on 8 April 1925. Then in 1949 my parents Keith and Ellen Johnston were married by the Reverend Bower Black. My brother David and myself were christened there in 1950 and 1951 respectively. During the 1950's Henry and Elsie were in charge of the Sunday School which my brother and I attended. Henry was also an elder of the church. This was in the days of the Reverend Owen Baragwanath. The funerals of Henry in 1981 and Elsie in 1992 were also held in St David’s. It would be a shame for a building of such heritage to not be preserved.”
— Maureen Wilton
“The Auckland Branch Committee of the New Zealand Institute of Architects acknowledges and enthusiastically supports the architectural values of St David’s, while also recognising it's significance in terms of historic and cultural heritage.”
— The Auckland Branch of the NZIA
I am a practicing electrical consulting engineer. I attended St David's Sunday School and Bible Classes in my youth as well as the Sea Scouts. My parent worked for the Presbyterian Maori Mission. Although not a church attender now I continue to provide monthly contributions to the Church. The Church is still something special to me and any way to keep the current structure should be examined.
— David Reeks
“I live close by in Upper Queen Street and would be happy to help in any way I can to ensure that St David's is saved. Auckland has lost too much heritage already.”
— Peter Wynne-Jones
“ My parents were married at St David’s, myself and siblings christened there, my Dad's memorial service was held there, and we attended as a family when we were young. A very special place and stunningly beautiful building.”
— Dave Wrathall
I want to back the Friends in their efforts to save an important part of our heritage and community
— Jessica Fowler
“This wonderful church is very significant to the history of Auckland and New Zealand as a whole. This has been my family’s church from before I was born. It would be a tragedy if it was lost.”
— Karina Silva
'My husband has worked in the Fujitsu Building next door for many years, so although we aren't attenders at St David’s, we really appreciate the building as a piece of architecture and the immense contribution it makes to the streetscape and surrounding neighbourhood. It complements the Holy Sepulchre across the road and its brick construction references the ex Whitecliffe building around the corner in Grafton Rd.
I'm not sure if the congregation and the Friends of St David’s are aware of the new legislation proposed which will put time frames on earthquake strengthening. I recently attended an event sponsored by Devonport Heritage in the old St Paul’s Church in Devonport, with a presentation on this from Maurice Williamson, architect of the legislation. He made it clear that there is no immediate pressure on heritage buildings for earthquake strengthening - in addition to the proposed 15 year timeframe, there will be a minumum 10 year extension for heritage buildings. Please make sure the congregation is aware of this - THERE IS NO NEED FOR PANIC and plenty of time for proper planning.
— Helen Geary
“It would be a shame to demolish such a beautiful building with so much history. Auckland needs to reconnect to its heart and places such as this can so easily be transformed into community centres. It just seems a no-brainer.”
— David Sullivan