South Auckland Presbytery Records

Clevedon Presbyterian Church -

  • The Management Committee minutes dating from 1864 to 1910 were destroyed in a fire when held in a local store, along with books belonging to other organisations.
  • A note in the Girl's Auxiliary Minute Book dated the 21st May 1943 records that the previous minute book had been "accidentally lost by fire". The missing minute book dated from 1929 when the group was formed to 1943 however it appears to be an isolated loss distinct from the above fire.

Drury Presbyterian Church (Previously known as Opaheke) -

  • The Church building which had been opened in June 1858 and had provided a haven of refuge to many settlers at the outbreak of the NZ Wars in 1863 accidentally burnt  down on the 15th February 1887, together with the adjoining Godkin's Farmer's Hotel. The Church was not insured. Accounts differ as to the cause : "Rubbish fires were burning in the vicinity, and sparks from these, or, as some thought, a fugitive rabbit running under the Church for shelter and carrying fire in its fur, was believed to be the cause. The building and most of its contents was a total loss." Some blamed a tramp who had been sleeping in the Church. Whatever the reason, the Waikato Times of the 17th February 1887 was rather premature in reporting that "good work by volunteers saves the Presbyterian Church from the flames". The first Session book to 1887 is missing; no record of early Baptisms. 

Mauku Presbyterian Church -

  • The Mauku Church (actually sited halfway between Mauku and Patumahoe) which had been opened on the 16th September 1866 was blown off its piles by a westerly gale around 1896 and fell onto its side but had been well built and suffered little damage apart from broken windows.
  • Around 1900 a neighbour was burning off gorse during the dry season however the fire got out of control and sparks ignited the wooden shingles, setting the church ablaze. With no water available it was burnt to the ground. There is no mention of records being lost but we assume this to have been the case. In earlier years Mauka fell under Waiuku parish.
  • The replacement church was built from kauri logs hauled out of a lake which were assumed to have fallen during an eruption, the design being "a replica of that destroyed". This church building was moved into the Patumahoe township on the 16th January 1958.
  • Marriage register prior to Sep 1933 missing, Session book prior to 1923 missing (?) (all noted as missing in 1954).

Papakura Presbyterian Church -

  • No Communion rolls prior to 1917.
  • It has been reported that at some point after 1905 the Papakura manse burnt down. We have been unable to confirm exactly when this occured and what records may have been lost although it is believed that diaries of the Rev Thomas Norrie which were stored in the manse may have been destroyed.

Pokeno Presbyterian Church -

  • A fire at the Church Secretary's house at Mangatangi on the night of the 26th May 1967 destroyed the Managers Committee minutes from the 8th March 1966 to the 9th May 1967. A resumé of the minutes were made up from notes and agendas and placed in a newly purchased book with a note referring to the loss.

Pukekohe East Presbyterian Church -

  • At the outbreak of the Maori wars a 7 foot high stockade of logs and thick  slabs were built around the Church for defence, including the digging of a deep trench to resist attack. Remaining residents sheltered here for safety during an attack on the 14th September 1863. Shots were fired and a neighbouring house belonging to a Church Elder, Mr J Comrie, was burnt, however the the Church building survived despite being riddled with bullet holes. 

St James's Presbyterian Church, Pukekohe -

  • A fire in 1897 destroyed part of the second Church building which had been built in 1875. The other part of the Church was sold to a Mr John Bilkey, "on whose farm it did service as an onion shed for many years". It was still to be seen as late as 1968. It is unknown if any records were lost, certainly no mention of this is made in parish histories.
  • A new Church was built on a different site, being opened on the 2nd January 1898. Fuller details of the financing of the Church might have been available if the Moderator had not had to report to the Annual Meeting of the congregation on the 29th June 1898, "that owing to the burning of the late Treasurer's house, the books had been lost, there consequently being no Treasurer's report to lay before the meeting." Therefore all or at least some of the Treasurer's books and correspondence up to this date have been lost.

St John's Presbyterian Church, Papatoetoe -

  • It is known that some records for the wider South Auckland Parish area (Including Papatoetoe, Onehunga and Howick) were destroyed when the the house occupied by the Rev John Macky in Ferguson Road Otara burnt down, possibly in 1872. A new manse was built in 1876. 

Queen's Redoubt Presbyterian Church -

  • A Church was built here in 1873 but burnt down while being used as a School room in 1874 (presumably during the week). There is no mention of lost records.  It was rebuilt in 1874 but the services here were "interupted" in 1877; presumably that means stopped as no further record of this Church has been found. It may have been part of the Pukekohe Parish. 

Tuakau Presbyterian Church -

  • In 1954 the Parish advised that some early records were understood to have been destroyed in a fire sometime prior to about 1915. 

Waiuku Presbyterian Church -

  • Prior to about 1980 the Parish records were stored in a concrete vault located in the floor of the original church building. A leak was discovered that had allowed water to access the vault but by this stage considerable damage had been done to many of the stored records. Efforts were made at the time to dry out the records but some were very badly affected. Those Parish records which are worst damaged include the Marriage Registers c.1886 to Jan 1905, Sept 1910 to Apr 1946, and May 1954 to Feb 1956; Session Minutes 1856 to 1888, and 1897 to 1915; Waiuku Church Committee Minutes 1911 to 1926; Baptismal Roll July 1892 to Oct 1937; Communion Roll 1893 to 1919; Waiuku Church Building Committee Minutes 1879 to 1880; Waiuku Manse Building Committee Minutes 1880 to 1882. The worst affected records have now (May 2009) been copied as some writing on the original documents is faded and/or the paper is heavily stained or fragile and falling apart.
  • The following records were noted as missing in 1954 : No Communion rolls prior to 1917 (since found); Board of Manager's minutes 1925 to 1931 and possibly prior to 1881 (the Parish had been part of Mauku prior to this date so was not a sanctioned charge in its own right).

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