St Joseph’s Church, Morrinsville, demolished

Date: 18.03.14   Categories: Uncategorized   Posted By: JMG

St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Morrinsville, was designed in 1958-62 by Angus, Flood & Griffiths of Hamilton. Built in 1964-65, the design was radical, had simplicity in form both externally and internally, and strong Pacific form. The simple external upturned parabola defied the level of innovation and detailing, creating both the exterior and interior form with the use of pre-stressed concrete ribs, and pre-cast panels between. The parabolic form was 49 feet 6 inches in height, and the 8000 square foot church took 600 people. It was said to be New Zealand’s largest single-pour concrete roof of the time. 

St Joseph’s Church, Morrinsville, was regionally significant in terms of architecture and engineering technology. It was an iconic Waikato church, and the best example of a simplistic modernist church design in the Waikato. It was not registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust nor listed by the local council, but was included on the Morrinsville Heritage Trail. 

Due to ongoing issues with physical aspects of the building and the need to re-strengthen, the owners decided to demolish and build a new facility.

St Joseph’s demolition is a tragedy for Waikato heritage and New Zealand’s modernist heritage. This was the architectural cathedral of Waikato modernism.

Laura Kellaway

Architect and Heritage Consultant, Hamilton, 2014


Photograph by Warwick Kellaway