This Anglican church in Ōpunake is described by the architect, Frederick de Jersey Clere, as "early French influence, with steep inclination of the roof, and tall belfry also giving a Gothic effect".

The church was dedicated on the 2 June, 1895 by Archdeacon T. Fancourt. The cost of the building was £276.17.6 - the project helped by the donation of timber by Mr Vickery (5,000 feet) and Mr Rua Bishop (1,000 feet).

The wooden buttresses were added in 1897 to strengthen the church from the strong westerlies.  The distinctive belfry was demolished in 1969 according to Susan MacLean (author of "The Churches of Frederick de Jersey Clere" TRC726.5092 CLE. The Ōpunake Heritage Inventory report states this occurred in the 1950s, the later date is more likely to be correct.

In 1991 the church was moved 180° so that it could be extended by linking it with the parish buildings behind. MacLean comments that the greatest loss was, "Clere's innovative west elevation, sacrificed to preserve the rest of the building".

Kate Mickelson has written a detailed history of the church and parish, "St Barnabas' Opunake, A Hundred Years On 1995" (TRCT283.93488 MIC).


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