30 Nov 2023

Saving St David's: Paul Baragwanath on transforming a church into a centre for music

From Nine To Noon, 10:05 am on 30 November 2023
Left: Paul Baragwanath. Right: Kāhui St David's

Photo: Jessica Gernat, Deep Animation


For nearly one hundred years St David's Memorial Church sat overlooking an ever-busier Kyber Pass Road in Auckland.

It was a Presbyterian Church, also known as the Soldiers' Memorial Church and its foundation stone was laid on Anzac Day 1927.

But time and stronger earthquake regulations changed everything in 2014. Suddenly the St David's was set for demolition.

Paul Baragwanath's family had been involved in running the church across two generations, and the news spurred him into action.

Over the next nine years with the Friends of St David's Trust he helped the building secure heritage status, and then the funds to be bought from the Church.

Kāhui St David's has secured another lease on its life as a centre for music.

On Monday night a series of commissioned works by artist Sara Hughes will be unveiled inside the Great Hall and North Chapel.

Called Colour Quartet, money raised from their sale will go towards the continued restoration of the church, which Paul says will help meet the needs of the acoustic music sector. More details are available here.

Sara Hughes' Colour Quartet.

Sara Hughes' Colour Quartet. Photo: Supplied