Throwback Thursday: Nelson Baptist Church


The Nelson Baptist Church was the first Baptist Church in New Zealand and stands as a historic Bridge Street landmark to this day.

Founded in 1851, the church was originally housed in the old Suter Art Gallery before relocating to its current site in December, 1854.


[twentytwenty]Nelson Baptist Church thenNelson Baptist Church now[/twentytwenty]


The building process took two whole years to complete because the community deemed building a brewery more important.

In 1896, the Church moved across the road and into Campbell’s School while the old church was demolished and a new building was built, costing a mere £600. The church opened the new building on 25 April 1897 and celebrated their jubilee in 1901.

After the First World War, the ‘Peace Memorial’ Pipe Organ was built to acknowledge those that served. The pipe organ cost as much as the building itself and was funded purely by donations.

The building’s exterior has remained almost exactly the same over the years. However, the interior has received frequent renovations including alterations to the foyer, choir stalls, seating and the addition of a library and sound system.

Fifteen years ago, on Queens’s Birthday weekend, New Zealand’s oldest Baptist Church celebrated its 150th anniversary.