St James, Mahora Hastings was designed by Len Hoogerbrug in 1958-59 and completed in 1963. When first opened, the building received national praise.
However, over the years it was largely forgotten from the main accounts of New Zealand architecture. The church's congregation fell away and it decided to close its doors in 2017. We started work on a project to gain access and photograph it in 2018. Hoogerbrug sadly died in 2019 and the church was sold recently.
The building is a rare example in New Zealand of a type of monumental Modern architecture that is so spare as to be almost minimal. We hope these photos act as a timely reminder of the building's powerful atmosphere, derived from the colour, weight and clarity of its construction. This is the second in a series of books by Giles Reid on under-appreciated works of New Zealand modernism.