Cathedral Sacred Heart of Jesus and St Mary
Archdiocese of Wellington
The first church to be built on the present site was St. Mary’s Cathedral, blessed and opened in 1851. It was gutted by fire in 1898, during repainting. Because the Catholic population of Wellington was then mostly based in the Te Aro and Newtown areas, it was decided that a new cathedral should be erected in that part of the city and a ‘serviceable church in brick’ built on the site of the old cathedral. However the new church, called the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, was rather grander than this. Its foundation stone was laid in 1899 and the building blessed and opened two years later.
In 1983 the Basilica was elevated to the status of the Metropolitan Cathedral. The name of the Cathedral is a joining of the Sacred Heart Basilica with the name of the former cathedral.
Within the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Cathedral is a unique icon 'written' for the Cathedral, which shows the adult Jesus gently holding his mother, Mary. The material of the clothing in the centre of the icon shadows a heart.
The first Bishop of the diocese, Bishop Philippe Viard is buried beneath the Cathedral . Upon the old preaching pulpit are plaques displaying the details of the bishops who have served in Wellington.
The Doors of Mercy were installed and opened in Dec 2015. They are made of glass, with the English word "Mercy" and the corresponding Māori word "Atawhai" etched upon them.
22-30 Hill Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand