Church Name: St Mary & St Francis de Sales
Designed by Benjamin Mountfort, the first Rangiora church was opened on July 31,1870 by Fr Chervier. By 1885 it was considered too small and a new church was opened on October 17, 1886 by Bishop Redwood, the foundation stone having been laid on September 13, 1885 by Bishop Moran.
The decision to build a new church rather than enlarge the first one appears to have been made because a schoolroom was also needed. The old church served that purpose for many years.
It consisted of a nave, transepts and chancel with a tower at the north-eastern junction of transept and chancel. The walls were clad in vertical boards and battens, the roof was shingled and there was an open-framed north porch. What distinguished the Rangiora chapel was the complete assurance with which all elements were brought together in a tightly composed, finely proportioned but economical design.
The timber frame was exposed throughout the interior, revealing the unpainted reverse sides of the exterior weather boards.
(Photo courtesy of Marist Archives, Wellington)