The Whataroa and Fox Glacier churches history says: “There was a recognised congregation of Catholics in Matainui in the 1880s which by the early 1900s required a church. John Butler and Duncan Scalley donated land on the old main road at Whataroa. During Father J.P. O’Connor’s time (1902-13) a church was built there by Tommy Casey, and opened by Bishop Grimes in 1907.
“Jim Nolan recalls: ‘I can well remember the old church half way up the hill to the Friend residence…. The little church was always packed. It was becoming too small and meetings were held about bringing to fruition the construction of a bigger church in a more central position…. The whole area was designated Matainui and was later changed to Wataroa and later still to Whataroa.”
The old church [Matainui] was shifted in sections to the site of the new church [Whataroa] where it became a meeting place for parish groups.