Church Name: unknown
(Photo courtesy of Canterbury Museum)
Monsignor McKeon recorded that Fr Chervier assisted by Fr Francis blessed and opened this church on December 10, 1874 — the foundation stone was laid on July 30 1874 by Fr Francis.
Another source, the Lyttelton Parish history, says the foundation stone was laid on August 8, 1874. The inscription on the stone was cut by Captain Giovanni Gaggano of the Italian barque Fratelli Gaggano. The captain also gave a generous donation to the cost of the new church.
Mass was said at the Rapaki church up until 1879 but after that the church was not used and was demolished about 1950. The first time in 81 years that Mass was celebrated at Rapaki was when Fr F. Wall SM visited in 1960.
In Rapaki Remembered Arthur (Hiwi) Couch says: “An enthusiastic body of Roman Catholics led by Pita Mutu built their own place of worship on the eastern side of Rapaki. The cornerstone was donated by Captain Giovanni of an Italian barque, and laid by Father Francis of Lyttelton on July 16, 1874. The church was opened for service on December 10, 1874 in the presence of some 200 people. The church has since completely disappeared and despite diligent search the cornerstone cannot be located.”