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Saint Georges Heritage Church
Independent Heritage Charitable Trust
Thames, New Zealand


Click here to view the brochure about the Trust.


Welcome to Saint Georges Heritage Church
Independent Charitable Trust

Saint Georges heritage church is one of Thames’ stock of Heritage buildings. The first Anglican church was built in 1868 and the second during 1871 when Thames was a thriving gold-mining town.

Because of the population the building is large for a Provincial centre. When opened by Bishop William Cowie in January 1872 it was described as one of the foremost churches in the Diocese of Auckland.

Vicesimus Lush )1817-1882)
Organizer and first incumbent of Saint Georges Church

Designed by Edward Mahoney (a leading Auckland architect of the day who also designed Anglican churches in Dargaville, Kyber Pass in Auckland, Cambridge and a large number of Catholic Churches in the Province) it is of neo-Gothic design and proportions; lofty, light and elegant.

The Trust has deliberately been set up independent of the Anglican Church, locally and in the diocese, so that donors wishing to help preserve some of Thames heritage can donate through the Trust assured that interest from invested donations can be used to maintain and develop the site and buildings to ensure their good retention into the next century.

The Trust has deliberately been set up independent of the Anglican Church, locally and in the diocese, so that donors wishing to help preserve some of Thames heritage can donate through the Trust assured…

Saint Georges is already a community resource thanks to the generosity of the parish Vestry in making the facility available to a wide range of cultural and performance groups in the town and district.

Arts, drama, choral and orchestral concerts feature regularly in the course of every year alongside the liturgical and other uses of the church plant.


The Fund will grow primarily through gifts of and from estates. For Thames’ connection with people who have lived here, or had relatives seek their fortune in gold or timber or kauri gum know its inspiring steeple visible on sea approach as much as from the roads across the Plains and even on the Coast road from Coromandel.

Sited just a block from the central business district, Saint Georges maintains an open presence for hospital visitors and patients alike as well as tourists and visitors with a connection to the town.

Keeping this heritage church building as a feature of Thames, NZ.

A group of some sixty volunteers ‘host’ the building weekdays and Saturday mornings to ensure access and oversight in an era when most churches remain closed between their Sunday service use.


We of the Saint Georges Heritage Church Trust want to ensure that this icon of heritage buildings in Thames is maintained and accessible to the people of Thames, New Zealand and those living anywhere in the world who have connections with the tow, the region and this particular historic building.

The local membership, mostly on fixed and restricted incomes cannot provide the amount of financial resources…

The local membership, mostly on fixed and restricted incomes cannot provide the amount of financial resources to maintain a ministry out of the historic church and the upkeep of such a large and significant building. In New Zealand (and through the Historic Places Trust) there are no Trusts, income sources or financial support to maintain the regular maintenance of the plant. So the Trust will seek to help financially with maintaining the buildings and promoting this significant community asset.


Donations can be made direct to the Trust through ANZ Bank, Thames Branch. 06 0457 0134607 00.



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Heather Simpson, a District Court Judge, became a Bahá'í in 1983. She had been associating closely with the Bahá'í community for some years prior to that. She says:

"I was attracted to the Faith because of the teachings about justice."

Heather has a law degree from Auckland University in 1975. Since then, she was a partner in a Thames law firm for 12 years until a appointed a District Court Judge in 1986."

She is a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002 for services as a District Court Judge.

From 1995-2005, she served the Bahá'í community as a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for Australasia. The Counsellors who comprise this high-ranking body are advisors, appointed on a five-yearly basis, who assist the Bahá'í community with its growth and development.

"Being a Bahá'í enriches my life through the serenity received from daily communication with God through prayer and reading the Holy Writings. The lessons learned from this spiritual practice are applied in daily life and my work," she says.

Auckland was her birthplace. Her father was an elder of the Presbyterian Church. Her first New Zealand ancestor arrived in Wellington in 1841. 



Russell has spent most of his working life in the Banking sector. As of 2016 he is manager of the Thames branch of Kiwi Bank and Manager of the Post Shop network for the Coromandel Peninsula. He has worked with volunteer organisations and sports groups in small town areas on funding issues. Born in Thames he has a passion for the heritage features of the Thames town. He acts as deputy chair of the Trust and is concerned to see that Saint Georges continues to be an important Heritage building serving the Thames community in a variety of ways a hundred years from now. He and his teenage daughters live happily in the central residential area of the town.



Secretary/Treasurer of the Trust, Peter has long connection with the Thames and the Thames Gold Field through family. He is an accountant and has his own practice in Thames. His son Tom is an archaeologist interested in the history and development of the Thames community where he also grew up. Peter keeps the Trustees up to date on Government regulation changes and receives donations and bequests on behalf of the Trust. He is the first point of contact for information about the Trust and can help with bequests and donations. PO Box 428, Thames New Zealand 3540



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Sue has worked in the not-for-profit sector in Canada and New Zealand for most of her career. She has held senior roles in many charities, including Dress for Success Auckland as well as the Worldwide organization for which she is currently the A/NZ Regional Director. She's also worked in leadership roles for ALS Society (Motor Neuron Disease) of BC & Yukon Territory, Vancouver International Children’s Festival and the Endeavour Society for the benefit of the arts, sciences and health.

Sue is a lifelong volunteer and has served on many boards. In addition to her current role as a Trustee of the Saint Georges Heritage Trust, she is the Acting Chair of the Dress for Success in NZ Trust.

Sue and her husband live on the Coromandel and visit their family in Canada, including 2 grandchildren, as often as possible. She kayaks and golfs when time permits and walks daily on the beach, rain or shine. She also mentors young people in the not-for-profit sector, as well as teaching other charities about governance, fundraising, and other skills needed to survive in this sector. 



Russell is passionate about local history and is the most recent trustee appointed by the Trust. His interests mean that he is constantly researching the people, events and buildings that make up the Coromandel story of which Saint Georges is part. It is Russell Skeet who knows the interface between the people who built Thames town and established a settler presence in the Firth of Thames. It is Russell who will tell you that Saint Georges spire can be seen across the Firth, from the sea approach that was the main means of travel from Auckland to Thames in the nineteenth century. Russell skeet is concerned that our assets in our building stock be preserved for future generations to enjoy. For him the Trust provides an avenue for people with connections to Thames to help endow the Trust to see that the 1868 and 1871 Churches of Saint George are maintained and developed.



Vicar at Thames since 1981, Graham Colley acts as an advisor to the Saint Georges Trust. He is not a Trustee.



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Saint Georges Heritage Trust
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