The foundation stone of the first church of St Stephen was laid on the present site in December 1882, but regular Church of England services were first conducted in Tamahere more than 15 years earlier.
The first St. Stephen’s church and adjoining cemetery were consecrated in 1891 and that church served the local community until it was destroyed by fire in June 1970. The only item to survive the fire was the wrought iron cross which is now on the wall of the sanctuary, behind the altar of the present church and its image is used on our stationary.
The response of the Tamahere parishioners to that fire was immediate and effective- the new St Stephen’s was built on the same site as the old at a total cost of $37,000 and was dedicated on 18th June 1972. On the centenary of the dedication of the original church (15 May 1983) the new church was consecrated and continues to be an important focus for the Tamahere community.
In 1976 a church hall was moved from Leamington (part of Cambridge) to the St Stephens site to house most of the Tamahere Schools pupils during their religious instruction classes. This hall was later doubled in size when it became obvious that more space was needed for activities connected with the long series of Christmas Festivals.
In order to ensure that the church continues to serve the evolving needs of our faith community we have built on to the1970’s structure to provide extra space for both our ministry and the administration of the Mission District. These alterations, which were completed during 2003, have maintained the architectural integrity of the church. More recently, we have established a crèche facility with in the church building offering a warm respite for young children whilst still maintaining a connection with the service.
Today Church, Cemetery, Hall and park-like grounds occupy a quiet space set apart from the nearby high way and other busy roads- but the community that brings the site to life is anything but quiet! There is a dynamism here that has to be experienced to be fully appreciated; a determination not to stand still, but to keep on growing.