Adapted from “Ninety Years In Wellington” by P.H. Ballis
In 1890, American evangelist A.G. Daniells, preached a series of evangelistic messages from the Exchange Hall in Wellington, marking the beginning of the Adventist presence in the Wellington region. The following year, on 3 May 1891, he conducted the first baptisms in the Wellington Public Baths. Four weeks later, on 21 June, the first Wellington Seventh-day Adventist Church was organised, with another small company in Petone.
Then in 1894 the first camp meeting was held in Wellington, attracting around 200 people. A second camp meeting was held in Island Bay, Wellington in 1906 which attracted many visitors from the community. About 200 delegates and members came from all parts of New Zealand with many living in tents. There were other, larger tents sent aside for children, cooking, dining, as well as space where literature and health foods could be obtained. A large pavilion was set up which could house about 500 people and was used for public meetings.
Five years later another camp meeting was held, this time in Petone. This meeting made an even greater impression as hundreds of people visited the Canvas Town.
Up till this point, Adventists in Wellington had been meeting in people’s homes or in rented halls. In 1899 the Tract Society purchased a corner lot and a two storey building was constructed, with a hall for meeting on the upper level and five offices on the ground floor. For ten years this building accommodated the Wellington congregation until in 1908, the Tract Society sold the building and moved to High Street, Lower Hutt.
After much sacrifice and hard work, the first dedicated Adventist church was erected in 1912 in Tasman Street. But the church kept growing, and after fifteen years this building was sold and two new churches were built, one in Moncrief Street to house the members of the Wellington area, and a second in Bracken Street, Petone.
Once again the membership outgrew its building, necessitating a second shift in 1964 to the present church in Tasman Street.
Since these early times, the church in Tasman Street has continued to grow, with its changing demographics reflecting similar changes in society. What originally began as a predominately European church has become increasingly multicultural as the church has been joined by members from all parts of the globe. From Fiji to South Africa, from Thailand to Zimbabwe – the church is now home to a broad range of cultures who are united around their common love for Jesus Christ.
Up until 2020, all services were conducted on the premises. Responding to the need for ongoing spiritual nourishment during the lockdowns that were introduced by the New Zealand government due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the church expanded its capabilities to provide live-streaming access for its messages. Now members who are unable to attend due to ill health, age or other circumstances can tune in each week to join our congregation remotely, as we worship God together.
The first Seventh-day Adventist to arrive in New Zealand was S.N. Haskell, who was leading a small team of missionaries to Australia to establish a Seventh-Day Adventist presence down under. He arrived in 1885 and stayed for four or five days before continuing on to Australia. On a return journey to the United States, he stopped in New Zealand for what was only planned to be a short visit. Instead he ended up cancelling his travel plans and stayed in the small town of Kaeo which is about 250 kilometres north of Auckland.