Papatoetoe Orphan Home memorial altar

Papatoetoe Orphan Home memorial altar

Papatoetoe Orphan Home Papatoetoe Orphan Home

The Church of England’s Papatoetoe Orphan Home was opened in Wyllie Road in 1909. The Orphan Home chapel was consecrated in the orphan home grounds on 1 March 1919. This building, sometimes known as the Chapel of the Holy Saviour, or sometimes as St Saviour’s Chapel, was designed by the well-known ecclesiastical architect George Selwyn Goldsbro.

On 9 May 1925 the chapel’s altar was dedicated as a memorial to old boys of the home who had given their lives during the First World War. A brass plate was attached to the altar inscribed as follows: ‘To the Glory of God and in memory of those brave lads once inmates of the Orphan Home who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War 1914-1919.’ At the same time, a memorial cross was dedicated to New Zealand nurses. This was inscribed ‘To the glory of God and in memory of the nurses who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War 1914-1918’.

The orphanage was closed in 1962, although the buildings continued in use for some years afterwards as a home for the intellectually handicapped known as St John’s Home. At an unknown date, the altar was moved to the Church of the Epiphany in Otara, where it can still be seen today. The whereabouts of the nurses’ cross is unknown.

The orphanage buildings are today occupied by the Manukau Pacific Islanders Presbyterian Church. The chapel is a listed building.


  • 'Papatoetoe Orphan Home’, Auckland Star, 9/5/1925, p. 10 
  • 'Papatoetoe Orphanage', Auckland Star, 11/5/1925, p. 11
  • 'The Orphan Home: Altar Dedicated', Church Gazette, vol. 55, no. 6, June 1925, p. 97

Community contributions

3 comments have been posted about Papatoetoe Orphan Home memorial altar

What do you know?


Posted: 01 Apr 2017

Does anyone remember these children please... ??

Max Tomes
Christine Marshall
Jackie Evans

Attended Papatoetoe West
during the 1950s when Mr Melrose and Maurice Lesley were there

Barry Smith

Posted: 27 Jan 2017

I remember playing with the kids from the home. There was a farm surrounding the main buildings. On occasions we went into the main dorm with the boys to get something and just that was quite daunting for us outsiders. On some Saturdays we would meet the the kids at the local picture theatre and gain free entry with them as long we sat on the floor in front of the first row of seats. The last few kids were adopted by the couple in charge and resided in the original wyllie homestead which became surrounded with new housing

Bruce MacKinnon

Posted: 26 Dec 2013

I and two of my older sisters were taken from our mum and sent to this Orphanage. I was only four years old. After many years of
being their we actually escaped and were hidden by my mother until the authorities were convinced that my mother was fully capable to take us back. Do I have any memories of my stay in the Orphanage? Sure I do to this very day. Does it haunt me still? Absolutely