Highgate Presbyterian Church is the new church that has emerged from the former Maori Hill and Roslyn Presbyterian Churches, the combined church areas covering most of the length of Dunedin’s inner hill suburbs, and linked by the main thoroughfare of Highgate. It was the coming together of two parishes that had a similar genesis.
The Roslyn Church started out as a branch of a central city church (First Church) with a Sunday School in May 1870, and evening services in 1900. The first Roslyn Church (now the Sunday School Hall) was built in 1901 and Roslyn became a fully recognized congregation in 1902. The present brick church that dominates the Roslyn skyline was built in 1904.
Both churches experienced rapid growth at that time, both realising the need for buildings to accommodate increasing congregations.
The Maori Hill Church started as an outstation of another city church (Knox) with evening services in 1905. The first Maori Hill church was opened in March 1905. it was located in Sim Street. In 1907 it became a fully recognized congregation. By 1919 the decision was taken to build a new church to accommodate the growing congregation. The church on the present site was opened in March 1922. About 10 years ago the Maori Hill building was extended to include two halls with folding doors between them, a modern kitchen, toilets and three offices. These are proving most satisfactory for a wide range of parish and community activities. The original church buildings on each site are fine examples of the architectural style of the times when each church was a major community gathering place. It was at the time of its last vacancy that Roslyn searched deeply for a way forward.
Joining the two churches.
Prompted by Presbytery, a bold decision was made to look at new modes of ministry. Through early discussions, Maori Hill responded positively and further dialogue ensued on a new journey for both parishes in 2002. This was the beginning of a whole new undertaking seeing Highgate church emerge.