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OUR History



A new beginning.

Rev. J. A. Scarrow leads a service in a small and disused Methodist church in East Tamaki. His congregation is a group of 22 adults and 12 children that had decided to leave the local Presbyterian congregation, when they perceived the Presbyterian Churches were becoming unfaithful to the word of God.

I thank God there has been brought to this country, in the hour of our need, a Church which has brought the sound doctrine of the Reformation, which, to me, is true Prebyterianism

Rev. J. A. Scarrow

27 September 1953 

A church is founded.

Only months ago, the Reformed Churches of New Zealand had been founded by a group of Dutch immigrants. Rev. Scarrow and his elders meet with the Auckland elders for the first session meeting conducted in English. Shortly after, a Synod officially recognizes Rev. Scarrow as a minister of the Reformed Churches and his congregation as the first to be added to the new federation.



You are all aware that we at Bucklands Beach are now registered as 'The Reformed Presbyterian Church of New Zealand'. Such a serious step has not been taken lightly... we are convinced that we are called by God to bring a reformation to the Presbyterian Church.

John Heenan, Session Clerk

Summer, 1954-1955


A building... and a name.

The new congregation constructs a church building on a site in Bucklands Beach, purchased for the sum of £540. Meanwhile, the leadership builds a stronger relationship with their new denomination, addressing their divergent points of views on the Westminster Confession, church membership, and the name and purpose of their church.

Saturday 14th May 1955 saw the opening of the new church building, and it was fitting that Mr Jack Nicholson of the Sudan Interior Mission was guest speaker. This was in keeping with the aim of Bucklands Beach to be an out-going mission-minded Church.

D G Vanderpyl, Trust and Obey (1993)

Church Interior, 1955

Missionaries... and an unlikely martyr.

Jim and Joan Erkkila join the congregation. Jim would later train for the ministry and serve as a missionary in New Guinea. Carl and Joyce Larsen leave for training in Geelong and would spend time with the Aborigines in Western Australia before eventually returning to Bucklands Beach in 1987. Minka Hanscamp also joins the congregation and leaves shortly after to work as a nurse and missionary in Thailand. In 1974, Minka and her fellow worker Margaret would be kidnapped and murdered by bandits in the Thailand jungle.


We have been told to tell you that we have been taken by the jungle people; we are safe and well... We have a long walk ahead of us today. May the Lord clearly guide you. Still praising.

Minka and Margaret

Farewell to the Heenans, c1956


A new pastor.

J. Alex Scarrow resigns to accept the post of Evangelist for the Auckland Presbytery. Rev. R. J. Venema with his family move to Bucklands Beach to serve as pastor, on loan to the RCNZ from the CRC-NA.

Rev. and Mrs. Scarrow

In our family of Reformed Churches, we in Bucklands Beach are different... I don't have to make a list. Just come to church some time and you will see it for yourself... our Churches and ministers will help us, not by bullying us into rigid conformity, but by showing us the same kind of sympathetic understanding as is expected of us.

Richard J. Venema, 1962

R. J. Venema

The Tysons.

Rev. Venema and family leave to return to the U.S.A. Rev. Thomas E. Tyson from the OPC-NA is installed in April, 1964. He and his family would serve for three and a half years before accepting a call to the Hamilton congregation in 1967.


Children with the Norfolk Pine, c1966

Rev. & Mrs. T. E. Tyson


The Davies

After two years without a pastor, and three calls extended and declined, Rev. Wynford A. Davies of the Greyfriars Presbyterian Church accepts a call and is installed in 1971. In 1975, Rev. Davies resigns from the Reformed Churches and returns to the Presbyterian Church, publishing a lengthy statement in Faith in Focus explaining his reasoning.

Image needed 1970-75ish

Rev. & Mrs. W. A. Davies

The Campbells.

Rev. Ken J. Campbell becomes the pastor in 1976, serving the church of Bucklands Beach till mid-1979.


Church Sign, 1977

Rev. & Mrs. K. J. Campbell


Difficult years.

The church struggles to find a permanent pastor, and sees a significant decline in membership. By God's grace it continues, served by a dedicated session and backed by a supportive denomination.

Mr. R & Mrs. B Storm,

A Vanderpyl, A Davidson, 1980

The Haverlands

Rev. John Haverland serves as a Vicar and then as Pastor, and continues serving faithfully for six years. The church enjoys internal stability and external interest, with a relationship being established with the growing Chinese Christian community in Howick.


Rev. & Mrs. J. A. Haverland & Family

The church, c1990


The Capills Arrive

Murray Capill, another Vicar fresh from his studies, is ordained on the 10th February, 1991. He and his family will serve the church for over a decade.

The Capills Arrive, 1991

Church Camp, 1992

40 years...

1993 sees the first Jubilee celebration, commemorating 40 years of growth, trial, and joy.




Another decade passes, and this once small congregation grows quickly too big for the church building. A new facility is planned, involving removal of the manse and a partial rebuild of the church structure.

The Van Garderens.

Dirk Van Garderen joins as pastor in February, 2002, after Murray Capill leaves with his family to take up a position at the Reformed Theological College in Geelong. 2003 sees the 50th year since the foundation of the church, and is marked by another Jubilee celebration.




On April 15, 2008, six students and a teacher from the local Christian college are tragically killed in what would come to be known as the Mangatepopo Canyon disaster. The church loses one of its own, 16 year old Anthony Mulder.

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