St Gerard’s sold to ex-pat Kiwi


The word in Wellington is an ex-pat New Zealander has purchased St Gerard’s monastery but the exact price remains uncertain.

The name of the ex-pat buyer and the exact price the iconic Wellington property was sold for are confidential, says listing agent James Copeland, who was charged with selling St Gerard’s.

Settlement on the property is at the end of June.

The category one, heritage-listed church and monastery building, which had been listed on OneRoof with a declared RV of $16.9 million, was snapped up within a month of hitting the market.

In a Facebook post confirming the sale, Copeland said: “It has been an incredible honour to represent the owners for this sale and a massive congratulations to the new owners who will now become part of Wellington’s history.”

The buildings had sold in 1990 for $540,000 to the Institute for World Evangelisation – ICPE Mission, which used them as a retreat and training centre for missionaries.

The buildings were closed almost two years ago after the organisation failed to raise enough funds to carry out the required earthquake-strengthening work.

They are rated just 25 percent of the building standard and need significant work to bring them up to current standards.

St Gerard’s church was built in 1908 and the monastery several decades later in 1932. Both were designed by the city’s most well-known architects, John Swan and Frederick de Jersey Clere.

The northern part of the building has impressive views out to Oriental Bay and over the harbour, while the western side looks out to the city’s well-known landmarks such as Clyde Quay, the waterfront, CBD, stadium and Victoria University.

The buildings sit on 2,433sqm of the city’s most prime real estate.

Family connection

In a curious twist of fate, the estate agent James Copeland said he once lived for a year at St Gerard’s; his parents ran the first missionary school there.

“I was at the school with them. I wasn’t a participant at the school, but I lived there for a year,” he said.

His father, former MP Gordon Copeland, was later St Gerard’s Maintenance and Restoration Trust chairman when the owners were presented with a $10 million earthquake strengthening bill.

“Mum and Dad had their 25th, 40th and 50th wedding anniversaries there. We had Dad’s funeral there four years ago,” he said.

“So, it’s a very, very important building for our family spiritually and as a kind of legacy building, I suppose, for Dad and all the work that he did for the Catholic Church and all the work that he did for the ICPE.”


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  • Correction: The initial version of this article said Gordon Copeland served two terms as a Cabinet Minister. It has been corrected to say he was an MP.
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