Welcome to the United Church of Port Chalmers



Iona Church has been present on the current site in one form or another since 1852. Whilst we acknowledge the achievements of those who built us our wonderful architectural structures, the main purpose at the heart of the church has always been the worship of our community and the friendship extended to our neighbours.

 Emmanuel Church, Sawyers Bay is now the heart of our worship. We conduct weekly Sunday Services, and during the week our space is abuzz with gardening and craft groups, young children and parents on Tuesdays after school, and teenagers congregate for games and fun on Friday nights. We are an inclusive bunch and invite you to enjoy our space. Feel free to simply listen, reflect, enjoy our space or join in our worship.

During the year we extend this friendship to visitors from around the world and to those who are able to enjoy the spaces on offer with visiting artists, musicians, actors and regular summer concerts.

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Emmanuel Church, Sawyers Bay
Worship begins with our Sunday Services, delivered by a group of engaging clergy who deliver the narrative of Jesus Christ.  We seek to be part of the action of our community, extending friendship to the local play centre, school, young people, families and the elderly. We extend this friendship to the port, her visitors and crews aboard ships that visit. 


Our rich heritage extends beyond the buildings at both Port Chalmers and Sawyers Bay. In the early days of settlement, and beyond, we became intertwined with the Methodist Mission, from Waikouaiti in the north to the Otakou Marae at the head of the Otago Harbour. Our story is a relatively short affair, but nonetheless is important in the settlement of Otago and the history of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand


Iona is a heritage site. It is not open to the public every day, but during the summer season cruise ship passengers and crew members from around the world are able to visit for quiet pray, reflection or to explore the buildings. We open our space for concerts and performances at selected times during the year. We welcome all those wishing to enjoy the space at these times


Kōpūtai is the original Māori name given to the bay known today as Port Chalmers. Kōpūtai translates as Kōpū meaning high or …

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Watching a recent documentary about the restoration of the Elizabeth Tower (aka Big Ben), it became clear just how much of a …


Iona and Emmanuel offer spaces that suit a number of purposes. If you are looking for a venue to stage a performance, concert or another type of event please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We are happy to discuss how Iona or Emmanuel would best meet your needs.
Historic Iona Category i

Get Involved

We are increasingly reliant on the generosity of our supporters with their time during our busy summer months. We are also grateful to a selection of musicians and performers who entertain audiences.  Donations and proceeds from events support and help to conserve one of our nation’s striking monuments.