Port Chalmers – Kōpūtai Bay

Kōpūtai is the original Māori name given to the bay known today as Port Chalmers. Kōpūtai translates as Kōpū meaning high or full and tai; tide. The name Chalmers was chosen in honour of Dr Thomas Chalmers who helped establish the Free Church of Scotland in Otago,1843. The township was established when Kai Tahu, the … Read more

Stories – A New Years To Remember.

For many New Years is a time of festivities and fireworks and a chance to reset the clock to achieve goals for the next year. In 1933 the Sawyers Bay Church had its buttons dramatically reset – smoke billowed from under the church’s tank stand and soon took hold. Residents ran to save the church … Read more

Iona, What’s in the name?

One of the questions frequently asked by visitors to Iona Church is whether there is a connection to Iona and its abbey in Scotland. The quick answer is yes and no. On the face of it Iona Port Chalmers is an entirely separate entity. Iona does however, indirectly is linked through taking the same name … Read more

Iona and the Town Clock

Watching a recent documentary about the restoration of the Elizabeth Tower (aka Big Ben), it became clear just how much of a treasure Iona’s clock is. While the scale of Iona’s clock doesn’t compare in either size or infamy, it is the product of the same clever and ingenious thinking characteristic of Victorian engineering and … Read more

The Seamen’s Chapel

If you walk in the side door of Iona, before you get to the pulpit you will find a small side chapel. Side chapels are not a regular feature in Presbyterian churches, but an exception has been made at Iona. Given the close proximity to the port, it’s not hard to imagine why such a … Read more