The presence of the Roman Catholic Church in Akaroa dates from 1840. Not long after the original French settlers had arrived, New Zealand’s first Catholic Bishop, Pompallier, visited Akaroa from his North Island base in the Bay of Islands to minister to the settlers.
The settlers erected two earlier chapels in Akaroa before the surviving church was built in 1865. The new church was designed by Christchurch architects Mountfort and Bury. Mountfort was Canterbury’s pre-eminent church architect. He was a master at designing the small timber churches which were all communities like Akaroa could afford but which were, nevertheless, “correct” Gothic. The decorated bargeboards were an early feature of the church, though they were possibly not designed by Mountfort and Bury. The porch was added in 1886 and the tapered bell tower in 1893.
The building has not been altered significantly since 1893. Inside a fine stained glass window, installed in 1930, depicts the crucifixion.