Philanthropist Ted Manson buys historic soldier's church

Philanthropist Ted Manson buys historic soldier's church

An Auckland philanthropist and property investor has saved an under-threat historic city church built nearly a century ago as a memorial to World War I soldiers.

Paul Baragwanath, chair of Friends of St David's Trust, said Ted Manson (ONZM) had bought St David's Presbyterian Church, also known as the Soldiers' Memorial Church, built in 1927 on Khyber Pass Rd, Grafton. 

That property was put up for sale a few months ago after the congregation was dissolved last year due to falling numbers.

Manson said today: "It came to Paul's attention in 2014 that the church may be demolished so, after discussions, we worked together constantly over a three-year period to save the church. Together, we managed to achieve a category A heritage listing, which protects the church in perpetuity. Even better now, we own it."

"New Zealand's living World War I memorial is at grave risk," the trust had announced before the purchase. "St David's, the World War I Soldiers' Memorial Church in Auckland, is under imminent threat from commercial development."

But on Saturday, Baragwanath told supporters: "The good news is that Ted Manson, patron of Friends of St David's Trust, purchased all three properties to secure St David's, so the future is looking brighter than it has for many years. Big thanks to Ted, who has supported the project to save St David's since 2015."

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