The role of the church as the quasi-national cathedral for 98 years meant that it has been used for many state funerals over the year. Perhaps the biggest was the 1906 funeral of Richard John Seddon, in 1906, as shown below. Further images are contained in this story.
Mourners gathered outside Old St Paul’s for the funeral of Richard John Seddon, 1906
Old St Paul’s also accommodated the first state funeral given for a private citizen, Sir Frederick Truby King, in February 1938. So great were the flowers donated for the funeral that two trucks carried them to the church (as seen in the image above). Plunket nurses and committee members took turns to stand guard for 10 minute intervals at the four corners of his coffin for the three hours before the service.
Plunket nurses standing guard at Turby King’s funeral.
Others who have state funerals at Old St Paul’s include military leaders such as Sir Howard Karl Kippenberger and statesmen like Sir Maui Pomare.
Funeral of Sir Howard Karl Kippenberger, 1957
Images: Top image – the funeral of Sir Frederick Truby King, 1932. Photo by Sydney Charles Smith. Ref: 1/2-048501-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22299474. Second image – Seddon’s funeral – New Zealand Graphic, 27 June 1906. Third image – Nurses keeping guard beside the coffin of Sir Truby King. Ref: 1/2-122007-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23144981 Fourth image: Funeral of Kippenberger. Ref: EP/1957/2103-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23126502