Story: Presbyterian Church

First woman Presbyterian minister

First woman Presbyterian minister

Although women were a majority in congregations and central to the success of church missions, the cultural attitude that women should not hold public office saw them denied positions in church government. This changed from the 1950s as more liberal attitudes saw the church admit women as elders and then as ministers. New Zealand's first Presbyterian minister was Margaret Martin, who had served as a deaconess (a female lay officer assisting a minister). This photograph shows her ordination in St Andrew's, Wellington, in 1965. In 1987 Martin was elected moderator of the Presbyterian church. 

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Presbyterian Archives, Knox College

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How to cite this page:

Ben Schrader, 'Presbyterian Church - Growth, reform and challenges', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 October 2021)

Story by Ben Schrader, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Mar 2017