Story: Historic earthquakes

St Matthew's Church, Masterton

St Matthew's Church, Masterton

Part of the eastern wall of St Matthew’s Church in Masterton collapsed in the earthquake of 24 June 1942. Five days later, for safety reasons, the army decided to demolish the church. Engineers set off a 16-pound charge of gelignite but nothing happened. They then used a 50-pound charge, which demolished the eastern wall and roof but also rocked nearby buildings, smashing windows in the vicarage and several houses. Another charge finally brought down the western wall and façade. People living near the church complained that the demolition did more damage than the earthquake.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Historic earthquakes - The 1942 Wairarapa earthquakes', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 June 2024)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 28 Mar 2011, updated 1 Nov 2017