Evensong marks 100 years on present site

Chancel, organ and sanctuary of second St Matthew's Church

Chancel and Sanctuary, second St Matthew’s Church, showing the 1899 Hobday pipe organ, the carved pulpit, choir stalls, altar rails, altar, reredos and Meredith windows – 09-156/32.R12B4S1

I was glad when they said unto me:
We will go into the House of the Lord

St Matthew’s Day, 21 September 2013, marked 100 years since St Matthew’s moved into its second church on a new site in Church Street, where it is today. Continue reading

Ted’s 60th anniversary Eucharist


The Rev’d Ted Dashfield celebrated Eucharist in fine style at 8 am, on Advent Sunday, 2 December 2012, 60 years exactly since he celebrated his first Eucharist – at this very altar – in 1952.

The beautiful Meredith stained-glass windows formed a backdrop to Ted as he celebrated.  The text – from Matthew 5:16 –  that flows across the bottom of the windows, seemed to sum up Ted’s wonderful ministry perfectly:

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven

Tinui joins in


The Rev’d Steve Thomson points to the photo of a young Ted Dashfield

A large contingent of Tinui people joined members of the Dashfield family, Masterton and other Wairarapa parishioners for this special service.  Tinui’s Priest-in-Charge, the Rev’d Steve Thomson, produced a photo collage of the first eight vicars of Tinui, including a dashing, youthful, Ted Dashfield. He talked about Ted’s role as his mentor: “Preparation, Steve. Preparation.”

Ted, in turn, described Tinui as his “spiritual home”.

History recalled

Ted’s address was a walk through his career, from the influence of Wanganui Collegiate head, F. W. Gilligan, to being part of J Force (occupation of Japan, immediately after the Second World War).

Those who interviewed him as a prospective candidate for ordination included former St Matthew’s Vicar, (then) Archdeacon E. J. Rich.

Marriage to the lovely Helen Berney was followed by a stint in England and Ted was offered the Parish of Tinui. He accepted “by return post.”

Tinui loved Ted and Ted loved Tinui.  An up-hill-and-down-dale parish, spanning 80 miles from end-to-end (and most of it on gravel roads) kept Ted more than fully occupied.  And, if meeting the pastoral and liturgical needs of such a widely spread congregation wasn’t enough, he also found time to get St John the Evangelist, at Homewood, and St Peter by the sea at Castlepoint built as well.

Four years at Carterton (which also involved another huge building programme which Ted didn’t mention) was followed by an invitation in 1969 to be (much loved) Headmaster of St Matthew’s Collegiate School for Girls.  This was followed by stints at various other Anglican schools.

He was looking for a fresh challenge in 1983 when Bishop Edward Norman asked him to “fill in” for six months at Tinui. This brief appointment stretched to six years.


Soprano Katherine Sprowson sings Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus
during the Administration

At a time in life when most clergy are happier in a comfy armchair reading the Church Times, Ted continues to make a huge contribution at Choral Evensong and 8 am Eucharists at St Matthew’s, as well as supporting children and youth activities. He can often be spotted at St Andrew’s in the Paddock.  Forward thinking, supported by a life of prayer, loved by both young and old throughout the parish, Ted offers a style of ministry leadership as relevant today as it was forty years ago, when he was in his prime.  Actually, he still is in his prime.


Heads together: the Rev’d Ted Dashfield, former Headmaster of St Matthew’s Collegiate School for Girls, with another former principal, Erik Pedersen. 

Here’s to you, Ted.  We’re looking forward to the 70th anniversary!

More photos from the big day are available here.

Ted Dashfield’s Diamond Jubilee – the photos

The Rev'd Ted Dashfield
The Rev’d Ted Dashfield at the conclusion of the 8 am Eucharist to mark 60 years since his ordination

In possibly a first for St Matthew’s, not one, but three photographers (Caryl Forrest, Bruce Levy and Judy Wagg) were busy at the 7 pm Choral Evensong on Advent Sunday, 2 December 2012, when Anglicans across the Wairarapa, together with members of the Dashfield family, joined together in a triumphal service to mark the 60th anniversary of the Rev’d Ted Dashfield’s ordination to the priesthood, in 1952.

Caryl Forrest also photographed and wrote about the 8 am Eucharist here.

All the photos from the great day are available here and here.

Ted Dashfield’s Diamond Jubilee


Rev. Ted Dashfield
The Rev. Ted Dashfield, September 2012

On December 2, Advent Sunday, Ted Dashfield celebrates the 60th anniversary of his ordination as a priest.

Ted, who has spent 58 of his 60 years in the church in the Wairarapa, was born in 1926 in Wanganui, the fourth of five children. “It was quite a good year,” he says. “The Queen, Marilyn Monroe, Phar Lap and President Mugabe were of the same vintage.”

Service not self

In 1931, at the start of the Depression, the barefoot Sunday-School regular became a pupil at Queens Park School, close to the Sarjeant Art Gallery and what is now the Whanganui Regional Museum. He remembers passing through the entrance archway inscribed with the school motto: Service not self.

Eight years later he entered Wanganui Collegiate, whose then headmaster, F.W. Gilligan, had kept wicket for Essex and was to exert a strong influence over Ted’s life. There he was confirmed in the school chapel and regularly fainted from hunger before the 8am Sunday service.

When World War ll broke out “boys were leaving school and going away and being killed,” says Ted.

“The war, the Holocaust and the atomic bomb were somehow the background of my life.”

Off to Japan

After two unsuccessful applications to Australia’s Royal Military College – Duntroon he joined J Force in the 22nd Battalion in 1946. The proud motto of the 22nd, once commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Haddon Donald, was Second to None. His ship arrived in Kure, Japan, base of the miniature submarines that penetrated Sydney Harbour, and the 2000-strong brigade was based in Yamuguchi Prefecture, very close to Hiroshima.

There, “a ‘mad’ padre got under my skin,” says Ted. “I’ll talk about him at the Advent Sunday services. I also remember a little Japanese boy calling out to me, ‘Shoeshine? Shoeshine, soldier?” at about 2am at the Osaka railway station and giving up my hopes and plans to be a soldier. I thought the army was not the best way for me any longer. I’ll be talking about that, too.” (For ten years Ted was part of the army’s army’s Chaplain’s Department.)

He served two terms in Japan, the best part of three years, then came home and applied for ordination. “To my surprise, after quite a wait, I was accepted.”

Masterton Curate

Clipping of parish magazine entry, showing the Rev. Ted Dashfield as Assistant Curate, 1952
Parish magazine directory entry from 1952

After two years’ training at College House in Christchurch Ted was ordained deacon in 1951, priested in 1952 and served as curate at St Matthew’s, Masterton, for three years. Kingi Ihaka, later Sir Kingi, was a curate there at the same time.

In Masterton he met Helen Berney, twin daughter of Dr Hugh and Lilian Berney. Strangely, says Ted, Hugh Berney was the doctor who attended the riot by Japanese prisoners of war at the Featherston military camp.

In 1955 they married and immediately sailed to England where Ted was to spend two years as curate in Cannock in the diocese of Lichfield. “They were wonderful people; a vicar, five curates and a Church Army captain.”

Tinui beckons

Shows Rev Dashfield welcoming Bill and Anne Douglas of 'Ramaruwai' and their five daughters to service at St Andrew's Church, Whareama.
Shows the Rev Ted Dashfield welcoming Bill and Anne Douglas, of ‘Ramaruwai’, and their five daughters to the moring service at St Andrew’s Church, Whareama. 01-25/129

The Rev’d Ted Dashfield welcomes the Douglas family to St Andrew’s, Whareama, 1958 – 01-25/129.digital

At the end of his term he received a letter from the Bishop of Wellington Reginald Owen asking him to become vicar of Tinui. “The bishop said it’s the only vacancy, and please let me know by return post!” He did so.

Interior - St John the Evangelist, Homewood

The lovely light interior of St John the Evangelist, Homewood

In Tinui from 1957 to 1964, he was involved with the establishment of St John’s, Homewood and, with great help from Castlepoint residents Jack and Erica Broad, he helped prepare the ground for St Peter’s by the Sea. They obtained land from the government of Sir Keith Holyoake, Ted chose the name St Peter’s by the Sea and things were underway when he left Tinui to become vicar of Carterton.

Dashfield family

The Dashfield family, taken while Ted was Vicar of Carterton.
Left to right: Helen, James (standing), Ted, with Philip and Prue sitting in front. 


Then, “out of the blue”, he was appointed headmaster of St Matthew’s Collegiate School, serving there from 1969 – 1980 and starting a fashion for male principals in girls’ schools.

School chaplaincies at Nga Tawa and Huntly followed; then two terms as interregnum headmaster of St George’s School Wanganui in 1982.

Back to Tinui

Pressed then by Bishop Eddie Norman, “the soldier bishop”, to become priest in charge of Tinui, Ted felt he had been there, done that and politely declined. The bishop politely insisted, and Ted said “I’ll do it for six months which will give you time to find somebody else.” The six months became almost six years! Home for the duration was their Riversdale bach.

Ted eventually “retired” in 1988.

Join us at St Matthew’s Church for 8am Eucharist and/or 7pm Choral Evensong, Advent Sunday, December 2. All are very welcome.