St Paul


Michael Smither



  • Sculpture


  • Steel


  • H1900 x W600mm

Michael Smither, ‘St. Paul’ (1966), near St Joseph’s Church, Ngāmotu New Plymouth

Images: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021


Smither was commissioned to do this work in 1966 for the opening of the new St Pauls Church on Barrett Road.

A corten (weathered) steel sculpture of St Paul looking gaunt and holding a scroll and feather pen. The words on the scroll provided by Father Duggan.

The use of the corten steel was progressive at the time and enabled a work to rust and for that process to seal the surface rather than corrode it.

Smither said: “some eyebrows were raised at its appearance – an unusually gaunt Paul, whose figure began almost immediately to show signs of rust.” Smither recalls the work being vandalized with green paint at one point.

The work was moved when the church was decommissioned in 2003, and at Smither’s suggestion was installed on the wall above the pathway between St Joseph’s Church and the Atkinson Building.