Palmerston North’s first Roman Catholic church was erected in Broadway (near Berryman’s Lane) in 1877. It was replaced in 1890 by the first St. Patrick’s Church, which in turn was replaced by this building in 1923-25 on a new site..
It was designed by Clere & Clere of Wellington, who were pioneers in the use of reinforced concrete. The church’s landmark spire is over 45 metres tall, while the spire’s concrete foundation block is over 3.9 metres feet deep. It is thought especially attractive because of its simplicity.
St. Patrick’s became the cathedral of the newly constituted Palmerston North Diocese in 1980. In 1988, Brian Elliott of Dickson, Elliott, Lonergan Ltd., was responsible for major alterations which won him an award from the New Zealand Institute of Architects. It was considered to have preserved and enhanced the essential character of the building. Following this the church was renamed the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit.