The Parish of St Joseph's Catholic Chruch Hawera was founded in January 1875 by Fr Eugene Pertuis SM as Parish Priest in charge. Fr Pertuis was only in Hawera for a short time and left in 1877 to spent some fruitful years on the West Coast in th South Island and died in Wellington in February 1906.
The first Baptism in the parish was registered in June 1875 and the first marriage was celebrated on February 1877.
The first Church and Presbytery building is now a private home on a farm on Ohawe Road. A second church was built in 1887 (with a small portion of this now residing as the Pottery House at Tawhiti Museum) and a third church built in 1928 (the Gothic style church). The Gothic Church was pulled down in spectacular fashion in November 1993 to make way for the church we have today.
The design of the current building was the result of a long process of consultation, beginning in 1987, between the architects and the Diocese Liturgical Commission, and it was opened in December 1993. The form of St Joseph's Catholic Church has been derived, according to architect Bruce Dickson, "directly from the liturgical requirements - how people want to worship currently". This Church is very significant for the Catholic community of Hawera and district, standing as it does as part of a long history of Catholic worship and education on this site; it is a church that parishioners are proud of, and which suits modern liturgical requirements. It is a carefully conceived and built church, spatially interesting, and a worthy addition to the townscape, where it is seen with the school buildings and manse that make up St Joseph's. It is an entirely modern building in concept, yet has links back to the earlier and vital history of the site. (Source - Architecture New Zealand, November/December 1994)