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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 7 (December 1, 1932)

Some Storied Churches

Some Storied Churches.

A peculiar interest attaches to some of the old-fashioned churches dating back to the first Bishop Selwyn's time that one sees here and there in the Waikatp and elsewhere. They were built with funds subscribed chiefly by the Maoris, and largely by Maori labour, and until the wars and the confiscation of native land their congregations were Maori. Now, never a Maori is seen within their doors, for the pakeha, after the conquest, took church as well as the land; and now they are the local parish churches.

One of these is the pretty Church of England in Te Awamutu; another is Rangiaowhia Church, three miles away. Yet another is the celebrated Volkner Church, in page 47 the middle of Opotiki town, once the worshipping place of the Whakatohea tribe. The only church I know that has remained wholly Maori through all the changing times since the Fifties of last century is the massive native-built church at Otaki, described in a recent number of the Railways Magazine.

The most venerable of all our New Zealand churches is the little English Church in famous Kororareka, the modern township of Russell. It is very little short of a century in age; it was there before New Zealand came under the British flag. But it has been renovated, and in one way or another, it does not possess the antique charm that the two old solidly-timbered Waikato churches mentioned, hold for the eye.