2 Dec 2011

Centennial celebrations for Maori Anglican church

8:11 pm on 2 December 2011

The Maori Anglican Bishop in Bay of Plenty, Ngarahu Katene, will be among about 150 people who are expected to attend centennial celebrations on 3 December at St Matthew's church north west of Taupo.

The tiny Maori Anglican church in the small settlement of Oruanui was built in 1911 from pit sawn totara and features traditionally woven tukutuku panels and kowhaiwhai or scroll paintings.

It was neglected after the local timber mill closed, and lay largely unused from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Sarah Hart is part of a group who've spent many years restoring the church and says the process has been slow and gentle.

She says it was only in 2010 that the power was connected to the historic church.

Ms Hart has also compiled a history of the church and how it shaped the lives of local Maori, pakeha, and immigrants in Oruanui.