The rain held off as the karanga rang out, calling the assembled people to come down the pathway which leads to St Peter’s Church, Te Kōpuru. Kaumātua Rex Nathan and new vicar The Rev’d Frank Nelson blessed the grounds and buildings as the church re-opened after extensive restoration work over the last few months.
About 100 people gathered on Sunday 27 June to celebrate the patronal festival and the faith and determination of the small congregation who worship at one of the churches in the Parish of Northern Wairoa. Great-grandchildren of the first vicar, The Rev’d Beck, unveiled a plaque, and The Hon Shane Jones cut the ribbon. Whereupon the doors of the church were opened and people flooded in. It was standing room only for the Eucharist followed by some good old-fashioned Kaipara hospitality and no shortage of kai. Members of the thriving Drop-in Centre, which meets weekly in the church hall, did the catering.
In his sermon and prayers The Rev’d Nelson reminded people that the church was built on the faith and generosity of generations past and would continue to be a place of gathering for worship, celebration and lament for all in the community.
Also seen for the first time at the celebrations was the beautiful new pedestal for the shell which serves as a baptismal font. The original was given by the local Māori community in 1902 and the new one was carved by Clem Milich (pictured below with The Hon Shane Jones.)
For more photos and a video of celebrations see the Parish of Northern Wairoa Facebook page.