Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Church on Sunday - Waimamaku

While trawling for information about our church this week I came across a lovely story, written by a man who was born in nearby Rawene hospital in 1916 and lived in Waimamaku.  From him I learned that in Maori, Wai means water (I knew that bit) and Mumaku means Big Black Fern.  His story is here.

The modest little plaque on the front of this church tells us who laid the stone but nothing more about the church.  Thanks to the powers of the internet I’ve discovered that Alfred Walter Averill was the Anglican Archbishop of New Zealand in 1931 so it appears either he was a modest man who was known to one and all  by his Christian names (the reference I found said he was “beloved of the people”) or someone got a bit over familiar.  If there was another Archbishop at the time I could find no reference to him.  


So it appears this is an Anglican Church.  One thing Chris and I noticed on our old church hunt was that every Catholic Church we found was unlocked (except one I think) and most of the others were locked tight. 

Trees from the neighbouring property where barking dogs were announcing our arrival (the hounds of heaven maybe?) almost hid the church from our view and the fence had seen better days.  It’s miles from anywhere, up a dirt side road from State Highway 12.  We’d left the road north west at the Waiotemarama  turnoff to visit The Labryinth, a little rural enterprise that Chris has visited before and on our way, up the road  a few miles, we came across this little gem.   (Usually in rural NZ you can tell the distance from the nearest main road by the number at the gate, but not in this case.  The 927 must stand for something else.)



The little bell tower stood above the main door which was to the left hand side of the building.  But the door itself was held firmly shut by an upturned broom which was nailed to the door.  The church was well cared for it’s obviously not often used judging by that broom. 



Further up the road we came to where we had originally been headed.  The proud lady proprietor of the little front building informed us this was only the third puzzle museum in the world.  There were hundreds of puzzles, of every description, housed is beautiful highly polished glass paned wooden cabinets but unfortunately the glare of all that glass and polish lead to lousy photos. 

puzzle museum


  1. That broom nailed to the door gives me dejà vu feelings. Didn't GB have a picture of that too? Searching his NZ blog for it now I can't find it though. I'm convinced I've seen it somewhere and I can't imagine where else! Or is it some kind of habit to lock church doors by nailing brooms to them in NZ?!

    The puzzle museum sounds interesting. I had a blog post on labyrinths and mazes only yesterday.

  2. You must have seen my post a couple of weeks ago, Dawn Treader, when I posted some highlights from our trip around the Hokianga. GB has not yet seen that church. I was disappointed about so many of the churches being locked but that broom was unique!

  3. I'm sure that curiosity would have got the better of me and I'd have removed the broom and replaced it afterwards. I'm sure that's what they'd do to use the church. It must be because the door latch isn't working, surely. It can hardly be a serious attempt to prevent vandals.

    Shame about the puzzle museum. I was just commenting to CJ on another matter that I found it a bit unnecessary recently for some stately homes to refuse to allow photography. I can understand prohibiting flash photography but not ordinary. Others do so I'm not sure I see the point.

    One of the problems with not being able to use filters is that one can reduce or eliminate reflections with a polarising filter.

  4. Thanks Pauline, if you've had a photo of that broom before, then that explains it ;)

  5. Hello Pauline, just catching up reading your blog. The family has been busy playing soccer and making costumes. Lovely photo's Maybe 927 is the number that have gone to heaven!!!! I wonder how many people have tried to take the broom of the door.Have a great Monday.

  6. Jeanne, You've reminded me that I should have posted a link to the Labyrinths. They have every sort of puzzle imaginable, from the simplest young child's wooden block puzzle right up to those horrible brain teasers that require a lot of logic and which totally frustrate me. A lot are for sale but there are many, many more in their museum under lock and key. Although the lady offered to get out any we'd like to have a closer look at. Here's the link if you'd like to have a look:

  7. No pictures of the puzzles in the museum?! And I love old plaques like that. It makes me imagine the person making the plaque, then another putting the plaque up, then others looking at it through the years.


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