We were lucky to visit when we did as it had been renovated for its Centennial Celebrations at Easter. The original church was entirely funded by the local Maori community. It's hard to imagine the celebrations of its original blessing and dedication which attracted more than 2,000 people. New buildings had to be erected at the marae to accommodate the large number of guests.
Catholic missionary work began in the Hokianga as early as 1838 with the arrival of Bishop Pompallier (we will visit his resting place next week).
The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and the Ngai Tupoto Marae are located on marae reserve land owned by Ngai Tupoto ki Motukaraka. The church is especially important to Ngai Tupoto, who built it and has consistently maintained it for 100 years.
From the steps leading up from the marae and harbour landing, the church beckons from far above.
A beautiful war memorial stands to one side:
On the other is the church water tank:
It's lovely from all sides, including the back:
But, I think the beautiful stained windows at the front are surely one of its loveliest features.
Inside, past the uniquely New Zealand holy water font:
is a truly beautiful church, well used, much loved: