Sunday, August 8, 2010

Back to a Church on Sunday

Of all the many churches of the northern Hokianga district, the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Motukaraka is the most prominent. It sits on the northern side of the Hokianga Harbour.  Our first sighting of it was across the harbour from Rawene.  It's an impressive sight, towering as it does above the harbour with the Ngai Tupoto Marae snuggled at its feet.

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:


  1. These are a very good set. The fourth from last is superb......Very creative.......A beautiful building.

  2. The water shell brings me back to when I was young in Sarawak, in Borneo. The RC church used the shell too. We always wonder what kind of oyster it was. (we called all bi shell ones as oysters.)

    Re: Lantana, in my bro's farm, they were so big that my bro had to use tractors to dig them up and burn them. Another time, he used helicopters to spray them. My dad shook his head. " Studied too much and became stupid." Charles is a lawyers by trade, and a farmer by hobby.

  3. Once again, vegetation and water tower aside, we could be looking at an RC church on Cape Breton Island. All so familiar - so beautiful.

  4. That's a lovely and an impressive church particularly by the standards of rural new Zealand. I'm really enjoying your Sunday Chruch postings.

  5. Wow Pauline,I love the holy water font. Thanks for sharing such a stunning building. Happy days.

  6. It is a beautiful Church and when you look out towards the harbour you know that God visits here often.


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