Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mary of the Crossroads

While GB was showing me the sights around Napier we came across a church and graveyard at a crossroads that he thought I might find interesting.  Of course, he whetted my appetite by telling me there was a story behind this church - but he couldn't recall what it was.  In the main part of the graveyard, in the front of the church, all the graves were surrounded by these little wrought iron fences that I've never seen here in the north.

I don't think I've ever before seen seats in a graveyard.  They appealed to me and I wonder why there aren't more of them?  The presence of those seats told me more than the flowers or the monuments.

Maybe I'm a bit odd but I do love wandering around graveyards and wondering at the stories that rest therein.  

It's unusual, in my experience, to come across a headstone that really tells a story as this one did.

This was very obviously a Maori cemetry.  At the side gate was a little stand with 6 or 8 plastic bottles holding water.  It's a Maori custom to splash yourself with water when leaving a graveyard to remove the tapu (sacredness or the forbidden).   My simple interpretation is it's to remove any evil spirit that may be lurking.

Just as we were about to get in the car and drive away, GB drew my attention to a little shrine on the opposite side of the road.

And there she was was, encased in glass, behind a gated fence with a simple bench in front of her, Mary of the Crossroads.  No graffiti, beautifully maintained. 

I loved how she was decked in several rosary beads and a Maori clock - a beautiful blending of the cultures.  (Sorry about my reflection in the glass, I didn't notice that at the time.)


  1. Oh she is beautiful! What a wonderful surprise to find her there. I love the feathered cape that is draped around her.
    A beautiful cemetery and Mary of the Crossroads.
    Great photos....

  2. Thanks, Farmlady. I had added a comment about the Maori feathered cape and her rosary beads - a beautiful blend of cultures but no matter how many times I added it, it kept disappearing!

  3. I'm partial to a wander round a cemetery myself. Looks a superb example.

  4. I have passed that church so many times I couldn't begin to count them but it takes a companion to allow one the reason and purpose actually to take the time to explore. Thank you.

    I'm sorry but I just had to add the WV: diefor ! Couldn't get much more appropriate than that for a cemetery, eh?

  5. I love graveyards - studied a lot of them in university for courses in cultural and historical geography. I've never seen seats in a graveyard, but I love the idea!

  6. The explanation wouldn't allow you to post it because it's a secret! :0)
    Canadian Chickadee


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