Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Kutarere Church - 1861
One of those rainy bleak miserable days we had recently we decided to go for a drive and on the way through the countryside I spotted this old church near Opotiki. Looking very old and neglected the Kutarere Church made around 1861 is apparently in the process of being restored by local residents.
A bit of background I found says this:
Opotiki was originally the most populous of several Maori settlements in the vicinity of Opotiki Harbour and was known as Pakowhai. It was a main settlement of the Whakatohea tribe. In August 1861 the Rev. Carl Sylvius Volkner arrived at Pakowhai to establish a mission station and, with Maori help, built a church. When the Whakatohea allied themselves with the Maori “King” movement in 1864, Volkner took his wife to Auckland for safety. During his absence Hauhau emissaries converted most of their tribe to the cause and, subsequently, the mission station was sacked. Volkner was brutally murdered when he returned in March 1865. A punitive expedition arrived by sea on 8 September 1865 and landed at the present town site. Fighting ensued and the hostile inhabitants fled. Intermittent skirmishing with the Hauhaus continued in the immediate district until about the middle of 1868. Most of the original Opotiki settlers were members of the 1st Waikato Regiment who were allotted sections.
An identical one was built which is currently being used in another town but it's nice to know this one will hopefully be looking nice and tidy again soon.