post and wire fence
against the wooden church


tomorrow is Daffodil Day here in New Zealand, when we remember those who are suffering from cancer.

New Zealand is full of the old churches built by the pioneers, and many of them are, sadly, no longer in use.  Even in their abandonment there is a hint of holiness.  The old Kutarere Church captured me where it sagged in the rank growth of the paddock (field).  Stark contrast against the bright yellow of spring daffodils.


At Ohinemutu, on the shores of Lake Rotorua, is a magnificent Anglican Church and meeting house of Te Arawa.  This whole area is full of hot springs and boiling mud pools, and visiting any of these sites you are never quite sure where the next hot spring might bubble up. Indeed, as we walked across the cobblestones towards the Church steam was coming up between them.  You should be able to spot the steam in some of the outside photographs.

The name Ohinemutu is not the name that the place was formerly known by, but is the name of a large stone that lies in the cemetery area to the west of the Church, near the stone boundary wall.  The use of the name for the area originated in a song of derision composed by a Chieftain’s daughter after the Pa was sacked.

…and that as the parapet defenders at Ohinemutu were fleeing
they had come within the reach of the hairs of my body.

The concrete burial vaults in the graveyard (urupa) are all above ground because the ground is too hot and unstable for normal burials.  The Church itself is a magnificent wooden building, with stained glass windows, carved supports, and woven tukutuku panels.  Although it was a cold day when we visited it was beautifully warm inside because the natural steam of the area is utilised for heating.  The feeling of being in a Holy place was very strong within the Church, and we both sat quietly for some time just enjoying the peace.

Please do not re-use or re-post any of these photographs, especially those taken inside the Church.