Friday, 20 July 2018

St Faiths Anglican Church of Ohinemutu

The Maori Church 

St Faith's was known as the Maori Church during the late 1880's to early 1900's.

1880-1881 Principal Arawa chiefs are making moves to set aside a piece of land at Ohinemutu to build a church, it was to be called St Faith’s.  Part of the Muruika Peninsula is decided on and locals called in Tuhoto to lift the tapu on the area which was a burial ground for earlier residents of that pa. 

“Reverend Ihaia Te Ahu (who has steadfastly labored amidst many discouragements as an ordained clergyman of the Church of England since 1860 amongst his countrymen, the loyal tribe of the Arawa) is very desirous of erecting a church at Ohinemutu where he resides. He feels the great want of a suitable building in which the people may assemble for public worship…. I would therefore very earnestly appeal to the English residents, and to the many visitor and tourists… to contribute towards building of a commodious and suitable Church, such as will be an ornament to the new township.” This article is followed by a subscription list of those who have already contributed. Daily Telegraph 1881-06-01, pg. 4.

Bishop of Waiapu laid the foundation stone on 5 June 1884.
St Faith’s is consecrated in 1885.

Reverend Ihaia Te Ahu is appointed 1st Vicar of St Faith’s in 1882 and remains until 1889.

Rev. F.H. Spencer (son of Seymour) took up residence there in 1887 and remains until 1895.

Showing exterior view of the old St Faiths Church at Ohinemutu
Photographer James Richardson c1895-1930s
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-6188'

Rev. S. Ingle arrived to take the post in 1896 and Ratema Te Awekotuku is admitted as a deacon. Te Awekotuku serves there until 1902 followed by Walter Tuahangata Fraser until 1905. Frederick Augustus Bennett (born Ohinemutu 1871) is ordained as a deacon in 1896, followed by in 1897 as a priest… takes charge of St Faith’s c1905-1917 he is ordained as the 1st Bishop of Aotearoa. 

Serves until his death in 1950 and is buried under the sanctuary of ‘his’ church.  During his time the new St Faith’s was built and the older one moved and turned to face west c.1910 it was still used as a Sunday school & church hall until Feb 1936 when it collapsed during a severe gale. The pieces of the old church were then removed from the site altogether.

Showing exterior view of the new St Faiths Church at Ohinemutu
Photographer James Richardson
'Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-6187' 
For more information see the St Faith's website or their Facebook page.

With thanks to the Don Stafford Collection, Papers Past and Auckland City Libraries for the above info and images.

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