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Our Heritage: The Stories of People, Lifestyle, Community andEverything else in between, from the past to the present, and beyond.Issue 4— 27 August 2010
K a i p a r a
Standing on the shores of this silent place it was hard toimagine that once, over a century before, here at Tanoa was ahub of activity.The settlement of an Uriohau Chief Arama Karaka was here andlater the Wesleyan missionaryReverend William Gittos.* Somuch history to be told . What went on there during those earlyyears that shaped the lives of the generations that have followedsince. It is what stands there now as silent perhaps, an almost ashadowed testament to those events of the early days ofsettlement.Tanoa was once known by the name of Kakaraea and justbeyond Oahau, now called Batley.In 1874 on the shores of Kakaraea a finegothic-style church made of the mighty kauri was built. Its siting had a particularsignificance. According toDick Scottin his book "
Seven Lives onSalt River
" the site was Wahi Tapu and for Arama Karaka it helda personal concern. Having converted to christianity he had alsoabandoned his father's name Haututu, to take the name AdamClark and the doing came the rejection of the tapu surroundinghis father's death. Dick Scott recorded thefollowing:"Haututu had been killed defending his land from Ngapuhimuskets in 1825. His body had been taken by canoe down theOtamatea to be cooked and eaten at his own Kakaraea kainga.A big pohutukawa marked this especially tapu ground. Themissionary (William Gittos) set out to destroy the tapu byemploying Europeans to build a church on the site. Ahandsome building with great kauri beams supporting a highvaulted roof, it became known as the "Cathedral Church ofGittos". At first Arama Karaka was afraid to enter it and violatehis father's memory, but Gittos persuaded him with a prayer".After much research and finding different years 1875 and 1877for the construction of the Gittos Church I finally found anarticle from the
Daily Southern Cross
dated 17th April 1874.
Opening of the Wesleyan Church at Kaipara
"The opening of this new Church took place on SundayMarch 29th. The building is of wood, built in the gothic style.It is fifty feet in length, by thirty feet in breadth, and providessitting accommodation for about three hundred worshippers.It is proportionately of a very lofty character, the matter ofventilation having received due consideration, a requisitequality in any church where the natives worship. We wereglad to notice there was no pulpit, but a plain reading deskinside the communion rail.....Mr Symonds* was the architectand builder."
Cathedral, no longer. Time took its toll on the grand gothic fa-cade finally succumbing to rot and a high wind the highvaulted roof structure in the end was removed for safety rea-sons. The church originally faced the shoreline. According tolocal Iwi sources the building was turned around and wasshortened. What remains is a plain unassuming buildingflanked by old gravestones, its bell now erected alongside nolonger tolling the call to morning service. Birds fly in and out ofthe gaps left behind from long since broken windows - a sadtestament to a glorious past. Now though, hope is on thehorizon for this special place. Plans are in place to restore thisicon of our heritage where once William Fox had visited andmemories of old battles remain.