Kauwhata church turns 125

Published on 3rd Nov, 2020

Published in WelCom November 2020

The little Catholic church of St Peter and St Paul at Kauwhata Marae, Te Arakura Road, Kai Iwi, near Feilding, turned 125 years old on Tuesday, 20 October, 2020. The people of Ngāti Kauwhata gathered at the church to celebrate this milestone.

Built in 1895, the church was opened on October 20 that year, with Archbishop Redwood celebrating at the first Mass.

Dr Areti Metuamate, of Ngāti Kauwhata, and Chief Executive of Te Kupenga – Catholic Leadership Institute, welcomed everyone to the church. Mons David Bell, of Palmerston North, led the service, which began with a himene and opening karakia and included a reading by Marty Haugen, Psalm 84, Prayers of the Faithful, and ‘E to Matua I re rangi’. 

Mons Bell led the congregation outside to bless the church and the grounds – the resting place for many tupuna. The service ended with a prayer of thanksgiving, a blessing of the people and a final himene. The occasion concluded with a hakari (feast) at the adjoining marae.

In earlier times the church and marae were the focal point for the local Māori and Pakeha community. Many descendants of those families still live in the area and continue to support the church.

Photos and words: Annette Scullion/WelCom

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