Topic: Kawau Wesleyan Maori Church

Topic type:

Kawau Methodist Church - 1854 

In 1854 advertisements appeared in the Taranaki Herald calling for subscriptions for the construction of a "Maori Church".

From the Taranaki Herald 3 May 1854:

"At a Native Meeting held at the Hua [Bell Block] on Good Friday last it was resolved that if possible a suitable place of worship should be erected in the Town district, chiefly for the use of the Ngamotu tribe residing at Moturoa, the Kawau, the Henui and Waiwakaiho. For this purpose a list of has been opened, and the Natives embrace this orthodox method of laying their case before their European friends, with the assurance that any subscription paid in to the undersigned on their behalf will be thankfully received and duly acknowledged." (It was signed by J.Flight, Hoani Ropiha and T.Skinner)

In June 1854 a list of those subscribing to the fund was published - Maori subscriptions totalled £120 17s 6d and European £14 16s.

The church on the east bank of the Huatoki Stream at Kawau Pa was built by George Robinson; the date is unknown although likely to be c1854-55. In early 1860 as tensions between Maori and Europeans escalated Maori were forced to leave Kawau Pa.

According to the West End School Centennial (1884-1984), in about 1866 a school was opened in the church. It was run by Miss Lydia Shaw and her niece, Mary Ann Shaw. It was an infant school known at different times as  the Kawau Pa School and Kawau Primary School. Apparently Lydia Shaw took sole charge of the school in 1878 when it moved to "the sandhills" north of Gill Street and became known as the Gill Street Girls School.

At some stage a wing was added at a cost of £130 and further extension was added about 1880 at a cost of £120. The school closed in June 1884 and the three roomed building was bought by Mr.O.W.Sole for £36. It was then used by the Gymnasium Club while Sole prepared to move the building to his own section.

On the 27th of February 1885 between 1.30 and 2.00 a.m. a fire broke out in the building and by the time the Fire Brigade arrived the wooden structure was almost totally destroyed. The Gymnasium Club lost all their equipment, fortunately for Mr Sole the old church was insured for £150. 

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

Kawau Wesleyan Maori Church


City:New Plymouth
Kawau Wesleyan Maori Church by Mike Gooch is Copyright Act 1994