Friday, April 1, 2011

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Thames

My friends Bill and Barabara Ellis made it down to the Thames Heritage Festival last month -- and have sent through these images they took of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church. Opened 18 May 1886, it was the Maori Anglican Church at Parawai for a number of years.

Although it's registered as Category 2 with the NZ Historic Places Trust, they don't have much info online about it. There's a bit more at this other site.

Photos above: the church from the road.

Above: view from the entrance to the rear.

Above: Steel vents in the  floor removed and replaced with this design in wood.

 The organ  - modern day.

 Above: Looking towards the entrance at rear of building.

 More detail of the pitched roof.and the church bell ropes.

The entrance at the rear of the building.

Thanks, Bill & Barbara!


  1. It is so neat, it is almost surreal. The interior is wonderful.

  2. awww how delightful! This would be a fantastic church to make a miniature for. :)


  3. Complete with the milk cart out front.

  4. What a beautiful little church, it's a marvellous sample of true trademen's talents from a long gone era :)

  5. to add to Jayne's comments, I know they dont seek acknowledgement but i think it should be recorded that the restoration was doe mainly to the work of two men, leo and don shaw. Leo with the carpentary and don with the finance. A photo of the Church taken three years ago would have shown it leaning dangerously toward the left and the interior neglected. I would also like to thank my friend Bert Clark for taking monthly Maori services, kia kaha e hoa, toku mahi mo te Atua ki te kapai. SH

  6. Thank you for that, SH. I really appreciate the information. Cheers.

  7. You might find this additional information useful on the church....

  8. In addition to the information provided by Anonymous, the dangerous lean was due to a storm, and the Council was going to condemn the building. Leo and Don Shaw stepped in, along with the generous help from the local electrical board who sank earth anchors into the ground that enabled the building to be winched back up-right, and remedial work to commence.

    There were at least four of the Shaw brothers involved, Leo, the master builder, Don and his financial connections, Eric who rigged the bell rope and additions, and last but not least Joe the electrician, the reason why the church is so well lit now.

    In addition, there were ring-ins such as myself who helped Leo for several week-ends, and various groups who spent a day from time to time during 2008-9 helping with odd jobs here and there.

    The pews were taken away to a warehouse in Thames for storage and refurbishment (including leaving the graffiti on the backs) while the building was being worked on, a new fence built, and a tidy-up around the grounds which are also burial sites.

    On Thursday 18th June 1030, there will be a service for Leo Shaw who passed away on 14th June after a heroic battle with cancer.

    A fitting venue for one who put so much effort and time into the restoration.

  9. I would also like to acknowledge the timely restoration work undertaken by Leo and Don Grant and other who provided support. Special thanks should also go to the Lottery Grants Board who provided a $140,000 grant and the descendants of the original Maori land and church owners by way of the Parawai Play Centre (next door) who contributed $27,000.

    The one acre of land containing the church and Playcentre is the last remaining remnant of the 350 acres of land originally gifted to the Church Mission Society. The stream next to the church and general area is named Herewaka and was the place where waka were tied up when the people visited the original papakainga and church. The was a waka tied up below the church in the Waikiekie stream in early 1960's. The land was originally called tapu before the church was constructed there. It should be noted that Ngati Maru provided the timber for the church and also helped build it. The Toko Toru Tapu church and associated property containing the marked graves of Te Mapu and Turipona and a number of unknown/unmarked burials have been entered into the Heritage NZ List as the Herewaka wahi tapu. The church itself has been Listed as a Historic Place (Category II) and included in the TCDC Historic Heritage Items schedule.

  10. This is a interesting read.
    I am part of a committee of descendants of ancestors of an adjacent urupa te upoku o te manahuri.The names mentioned here occur in research i have been seeking a interview with Don Shaw. Would there be a contact i can access please.