Makaawhio Whare Karakia
|Bishop Matthews and the Hokitika-South Westland vicar Vivien Harber, and congregation outside the Jacobs River Church last Thursday.|
Nestled in a paddock opposite the Jacobs River School, the little Anglican Church, which opened in 1931, has an enviable backdrop of nearby Aoraki and the other peaks of Ka Tiritiri o te Moana. It has been under a cloud of uncertainty in recent years, with talk of closure and it being uplifted and taken to Christchurch to serve as a chapel in quake-hit areas.
All of that was put to rest last week when the Anglican Bishop of Christchurch Victoria Matthews paid her first visit to the church, conducting an early morning service by the glow of candlelight, and then declared that it was safe from closure and had a future for the community as part of the new 'Pioneer Church Route' of old South Westland churches. St James' at Franz Josef, St Luke's at Whataroa and St John's and St James at Hari Hari complete the Pioneer Route.
The Bishop had wanted a powhiri at the marae before the service to launch the Pioneer Route, but this was not possible as the marae was already full with a visiting group. However, Makaawhio whanau were well represented among the small gathering for the service last Thursday -- Jeff Mahuika, Maria Russell, Helen Rasmussen, Di Solomon and Maree Wilson and moko.