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A Church on the Move; the Relocation of the Church of the Good Shepherd

Background

This project has been under discussion for over five years. The accumulation of reports to allow informed decision making have taken most of that time.

The Church of the Good Shepherd, Tinui was opened on July 23, 1903 and consecrated on March 24, 1904. Since that time it has been an important presence and played an integral role in the Tinui village and district. It has been a place of spiritual respite during times of crisis.

The “Conservation Plan” makes the following historical facts:
Flooding of the church occurred in 1936, 1941, 1953, 1956 (three times), 1980, 1988 and 1991. (pp.8) and in 2004.
Due to the flooding the church has been re-piled and raised twice.
The idea of moving the church was mooted in 1940, but not acted on.
On April 25, 1916 at 7.30am a commemorative service was held in the Church of the Good Shepherd, and is considered the first of any held throughout New Zealand Australia and the United Kingdom. (pp.7)

The Church is listed as a Category 2 Historic Place (No. 3957). (pp. 28).

Lychgate

This structure was added to the site in the 1980’s commemorating the significant relationship to the church, the Tinui Parish and District of the Maunsell family.

Rationale for the Relocation

The church is situated on a flood plain, and as noted in the “Conservation Plan” has been flooded 11 times and repiled twice. Options to protect the church were:
a) To raise the ground level of the section by 1.5 metres and repile or
b) Repile and lift the church 2.0 metres such that it would avoid being flooded.
With either option there were no guarantees. Then there were the facts that wheelchair access would be severely restricted and the height of the church above ground would make it an eyesore on the surrounding landscape.

It is also recognised that a declining rural population and therefore willing hands to recover from some future flooding event, may not be present.

Hence the decision to relocate the church to a section that is not flood prone, more central to the Tinui village, closer to other heritage buildings and visible to visitors of the area. To do nothing would see an historic church gradually disintegrate and sink into the flood plain of the Whareama River, and disappear from the consciousness of all.

As part of the shift to 7 Blackhill Road it is hoped the Lychgate will also be deconstructed and moved to the new location, with its orientation facing towards the Tinui Taipo and the “Anzac Cross” located there.
The new location and orientation will enhance the historical relationship between the church, the lychgate and the Anzac Cross.

Discussion

The Church of the Good Shepherd has been a part of the local community for over a century and has a unique place in the national conscience. This allows an ongoing mission of worship and solace to the congregation and people of the district. For visitors to the district a place to meditate, pray and reflect on the hope, peace, love and joy that a living Christ brings to a world that has too many least, lost and lonely.

Since 1940 wasted funds have been spent to retain the church in its current location, when literally all other buildings have been moved from the flood plain. Already the unique stained glass windows are under stress and damage is occurring to the structure as a consequence of the sinking piles. The Parish has made the costly decision to move the church to a safer location

Relocating the church is the first stage of this project, stage two is to repair the building fabric and windows, replace the roof, restore the steeple and do the necessary ground works. Then as part of stage three, the interior of the church will be renovated and restored and ground works completed.

The intent is to have a commemorative service at 7.30am on Saturday 25th April 2020

A Place in New Zealand Conscience

The Church of the Good Shepherd was built by the early settlers of the Tinui District as a place of worship to a living and loving God who sacrificed His only Son so that human kind could have an example of what it means to live in love and peace. The young sons, fathers and uncles who volunteered in that first world conflict believed that, and were prepared to make that ultimate sacrifice themselves, believing that verse “greater love hath no man than to give up his life for another”.

The Church of the Good Shepherd or now know colloquially as the “Anzac Church” gained its reputation because on Sunday, April 25th 1916, at 7.30am the congregation held its first memorial Anzac service. It served as a solace in the grieving process for many of the district families and a remembrance. Then the vicar had organised men, women, Boy Scouts and other children to carry the materials required to construct the first Anzac Cross on the Tinui Taipo. Hence the “Anzac Church” became part of the national conscience and people worldwide make a pilgrimage to visit the church and Anzac Cross, not as some commemoration of war but as a remembrance of the sacrifice that 1.6% of New Zealand’s population made in that first worldwide conflict (16,697 killed and 41,317 injured, a 58% casualty rate.) and also those who have sacrificed their lives in subsequent conflicts, so that we who “do grow old” could enjoy a free and democratic society.

That remembrance is an act of reflection, focusing on why they did this and have we honoured their ultimate sacrifice. Would they who “will not grow old” believe that New Zealand society today was worth their sacrifice? Would they be happy with the poverty, the economic inequities and the violence to children, to women and families presented in today’s New Zealand or in the international arena that New Zealand is part of? 

Project Timeline

Wednesday 7th February 2018 – 7 Blackhill Road purchased from Rick Kellow and Carol Lane.
Tuesday/ Wednesday 30th/31st October 2019 – Contamination remediated.
Wednesday March 6th 2019 – Church relocated to 7 Blackhill Road, by Brittons House Movers
March 2019 – repiling process completed by Riggs Zschokke
April 2019 – Baseboards, deck and access ramp completed
Winter 2019 – Steeple and church furniture restored and new alter table made by Mens Shed
Late spring - early summer 2019 – reroofing, external walls and features of the church repaired, steeple base repaired, exterior painting and guttering replaced.
Summer 2020 – interior renovated, electrical work completed
Late summer and autumn 2020 – ground works completed and front fencing installed

Summary of Contractors

A & T Roofing
Brittons House Movers
Fall Protect - Scaffolding
Ian Few Electrical
LGE Consulting Engineers
Loaders Engineering and Crane Hire
Riggs Zschokke

For More Information

Vicar – Steve Thomson – (027) 6231699
Parish Secretary – Bob Alsop (027) 6646838
Donations towards this project – BNZ  (02) 0688-0027673-001