Feb. 9, 2022, 8:06 p.m.
St Clement's Anglican Māori Church is a significant part of the Te Rarawa community of Ahipara, where services are conducted in te reo Māori.
In 2007, a committee was established with the purpose of restoring the church in Ahipara to its original condition. Restorations will include the return of unique characteristics that were once part of the church, including "arched windows and the bell tower at the top of the church" according to John Paitai, the Chairman of the restoration project.
Richard Mathews, son of Joseph Mathew’s who was instrumental in the establishment of the church, delivered the first service in the church in the year 1874.
Mehana Nehemia Te Rau was the original carpenter that built the church and is a tupuna of members of the restoration committee. The restoration build is expected to take ‘"at least a year", said Haami Piripi, Chairman of Te Rūnanga o Te Rarawa.
Some of the expected challenges are hazardous, such as asbestos in the roof and borer beetle in the wood which is often found in old, untreated native timber of homes and furniture.
"How much timber will have to be replaced? We don’t know" John said.
Heritage NZ is contributing two thirds of the total cost and the community fundraising project has received grants from Foundation North and the Te Hiku community fund and the fundraising of this project has taken place over the past 15 years, according to John Paitai.
Poroa is a renowned tupuna and chief of Te Rarawa. He was also instrumental during the time that Pākehā missionaries brought Christianity to the Far North of Aotearoa. A famous tribal aphorism or whakatauākī attributed to Poroa is “Kia ū ki te whakapono me āroha tētahi ki tētahi”. This whakatauāki is often translated as, "Hold strong to your beliefs and love one another".
The church building was opened in 1874 and is situated on Roma Road. The church is closely connected to the marae communities of Ahipara.