While road-tripping through Northland to get to an investigation destination, Sam and I (in the “boys” car) stumbled upon the tiny old abandoned Parirau Zion Church, built in 1889, sitting lonely in a field on Otuhianga Road, off State Highway 12 on the way towards Dargaville. The church served the Anglican congregation at Parirau until the 1930’s when it was transferred to the Ratana congregation. It is currently closed for restoration and the local restoration committee is seeking funds for this work.
From the Anglican Church Gazette for May 1889:
‘Parirau, Kaipara. – New Maori Church. –It is several years ago that the Maoris of Parirauewha, Kaipara, commenced collecting funds wherewith to build a new church, their old one having become dilapidated. They are a colony of the Rarawa tribe from Whangape, Herekino, and Ahipara, and as they had to purchase the land they occupy from the European settlers, they have had a hard struggle to acquire the means for attaining their object. By steady exertion they have succeeded, and are now in possession of a house of prayer of which no English community need be ashamed. The building will accommodate 130 worshippers, and is complete in every detail. The cost, with furniture, was £198, and on the evening of the opening day, not only were all the liabilities defrayed, but there was a small balance to credit…’
Photos by Mark Wallbank and Sam Collier
Note: All photographs were taken through the windows without entering the building, adhering to posted safety notices.