The-Church-at-Pakuranga

from the book "A Quota of Qualtrough" Pages 71 to 74

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HOWICK IN 1863 showing the Methodist Church (right of centre) surrounded by a hedge, before the building was moved to the QUALTROUGH property at Pakuranga.

The small white, weatherboard building is of a simple design comprising an entrance porch leading into the nave which has three narrow, wirenettinged windows on each side. It accommodates perhaps 50 persons with a row of little chairs beneath the pulpit for children.

Many a tiny rump must have wriggled uncomfortably under the awesome eye of the Sunday preacher on a humid Auckland summer day.

An entry in HISTORY OF METHODISM IN HOWICK AND PAKURANGA -1852-1963 by the Rev. E.W. Hames, states that the church was built in Howick in 1852, donations coming from farmer-settlers of the district. A wooden building with a shingle roof, it was erected in Picton Street on the site where the police station now stands.

A photograph in AUCKLAND THROUGH A VICTORIAN LENS by W. Main, shows the village of Howick as it was in 1863. And village it was, mostly rolling, open countryside with a scattering of farmhouses and three churches - Roman Catholic, All Saints Anglican and Methodist.

The latter is definitely 'ours', although even smaller than it is today. It was enlarged by about half in 1876, 10 years after being re-sited in Pakuranga. Some time, also, the shingle roof was replaced with iron.

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Violet Corlett from Douglas, Isle of Man, reads the Old Bible on the Pulpit in the Church. Photos taken during the 1979 Reunion of the Qualtroughs.

For 12 years after its construction the church was well patronised and we can speculate that James and Catherine and other devoted Wesleyans would not have complained at the five kilometres or so they had to travel per four-legged horsepower or Shank's pony, to attend Divine Service. In his arrival in Pakuranga (1860) James had swung into action promoting Methodism. He acted as ‘unpaid curate’ and lay preacher when an ordained minister was not available.

Towards 1864, however, there was a commercial slump throughout the land and several settler families left the district. In the predominantly Catholic area, attendances at the Methodist church dwindled to the extent that it was decided to shift the building to Pakuranga.

James gave a small portion of his land for the site, enough to include a graveyard which, today, is one of only a few Methodist cemeteries in existence. It was close to his residence and bordering the Howick-Panmure highway at the foot of a short rise known locally for many years as Qualtrough's Hill.

Before farmlands were chopped up for suburban housing, a creek crossed the road under a wooden bridge and a belt of macrocarpa trees sheltered the church from strong sea winds and gave a safe roost to generations of birds as they assailed the setting sun shrilly with their bedtime chatter.

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HE METHODIST CHURCH in 1977, anachronistic among modern housing, before it was moved to the Howick Historic Village

From 1866 until his death in 1881, James continued to take care of church and churchgoers. Mr. Alan La Roche, of the Howick Historical Society, found a clipping in the back of the old Bible long used in the church and we can imagine James solemnly passing the message on to his congregation. It reads (in part):

"THE EXCELLENCE OF WATER"

"What a pity the excellence of water is so little appreciated! Many despise this valuable gift from God because it is cheap and plentiful. Three-fourths of the human body is water; and this is continually wasting, it is absolutely necessary to take in fresh supplies; and the freer it is from alcohol or other deleterious mixtures the better it is………….."

"…. All uncorrupted palates drink it with a zest and it never leads to excess. It is grateful to our feelings, creates rational cheerfulness and natural animation. It is the drink that need not to be locked up from children or servants."

"It is the oldest, cheapest, safest drink. It is the real beverage of Nature and all other liquids are chiefly composed of water - health, happiness, innocence! But allow alcohol to be mixt with it and the effects are drunkedness, poverty, crime, misery and death. Every cup of cold water deserves a thanksgiving to God!"

"…. You can scarcely abuse water. The stomach likes it and so does the skin. Besides drinking it freely if you would feel cheerful and lively and enjoy good health, you ought to wash the body all over every morning."

The author was not given a credit but as temperance was dear to the Qualtrough heart, no doubt the quote was heard many times.

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Acknowledgement: HOWICK HISTORICAL SOCIETY

THE CHURCH in its final resting place in the Howick Historic Village, Bell Road, Howick. Members of the Society are to be commended for their efforts in restoring the building to its former glory.

Beneath the pulpit was a small harmonium which had to be treadled with verve and good timing to keep the music flowing for hymns. Emily also donated the harmonium she had owned and we believe this is the one still in the church.

Sunday School classes and family services were held in the church right up to 1963. Mr. Keith Lawry, a member of the Remuera Methodist Church, was supervisor for 26 years (1936-1962).

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Looking toward the front of the Church showing the old Church Organ, the Pulpit, from which James Qualtrough would have delivered many a sermon, and on the wall a plaque commemorating James and Catherine Qualtrough as founding members of the Church.

A brass plaque honouring James and Catherine was placed in the church in 1963, the dedication service being taken by the Rev. E.D. Pat chett.

When Emily died in 1941, she left £100 (sterling) in trust for the upkeep of the church. In 1963, when a regional 'new' Methodist church was constructed at Pakuranga, combining a number of the smaller parishes of the districts of Panmure, Howick and Bucklands Beach, the administrators of the 'o1d' church Trust asked the Manukau City Council to accept responsibility for the building and environs.

The conditions attached to the transfer were:

That the Council would not permit the building or the grounds incorporating the graveyard to be used for a purpose not compatible with principles of the Methodist Church.

That the Howick Historical Society have use of the building and be responsible for its maintenance.

That a plaque be placed on the site giving a brief history of the church.

Looking from the front toward the entrance. The internal starkness of the Church depicts the desires of those who followed the Methodist beliefs of simplicity and no frills.

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