I wrote and illustrated Country Churches of New Zealand. It was published in 2002 by New Holland, Publishers and is still on sale in bookshops. The publishers have kindly agreed to me re-publishing some of the book’s images and descriptions in this blog.
I sketched St John the Baptist, Waimate North, on a perfect autumn day. A warm sun was on my back, and the only sound on the still air was coming from somebody sweeping the drive of the adjacent Mission House.
It's the third church to be built here; the first finished in 1831 on St John the Baptist's Day; the second, built in 1839, was much larger in order to accommodate a congregation that had embraced Anglicanism with enthusiasm. After Hone Heke's war of the mid-1840s, devotional numbers shrank, leaving an over-sized church which was also in a state of disrepair. So they commissioned Marsden Clarke to design a new, smaller one and built it with the timbers of the old church at a total cost of £374. It was dedicated on 19 April 1871 and still stands today, neo-Gothic and finely proportioned.
© DON DONOVAN