Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

31 January 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: All Saints', Manaia

'New Zealand Odyssey', published in 1989 by Heinemann, was authored by me, Don Donovan (who did the text and illustrations) and Euan Sarginson, who did the photography and design. In this series of blog posts, I will publish some of my drawings.

This modest little church lies on the hillside at the southern curve of Coromandel Bay. I went inside; the front door didn't need to be locked, it was jammed tightly at the bottom. Inside, a couple of old brooms leaned against the wall, bristles almost eroded to nothing. The church was racked, ends of horizontal boards pulled from their verticals; it seemed neglected and yet bunches of fresh flowers were arranged in vases either side of sanctuary.

It was associated closely with the adjacent Maori marae and I imagine that its sad state was simply a result of there not being enough money in the Maori Anglican kitty to keep it in good repair. But if it had been spick and span it wouldn't have had a fraction of the charm that I found; that's why I painted it.


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By Don Donovan