Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

24 July 2009

Country Churches of NZ 5. Holy Trinity, Mehopa, Northland

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.


Holy Trinity, Mehopa, on western Northland’s Whangape Harbour must be the most remote of North Island churches. I tried twice to find it until the driver of a road metal truck told me where it was.

Beyond a private gate at the end of the shingle road a faintly discernible 4WD track ran through scrub past a run down farm littered with rusting wrecks of cars and machinery, and other discarded items. The surrounding paddocks were mostly unfenced, the remains of old posts sticking up like abandoned wharf piles. Young manuka, about 60cm high, scraped the underside of the car and I feared I might be bogged down forever. The Anglican church eventually revealed itself in well kept grounds, where many graves had fresh flowers.

The main gate leads down to mud flats on the side of Whangape Harbour and I've since been told that the best access is by boat. Built for £120 by Paul Lingaard, a Scandinavian, who is said to have 'jumped ship' at Whangape, it was opened in March 1922. It is the third church on this site.



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By Don Donovan