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Leaflet, 1 page folded, 21 x 15cm
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[Leaflet, white paper with black print with a picture of a church on the front.]

[Leaflet reads]

Rangiatea Church
'Ko ahau te huarahi te pono me te ora'
John 14:6

Aotearoa — New Zealand

On behalf of Te Roopu Whakahaere o Rangiatea (Vestry) and the Rangiatea Church community we extend greetings to our manuhiri/visitors.

The origin of Rangiatea has been retained through the oral history of the tupuna/ancestors. Traditional Ngati Raukawa history refers to the ascension of Tawhaki to the highest heavens to receive the baskets of knowledge and mauri (life force) of the whare wananga (school of higher learning). According to Maori tradition, Rangiatea was the name of the ancient whare where Io (the supreme being of Maori tradition) gave the baskets of knowledge and the mauri.

Rangiatea is also the name of the ancient altar erected in Hawaiki the original homeland of the Maori race. Rev Hone Teri Te Paerata (Rangiatea Minister 1894—1901) made the following observation.

'Rangiatea was an altar in Hawiki. An altar is a very sacred place in Maori tradition and can only be erected by experts. Its purpose was a site for prayers and incantations.'

Ngati Raukawa who resided at Maungatautari, Ngati Toa of Kawhia and Te Atiawa of Taranaki, migrated to the southern reaches of the North Island in 1821 under the leadership of the Ngati Toa chief Te Rauparaha. This was the first of two migrations.

With the advent of Christianity and the influence of the Bible during the 1830's, the confederation of iwi and hapu of Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Toa and Te Atiawa made a request for a Missionary for the Kapiti Coast. In response to the request made by Matene Te Whiwhi and Tamihana Te Rauparaha in 1839, Rev Octavius Hadfield was selected.

Under the direction of both Te Rauparaha and Reverend Octavius Hadfield, Reverend Samuel Williams, was retained to superintend the Rangiatea Church construction between 1848 and 1851. The Confederation of iwi and hapu from Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Toa and Te Atiawa, providing most of the labour. Many other tribes also contributed to the construction of Rangiatea and in the ensuring years assisted with the many restorations.

This famous New Zealand landmark was originally constructed entirely out of totara timber in the tradition of the ancient whare runanga. Described by many people as the Maori Cathedral of New Zealand, the architecture of Rangiatea represented the unique blend of Maori and English Church design.

The gothic design from the exterior gave no hint of the beauty that was contained within. The 86ft long tahuhu (ridge—pole), fashioned from a single totara tree, represents the belief in the one true Christian God, while the three central poutokomanawa (pillars) symbolize the Holy Trinity — Te Matua, Te Tama me Te Wairua Tapu. The mangopara (hammerhead shark pattern), painted on the heke (rafters) and tahuhu (ridge pole) signifies power and prestige. The large tukutuku panels of intricately woven kiekie display the purapura whetu (star seedling) pattern, representing the stars in the sky and likened to the many tupuna (ancestors) who have ascended to heaven.

Rangiatea survived for almost 150 years relatively unchanged. When it was destroyed by fire in 1995, it was the oldest surviving Maori Church in New Zealand.

The Confederation of Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Toa and Te Atiawa at a Hui—a—iwi (general meeting) in December 1995, decided to replicate Rangiatea Church. The descendants of those original pioneers who constructed one of New Zealand's most famous institutions would reinstate the 'Abode of the Absolute'.


Te Roopu Whakahaere o Rangiatea (Vestry) c 2004
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Leaflet, Rangiatea Church, OtakiLeaflet, Rangiatea Church, Otaki
Leaflet, Rangiatea Church, Otaki, detailsLeaflet, Rangiatea Church, Otaki, details
Leaflet, Rangiatea Church, Otaki, details on backLeaflet, Rangiatea Church, Otaki, details on back