Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 46, September 2002
A SERVICE OF CELEBRATION AND THANKSGIVING
SUNDAY 27 MAY 2001
By Maureen McCollum
On 21 February, 1910 a meeting was convened by Mr E J Walters, Headmaster of the Hikutaia School, to discuss the advisability of purchasing a site for an Anglican Church at Hikutaia.
Present were Messrs V Young, A W Alley, C Avery, A Hanlen, W K Morrison, R Pukeroa, J Lowry, J Pennell, Ake Ake, M Robinson, Murphy and E J Walters.
This began the history of St. Mary's Anglican Church at Hikutaia.
There is no record of the Church opening, but the foundation stone is dated June 16, 1914 and the cost of the kauri building is recorded as £342.10.00.
Fifty years of prayers and thanksgiving was celebrated at the Church in 1964 and, following the special Communion Service, the large gathering of worshippers gathered for a luncheon at the Hikutaia Hall.
In 1989 Reverend Florence Chambers L.T.H., became the first woman Vicar to hold a Church Service at St. Mary's and on 23 July, 1989, joined in the Holy Communion Service with Vicar-General, the Rev Reg Nicholson and Canon Peter Munton to celebrate 75 years of worship at Hikutaia.
The years that followed saw a slow decline in worshippers and a deterioration in the church building. There were discussions held over the future of the church with mention of a sale and removal from the district. This produced action from Mr Frank Bax from Wharepoa and Mr Keith Trembath from Strange Road and, with the financial backing of the residents of Hikutaia, St. Mary's was restored to its glory of today, 2002.
With a change of emphasis to being a community church, a Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving was held on Sunday 27 May, 2001. A large gathering of residents and former residents joined together, followed by a celebration luncheon at the Alley Memorial Park. Guest speakers were Mr Malcolm Morrison, Mr Frank Bax and Mr Keith Trembath.
Each month this 88-year-old place of worship holds an Anglican Service and a "Sing and Praise" evening which embraces residents from the area.
Mr R W Lowry (Late) formerly of Hikutaia, carved the Lectern and the Altar. This family has remained associated with the Church since its foundation.