Home' Greymouth Star : April 12th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
he idea of building a church at the
little saw milling village of Ruru
first arose in the 1920s. On Sunday,
December 15, 1935, the St John
the Baptist Church was dedicated,
part of the Ahaura-Brunnerton
Anglican parish. However, Anglican services were
being advertised in old newspapers far earlier, in 1913,
possibly in the local hall, which also hosted dances.
The beautifully figured heart of rimu pews in the
church were said to be some of the best timber milled
at Jack’s Sawmill, at Kotuku. Bishop Sadler, a driving
force behind the Ruru chapel, had spent some of his
last weeks appealing for funds. Numerous other gifts
were received, including the carpet and curtains from
The Rev W A Beaumont was vicar at Ahaura at the
time, and he would bike to services at Ruru. One day
he biked to Te Kinga and then back to Taylor ville —
Once he made it to Inchbonnie — only to find he
was the only one to turn up for the ser vice! During the
Harvest Festival one year, when produce was sold in aid
of the church fund, it was claimed a farmer parishioner
had bid well for a bunch of ragwort in the half light.
In the 1950s it was proposed to shift the church
from Ruru to Moana, but the cost was prohibitive.
For a time, parishioners were shuttled to services in
the large parish car. Bishop Hilliard said the original
concept was that Ruru was central between Moana and
Te Kinga, but more people were living in Moana. The
church was finally shifted in 1968 to a site donated by
the late Mary Williams, overlooking the lake.
It was renamed St John’s Anglican Moana. The
window with panoramic views of the lake and Mount
Te Kinga was reportedly added about this time, though
its height means parishioners sitting down do not get
to enjoy it.
By then, ser vices were held at six or seven churches
in the parish, down from the 30-odd of earlier days. A
Rotomanu-Inchbonnie women’s fellowship was formed
in the 1960s. Methodist in denomination, Anglicans
attended; there were no barriers as it was a group
of Christian women doing studies often led by Mrs
Jacobs, of Rotomanu, a school teacher and lay preacher.
Anne Adams, who left the West Coast 20 years ago,
said they would meet at 2pm in each other’s homes for
fellowship and devotions. Mrs Adams attended the
nearby Rotomanu church
and was organist there.
“ We (fellowship) would
raise money for certain
causes. Mrs Jacobs was a
very knowledgeable lady.”
Three ser vices are now
held in Moana each month
on the first, second and
fourth Sunday at 2pm. One
is taken by the Uniting
Church minister Lyn
Heine, from Greymouth,
and two by the Anglican
minister Di Griffin, from
Reefton. All parishioners
go to both services, and
sometimes bach owners.
This has long been a habit
of the area.
“ While the two
church groups, Union
and Anglican, are run
as separate entities the
congregation attends both
and enjoys the diversity of
services that we gain from
doing” Rotomanu resident
Adrienne Ruesink, said.
In 2008, Mrs Ruesink
made a ‘Christ is Risen’
banner for the church.
The then minister from
Reefton, Dawn Stringer,
thought maybe the rest
of the church could be
brightened up. “So we had
an old fashioned sewing
bee to create ‘Faith, Hope,
Love, Peace and Joy ’
That same year, the Rotomanu community church
closed and the congregation started having services on
the first Sunday of the month at Moana. On Easter
Sunday and Christmas Eve, community services are
held at night and are well attended by locals and
At the last Christmas ser vice the Moana ukulele
group played several songs, Ruesink said. The baby
grand piano donated in 2012 by the McClellan family,
of Rotomanu, is also played. In the front garden is
a stone plaque, installed after the death of Princess
Diana. It was arranged by CWI women who greatly
This little church is literally in the centre of Moana —
and remains in the hearts of many.
6 - Saturday, April 12, 2014
Faith of our Fathers:
Old West Coast churches
Dusk is starting to fall at Moana and the cloud is setting in. The lights are on and music spills
out the door of the St John’s Church. Inside, Elspeth Auchinvole is playing the baby grand piano.
This little inter-denominational church was hauled to its current location on gravel roads from
Ruru, as LAURA MILLS reports.
St John’s Anglican Moana
St John’s Anglican Moana
The church on the move from Ruru to Moana in 1968.
Moana ukulele group performs at St John’s.
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