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The oldest church

The oldest church
Photo Information
Copyright: Malgorzata Kopczynska (emka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10639 W: 146 N: 26815] (128551)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2018-04
Categories: Architecture
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2018-06-26 1:32
Viewed: 898
Points: 44
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Christ Church in Russell, near Paihia, is the oldest existing church in NZ today, and possibly the oldest building still used for its original purpose.

Its beginnings go back to the earliest years of Maori European contact in the Bay of Islands when missionaries from across the harbour at the Paihia mission station rowed across to take services in private homes.

Russell, then known by its original Maori name of ‘Kororareka’ was a rough seaport, popular with Pacific whalers, with the nickname ‘The Hellhole of the Pacific’.

The missionaries purchased land in 1834 from Kororareka chiefs Rewa, Wharerahi and Moka and agreed that Maori and Pakeha (Europeans) should have equal rights of burial.The fundraising subscription list for the church survives with names of missionaries, settlers, traders and ships’ captains including ‘Captain Fitzroy, Mr. Charles Darwin and officers of HMS Beagle’. The building began in 1835 and a simple rectangular chapel with hipped roof was constructed.

According to official records, the first service was on 3 January 1836 when William Williams from Paihia mentions taking one in the ‘new chapel’. Services were conducted in both English and Maori languages.

The church celebrated its centennial in 1936 with an outdoor service, and in 1963 welcomed Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
Among the graves in the churchyard are those of Tamati Waka Nene (a Ngapuhi chief largely responsible for the Maori’s acceptance of the Treaty of Waitangi and who fought for the settlers against Hone Heke), Hannah King Letheridge (now known to be the second European girl to be born in NZ), Dr Samuel Ford (the country’s first resident surgeon), members of the Clendon family (James R Clendon was the first honorary United States Consul), the men from HMS Hazard who fell in the battle, and a number of whalers whose headstones often tell of untimely deaths.

I found this small church and its graveyard beautiful and fascinating.

Bigger beta picture

Closer view

The grave of the Maori chief

pajaran, holmertz, jhm, ikeharel, pierrefonds, jean113, ktanska, macjake, PiotrF, jemaflor, Royaldevon, PaulVDV, worldcitizen, mcmtanyel has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • ChrisJ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 14787 W: 1055 N: 30283] (142025)
  • [2018-06-26 1:44]

Hi Malgorzata

The fg shapes of the white picket fence mimic the white tombstones. The man with his hands behind his back provides scale. Good sharpness and framing. Tfs!

Hello Malgo,
It's an attractive and picturesque church and a neat graveyard. It looks as idyllic as many old churches and cemeteries in Britain, but it hasn't got the same abandoned atmosphere. "White man's" history in New Zealand is not so old, so this is like ancient history. The photo is well composed with the white wooden fence used as a lower frame. Nice photos in the WS too.
Kind regards,

Ciao cara Maltgo, lovely composition with beautiful cemetery church, excellent clarity, fine details, splendid light and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 24959 W: 520 N: 42089] (180392)
  • [2018-06-26 4:24]

Hello Malgo,

I find this very fine a cemetery perfect is maintain, notwithstanding a very old cemetery.
The church with nice green area around the cemetery..
You create nice depth and perpective.
Nice architecture and lovely presentation
Very well done, TFS

Have a nice day,

Hi Malgo,

The cemetery and the trees are framing well the church. The point of view is showing the details of the church and of the tombstones. The light is enhancing the colours. Have a nice day.


Ciao Malgo,

Je ne sais pas si on trouve l'âge d'une église au nombre de morts dans le cimetière. C'est vrai qu'on peut le marcher et regarder les dates sur les pierres tombales. J'aime la petite barrière à l'avant plan.



  • Great 
  • Nicou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 14398 W: 0 N: 16334] (174999)
  • [2018-06-26 6:16]


avec le sommet de cette barrière qui ressort avec ces pic quelle cimetière avec ces tombes de pierres un personnage et la belle église en fond splendide captage et vue.
Bravo t amitié

Hello Malgo, a pretty little church, obviously well cared for, the churchyard so neat and tidy.
The presence of the man adds much to the scene.
It certainly looks like a place worth visiting.
The white fence in the foreground frames the picture nicely.
Regards Jean.

Hi Malgo,
As European culture is fairly young in New Zealand, it is possible to find buildings from era fairly shortly after Europeans started settling there. Great to see this one in such a good condition. Naturally the church is fairly small as were the settlements. I like the fence framing at the bottom.

Hello Malgo,

As a European it is always funny to read that a building built in the 19th century is the oldest in the town. :)

Best Wishes,

Hi Malgo
I posted a photo for you this morning :)

Who doesn't love a good graveyard right? haha
I know I do. you post 3 very good shots, perhaps the close up of the grave is my favourite.

1836 was the first service, thats pretty cool, but certainly not as old as European churches but thats ok. It would be more in line to what we have here in Canada as our oldest as well.

the top of the white picket fence adds a fun aspect and continues with the white colours. nice one.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 12204 W: 126 N: 22030] (112389)
  • [2018-06-26 13:34]

Ciao Malgo,nice post dedicated to the most old church of New Zealand,it seems to be in Ireland watching the style,interesting history about its 190 years of life and 2 useful ws too,especially the close up on the chef maori tomb. Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

  • Great 
  • PiotrF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 4268 W: 2 N: 7337] (35776)
  • [2018-06-26 13:45]

Czesc Malgo,
Skromny architektonicznie kosciolek, ale skoro przetrwal od poczatkow pracy misyjnej to nie dziwi ta pierwotna skromnosc i zapewne funkcjonalnosc.
Ciekawa notka i zdjecia w warsztacie
Balkany robilem na lenia, objazdowka jednoliterowego biura - niestety umknela mi tym razem faza przygotowan, szukania noclegow, miejsc wartych zobaczenia co bywa rownie ciekawe i pouczajace jak sam wyjazd :)

Hi Malgo,
Well framed this old church with the cemetery in the Fg, good effect with the fence also, perfect sharpness and colors, interesting note, tfs.

Hi Malgorzata
A good deal of detail here, nice record shot it certainly stands out with excellent colour contrast. Human touch lends this an added interest. Tx to your narratives, Congrats
Best regards

  • Great 
  • Cricri Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 16091 W: 159 N: 28060] (147500)
  • [2018-06-27 9:29]

Hi Malgorzata
Charmante petite église, un cimetière bien entretenu même si les pierres tombales sont ancienne comme l'église, bien cadrer avec le haut de la barrière
Bonne soirée

Hello Malgo,

Looking at the inscriptions on the graves would have been fascinating, though very time consuming!
The fence posts give an intriguing f/g to your photograph, almost like a patterned frame!
They do create a good sense of depth to the church and the plethora of gravestones between!
The single figure makes a pleasing m/w stop and ensures that the gravestones are paused upon.

Have a lovely day,
Bev :-)

Ciao Malgo
mi piacciono le foto con i cimiteri, possono sembrare macabri, ma io li trovo interessanti, del resto qui si trovano i vari personaggi che hanno vissuto e creato la vita del luogo.

Hello Malgo,
It's a bit unusual to see a church with such a small tower but it is still a very charming sight.
You present the church well together with its green surroundings and with the cemetery in front.
Sharpness and depth are excellent.
Best regards, Paul

  • Great 
  • jmdias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10405 W: 174 N: 18589] (82773)
  • [2018-07-01 2:04]


we can see the english heritage in the aspect of the garden, tombs and even the church made of timber. nice inclusion of the personage inspecting the tombstones.

take care


  • Great 
  • dta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6131 W: 277 N: 11983] (91974)
  • [2018-07-03 10:49]

Hello MAlgo ,
A beautiful little white church . Even the cemetery is charming.
The presence of the man adds interest to the scene.

Hello Malgo,
It may be a humble little church, but it made history. Were there any Maori names on the headstones? 👌👌

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