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Big Ben Bell Makers Did St Mary’s Anglican Church Bell Pokeno

New Zealand Churches: St Mary’s Anglican at Pokeno.

Everyone who has driven south of Auckland on their way to Tauranga or the Coromandel will have seen the beautiful Anglican Church of St Mary’s which sits on the hill to your right as you leave the Southern Motorway bound for Tauranga. It is worth a stop to see this lovely old church and its beautiful, English country garden with its wonderful trees. It is a tranquil place. The smell of the oak and beech leaves, and the smell of flowering garden life feeds the soul; as refreshing to the senses as the inspiring lines of the architecture, and its aspiring bell tower from a time long gone by, when beauty and grace of structure were considered important in developing the soul, and in creating a harmonious environment and society.

With a bit of luck, this Church should be saved. John O’Hare of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, has ‘publicly notified the old wooden church for recognition as a category 2 historic place’, according to the New Zealand Herald, Friday June 3, 2011.

This Church is over a hundred years old. It was built in 1889, and a foundation stone laid. It was opened for worship the following year, in 1900. In 1901, the Church of St Mary’s was declared to be “the finest Church in the diocese”.

St Mary’s Anglican Church at Pokeno has the remarkable feature of having bells made by the same bell maker who cast the original bell for the clock tower of Big Ben, housed in the Palace of Westminster, London. This company was John Warner and Sons, of London.

Funds for the original building of the Church, 690 pounds, were donated by Harriet Johnston, who emigrated to New Zealand from Devon. Harriet Johnston also donated the bells.

to be continued…

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