Umawera Memorial Church and Roll of Honour

Memorial plaque

On 30 October 1954 the MP for Hobson, S. W. Smith, formally opened the Waihou Memorial Church at Umawera. This was dedicated to the memory of the servicemen from the local area who had given their lives during both world wars. It replaced a tiny, near-derelict church hall that had been built on nearby Te Tio Road early in the century. The money for the new building came from donations, community activities and grants from local Methodist and Anglican church funds.

For some years the modest-sized wooden structure was a centre of community activity. However, it gradually fell into disuse and disrepair, becoming infested by both borer and swarms of bees. In 1997 the building was sold for conversion into a family home. A service of leave-taking was held on 2 November 1997, followed by a service of blessing and entry into the Waihou Memorial Church in the nearby Umawera Community Hall (aka Umawera Settlers’ Hall). From then on, services were held in the supper room of the hall.

Although there had been plans to install a memorial plaque in the original church building, these had never been carried out. However, on 17 June 2001 a local roll of honour was placed in the hall, dedicated to the memory of ex-pupils of the Rangiahua, Rawhia, Taikawhana and Umawera schools who had given their lives during the world wars. The brass memorial tablet listed the names of nine men: F. Wooster, S. Groves, R.E. Donnelley, J. Lees, S. Fatt, T. Stancliffe, H. Chapman, W. Faithful and F. Lees.

The supper room of the hall still has a dual function as a memorial church, although regular services ceased in 2004.

Sources: ‘Umawera War Memorial Church’, Northern Advocate, 2/1/1953, p. 11; ‘War Memorial [Money] Raised for Umawera Church Northern Advocate, 7/2/1953, p. 7; ‘Umawera Carnival’, Northern Advocate, 17/2/1953, p. 8; ‘Early Start on Umawera Church’, Northern Advocate, 12/6/1953, p. 7; Umawera School Centennial, Umawera, 1996, pp. 6, 8-9; John and Sheila House, Churches of Northland [CD-ROM], 2005, file vol. 9, p. 32 [photographs]; church records held by Mrs Shirley Brockie, sighted 21 January 2016.

 

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