Loss of historic churches an unfolding tragedy

Stewart Harvey, Chairman of the New Zealand Historic Cemeteries Conservation Trust, has described the fate of historic churches as a quietly unfolding New Zealand tragedy.

Harvey expressed his view in an article, Saving Grace that appeared in the Autumn 2012 edition of Heritage,

In the article Matt Philp described the fate of a number of churches, not only in the small country settlements but also in the bigger cities.

Philp began his article by saying that with “decaying fabric, dwindling congregations, lack of funds, a dearth of official help… without the concern of ardent supporters, our historic churches will simply disappear”

Harvey says, “Quite a lot of these little country churches that are part of our history are being lost forever. They are sold off as holiday homes and sometimes moved off site and the big tragedy of it is that everything inside the church goes – the pews, the plaques on the wall, the church furniture…”

He thinks that the onus is on local communities to save their churches. “If a community believes a church is a local icon – and most were in the early days – it has to raise the money and look after it and perhaps find another use for it.”


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News category: New Zealand.

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