Wairarapa Church expected to remain open

wairarapa church

Cardinal John Dew, June, announced that St Joseph’s Catholic church at Riversdale Beach would be sold along with three other churches in the Wairarapa.

Since then, consultations have taken place between the cardinal and the Riversdale Beach Charitable Trust about the church’s status.

According to Trustee Neil Prichard, a sale was unlikely to happen. He said Dew’s June statement reflected a misunderstanding about the 2017 memorandum of understanding between the trust and the Archdiocese.

Another trustee, Brian McGuinness, wrote to Dew to explain the status quo.

Dew responded, saying as the parish owned the property, it must be part of the property review. Still, discussions between the trust and the parish needed to take place.

As reported in the Wairarapa Times-Age, Dew said, “I would like the parish to discuss the future of the church with the trust and whether it should remain the parish’s ownership, or whether perhaps it would be better owned by the trust.”

“In those discussions, it is essential that the parish’s capacity to provide masses at Riversdale is taken into account. I am happy to abide by those discussions, but they need to take place.”

St Joseph’s Catholic church was built in nearby Tinui in 1881. The building was relocated to serve Riversdale Beach 100 years later. Heritage New Zealand has recently listed St Joseph’s as a Category 2 Historic Place.

In recent years the building had been refurbished, and the property had been successfully managed. The funds required to do this had come from substantial community donations of labour, materials, and cash.

“The main point is, whether owned by the parish or the trust in the future, it seems clear that St Joseph’s will remain under the management of the trust and continue to be available for religious purposes to the Riversdale Beach community for the foreseeable future,” Prichard said.


Wairarapa Times Age


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