Historic Woodwork

NEW LIFE FOR OLD TIMBER (History Gifts to the Church)

FOUR pieces of furniture made by a retired Omokoroa builder from timber planted by European settlers in the area have been donated to the Omokoroa combined congregation.

A lectern, Communion table, kneeling stool and cross took Mr Bill Brown about two months to complete by hand.

A lectern built by Mr Bill Brown

NB. The Lectern has been forwarded to the Tauranga Museum for safe keeping. The Communion Table and Stool are still being used by the church.

The wood used in the pieces has an interesting historical significance.

In 1878 the Rev J. T. Gellibrand came to New Zealand from Tasmania to retire from his ministry in Australia. He purchased land at Omokoroa from the Maori people and had a homestead built.


On the point next to his land was a two-storey kauri barn. The kauri used came from Mercury Bay and was transported to Omokoroa by sea because there were then no roads on the peninsula. When the barn was dismantled, the Crapp family of Omokoroa gave the timber to Mr Brown for the Communion table.

The wood for the lectern came from an ash tree planted on the estate and the cross is made from Tasmanian blackwood.

Mr Gellibrand brought seedlings of the trees from Tasmania with him.

The combined congregation in Omokoroa is a co-operative venture. It resulted from the wishes of the people in the community and an agreement between the Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian parishes of Tauranga.

The resident minister, the Rev. O. M. Olds, said the congregation had the goodwill of the Baptist Church and the Salvation Army. “The ultimate goal is the establishment of a separate co-operating parish," he said. “In the 2 1/2 years the agreement has operated the congregation has steadily grown in numbers and strength. "The gift of this furniture is another decisive step towards the realisation of becoming a viable parish."

The dedication of the furniture was made last weekend.

First published in the Omokoroa Omelette, May 2013