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Matawhero Historic Church
Built in 1865 as a schoolroom for the children of European settlers, the building was also used for church services by the Anglican community.
Involved in the campaign waged by Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki (Te Kooti) against Europeans and Maori who had over-ridden his land claims, supported the government in land and sovereignty issues or personally offended him in some way.
In July 1868 the schoolroom served for a short period as a military hospital for colonial forces and volunteers injured in the first encounter with Te Kooti after his escape from imprisonment in the Chatham Islands.
In November 1868 Matawhero Church was one of only a few buildings left standing and unharmed by Te Kooti and his troops when they raided Matawhero and Makaraka. At least 51 people, both Maori and Pakeha were killed in the raid.
In 1870 militia camped in the church and its grounds when anticipating another attack by Te Kooti.
In 1872 Matawhero Church (then Matawhero Schoolroom) was purchased by the Presbyterian Church and became the first Presbyterian place of worship in Poverty Bay.
For the last 136 years it has served continuously as a Presbyterian church as well as being a meeting place and social venue for the rural community.
Its excellent condition is due to the high value placed on it by the Presbyterian congregation to whom it has spiritual and social values.
History pages including historical info gleaned from The Gisborne Herald