The first of four historic Mangawhai buildings was relocated to the Historic Village in the Mangawhai Community Park last month.
The old Mangawhai Anglican Church, which was originally a school, was moved from its home next to the Anglican Church to the park opposite the Mangawhai Museum on Molesworth Drive.
It will be joined by the old telegraph station and post office, currently behind the former museum in the village, and the old Tara Road school.
Mangawhai Community Park chair Jim Wintle says they would like to open the historic village by summer, and collaborate with the museum to make it part of the visitor experience and school tours.
“This is the very first stage of the historic village. It is a significant day. It’s the end result of a lot of work and support from the community,” he says.
The first step will involve weekly working bees to restore the old church with wall strengthening, exterior facial work and fixing up the porch.
“We are going to breathe new life into the building and make it strong so it can stay here for another 100 years.
“It’s always important to keep a bit of local history alive. It would have been a shame to see it made into kindling for someone’s fire.”
Long-time Mangawhai resident 88-year-old Beth Smith has many memories of the building and says it’s important for descendants and future residents.
She started the school as a 10-year-old in the 1930s. Her mother, Mrs Nelson, helped initiate turning it into a church in the 1950s. Her sister, Margaret Bull, was the first person to get married in the church. Beth says she looks forward to more of the buildings history being recorded as part of the Historic Village.
The village is one of many community projects that will part of the 32.89 hectare park in the next five years. It includes an arts centre and sculpture trail near the historic village, the Mangawhai Activity Zone, the new St John building and the New Zealand Fire Service. Mr Wintle says there will also be walkways and cycleways connecting the park.
After many years of development, the park plan was officially adopted in November 2014.
Mangawhai Community Park has been identified as a premier reserve in Kaipara District Council’s Long Term Plan 2015/2025. Council has allocated $100,000 a year for the next five years to the park from its development fund.
The land was purchased in 1979 by Kaipara District Council and adjoins the Mangawhai Golf Club, between Mangawhai Heads and Mangawhai Village.