History – The multi-tasking church

“The place was a hive of industry. The sound of hammer and saw rang clearly through the still frosty air into the blue and gold of a perfect June day” (recollection of William Lamont’s granddaughter Hypatia Vine).

The year was 1862 and the Wainui residents were building a Presbyterian Church. Land for the church was donated by Irishman William Lamont who had bought 104 acres for 100 pounds that year. Mr Lamont was a brick maker and one of his hand made bricks is on display at the Silverdale Pioneer Village Museum.

A Kauri tree was donated by the Hellyer family and the men of the district, regardless of their religious denomination, joined together to build the church. Although officially it was a Presbyterian Church, it was also the only community building in the district and Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian services were all held there.

Sunday School was held in the church and it also served as the Wainui School for 10 years. It was the local Post Office. Various groups met there, including the Mutual Improvement Society who read plays, sang songs and read and discussed poetry. For many years the women’s division of Federated Farmers also held their meetings there.  In the early days it was also the depot for deliveries of groceries conveyed by horse and cart along the clay roads from the Bond store in Silverdale. The groceries were left on the porch for collection.

Eventually Presbyterian services were no longer held in the church. There was even a move to sell it but this was strongly opposed by the community and in particular by Mrs Thomas Lamont who rallied enough local support to save the building. Today the Wainui Church still stands on its original site. Services are held once a month and it is available for weddings.
Museum news

Pioneer Village Open every Sat/Sun 10am–3pm. 1860s Chapel available for weddings. September 4 Coach trip to Whangarei Museum and Kiwi House, $39. Phone 424 8615 to book.

Silverdale & Districts Historical Society