ST PETER'S CHURCH
In the year 1864, at a meeting of the Auckland Diocesan Synod, presided over by Bishop Selwyn, a discussion arose as to the state of the out-districts. It resulted in a committee being appointed to consider the whole question and present a report to the president.
The committee mapped out all the country districts and the Rev. F. Gould was given charge of the Kaipara.
At first he visited the district once a quarter, the services being held in the settler’s houses or out of doors.
The New Zealand Herald of Wednesday, 8 October, 1873 reported, “ that the employees at Te Kopuru sawmills held a meeting last week to consider matters affecting the social welfare of the community Mr. M Cobbald the convener having been called to the chair said the objects of the meeting was to consider the desirability of erecting a building to be used as a place of worship on Sundays and as a public hall and the meeting room during the week, to take steps towards the purchase of a harmonium, to aid by subscription the ministrations of the church and to establish a library. The timber and other materials for the building had been promised by a gentleman who took a deep interest in the movement and a promise of a donation of 200 volumes to the library had also been made by the same gentlemen. The proposal for the building of the hall was carried unanimously, the workmen employed at the sawmills to erect the same after working hours. Mr. Waller the manager agreed to curtail the hours allowed for meals half an hour each day and give the men half a day on Sunday in which to work out the building.”
The hall was built near the post office, overlooking the wharf and services were held their. In 1873 the Rev. Gould was transferred to the Paparoa district and was succeeded by the Rev. FT Baker in 1873 who in turn was replaced by the Rev Hitchcock in 1882.
The first minutes recorded in the church book were of a meeting held in the hall on Sunday 18 May 1884 when the Rev. Haselden the organizing clergyman was in the chair. He explained that the object of the meeting was to appoint a church committee and to make arrangements for the advent of a new clergyman to the district. The selection of a suitable man was left entirely to the Bishop who appointed the Rev. Katterns. Subsequent appointments were Rev. Wilson in 1886 Rev. Bowler in 1890 and the Rev. Beck in 1896.
In March 1902, Mrs. AJ Beck the wife of the vicar of the Parochial District of Northern Wairoa laid the foundation stone for the church. During that year the building of the church, the design of which have been the work of the Rev. Wingfield an architect by profession, was completed by Mr. WF Bulford the cost being £247/4/6d and Saint Peters was opened free of debt in the following September and dedicated by Archdeacon Calder of Auckland.
The ornaments and furnishings of the church were donated by the parishioners of Te Kopuru, the shell font was given by local Maori, the Bell by a Massey Bros. of Auckland and the Altar Cross by the Rev. FW Young
In 1905 the Rev. P Cleary was appointed to the parish and was succeeded in the same year by the Rev. (later Canon) FW Young and a vicarage was built at Dargaville. The Rev. MA Moore was in charge in 1943 when the Parochial District of Te Kopuru was amalgamated with that of Dargaville and became the Parochial District of Northern Wairoa. With the Vicar and Curate both residing in Dargaville the vicarage at Te Kopuru was sold and rebuilt as a private residence. This building still stands alongside the church.
Subsequent to the 100 year jubilee considerable work was done on both the interior and exterior of the church the hall and the grounds, the result of which can be seen today. Of the many churches that served the local community over the previous 100 years Saint Peters is the only one that remains and is still in regular use