A house of the Lord is set to become a house of the handyman – with a historic church ripe for D-I-Y conversion into a character residence being placed on the market for sale.
The 103-year old Puriri Church just south-east of Thames on edge of the Hauraki Plains began life as a Methodist denomination house of worship before becoming and shared-use ministry over the ensuing decades.
The first stone – still clearly on display in the front of the rectangular Gothic-style church - was laid by Puriri township figurehead and diligent church-goers John Nichols.
However, as congregation numbers dwindled, so too did the secular support – with the Presbyterian services ceasing in 1970, followed by the Methodist clergy pulling out in 1971 and the Anglican diocese shutting the doors in 1973.
Community spirit rallied a decade later and the church was restored and reopened in 1988. However in 2001 the community voted that the local populous was no longer able to physically or financially maintain the native timber and concrete structure, and the doors to worshippers were once again closed. This time for good.
The church was officially deconsecrated in 2012 and bought by a consortium of Coromandel and Hauraki Plains locals with heavenly visions of somehow saving and refurbishing their beloved chapel.
One by one, the consortium members either passed away or were bought out – until only the current owners of the Puriri Church remain. Now the forlorn looking structure – sitting on 1053 square metres of land adjacent to State highway 26 – has been placed on the market for sale at auction on September 29 through Bayleys Hamilton sales team Karl Davis and Lee Carter.
A heritage report on the church notes: “The architectural significance of the Puriri Methodist Church lies in its modest Gothic Revival form which is enhanced by decorative relief mouldings and the fenestration (window arrangements).”
“The church has cultural significance because it served local Methodists and other Protestant churchgoers for almost 90 years. Its place in the life of the community is enhanced by its prominent location overlooking State Highway 26,” the heritage report added..
Puriri Church measures 100 square metres, and Mr Carter said the structure would answer the prayers of enthusiastic D-I-Y’ers looking to create a heritage home on a big flat section. The church also comes with an organ, which was originally housed at the Methodist church in Thames.
“The church is crammed with turn-of-the-last-century aesthetics and design - from what looks like native rimu and matai floor boards, through to high vaulted ceilings and leadlight windows,” he said.
“Admittedly, there are no toilets or bathroom facilities, or kitchen amenities… but on the other hand you could say the internal space is a blank canvas. Imagine what some of those creative types from The Block NZ could do with this space?
“Jesus was a carpenter so I’m sure he’ll be looking down with a smile and giving his blessing to anyone with a true heart looking to restore this once proud church to its former glory.”
Mr Davis said the property’s grounds were in a similar state – perfect for a green-fingered home owner to plough and plant.
“I reckon John the Baptist would approve if a new buyer put in a swimming pool,” he said.
“The section is flat and was never planted with trees and shrubs as the founding church elders kept the ground bare so parishioners could park their horse and traps outside. While automobiles eventually replaced the horse-drawn buggy, they still needed off-road parking.”