Pressing engagement has church all at sea

By Peter de Graaf

The Opua ferry has transported unusual cargo over the years, but the church which Bay of Islands woman Victoria Proebstel saw being loaded on to the car ferry recently may have been a first.

Ms Proebstel, a professional photographer, took the accompanying shot, while the Advocate did some digging into the little church's movements.

Its journey started in Kawakawa, where it was opened in December 1875 as the Church of the Immaculate Conception on North Rd, not far from where Bay of Islands College is today.

At some stage it was renamed St Francis Xavier Church. In 2005, it was one of the oldest churches in the region still in use. However, it later fell into disuse and was sold by the Catholic church.

Its destination, when Ms Proebstel spotted it, was a suitably biblical olive grove at Uruti Bay, near Russell, where it will house an olive press.

- Northern Advocate

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