Sale of 126-year-old church worries locals

By Julian Lee

The little church on the Awhitu Peninsula has been a favourite subject for photographers and artists over the years. Photo / Supplied
The little church on the Awhitu Peninsula has been a favourite subject for photographers and artists over the years. Photo / Supplied

Ever felt like owning a church?

The Kohekohe Presbyterian Church in Waiuku, built in 1886 and decommissioned in 1976, will be auctioned on Friday.

The small, picturesque building has attracted the attention of photographers and artists over the years. It is framed by a backdrop of oddly shaped hills, behind which stretchto the west coast and the TasmanSea.

Real estate agent Bill Harcombe manages the listing and admits it's a new experience for him.

"We have a tremendous amount of interest from people looking.

"It'll just be interesting to see what happens - we don't really have much of an idea if any buyers are going to make a decent offer.

"It's all a bit new to us selling a church. This is the first one in a lifetime probably."

Mr Harcombe said the government valuation was around $137,000 but this perhaps did not reflect the true value of the property.

But some in the community are concerned about what will happen to the church once it is sold.

Richard Hudson is worried the church will not be maintained in its present state if it falls into private hands.

"We can imagine a ranchslider going in it and a tin garage being put up alongside it, ruining it.

"We want to know if it can come into the public domain and then be saved as a visual icon for the community, to keep it as it is."

Mr Hudson says the preservation of the building is very important to the community.

Auckland councillor Sandra Coney, who chairs the parks, recreation and heritage forum, says the issue has nothing to do with the council.

"We inherited this from Franklin District Council and it wasn't on their schedule."

ON THE BLOCK

* Kohekohe Presbyterian Church, 1189 Awhitu Rd, Waiuku
* Built in 1886.
* Sits on a 2700sq m section and does not have living facilities inside.
* Government valuation of $137,000.
* Auction at 1pm on Friday at Ray White, 23 Queen St, Waiuku.

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 21 Aug 2014 02:31:39 Processing Time: 587ms