A plan is under way to build a cellphone tower on a Havelock North church property, one of only a handful on church properties across New Zealand.

Village Baptist Church pastor Cameron Jones says he knows of only three churches across New Zealand with cell towers on the property.

"We are not the first church who has done this, it is not entirely unheard of, but it is not common either."

The cell tower is proposed to be built on 48sq m on the corner of the church grounds. Terms are still being negotiated and a contract yet to be signed.


"We were approached by a company for Spark saying there was a very real increase in need to add additional capacity over this side of Havelock North.

"My understanding was the reason behind the need for increased capacity was the Rugby World Cup."

He said the church has been in talks with the company since late-January negotiating terms of the contract.

"Cell towers are not popular and there is potential to cause tensions," Jones said.

"We were first approached by the company towards November-end.

"But the contract at that point was something we would have said a flat no to.

"We got back into conversation with them late-Jan, early-Feb. There are lots of terms we need to negotiate."

The church deacons are handling the negotiations and terms currently, but the decision to go ahead, initially, caused some concern about potential health effects.


"The primary concern, for those in opposition, was the health effects of a cell tower on church property.

"We have a lot of doctors in our congregation and I talked to them about it. I also did my own research."

The concerns were allayed and a majority of the church parishioners voted for the construction of the proposed cell tower.

"The vast majority were in favour, 93 per cent were in favour. If church-goers were opposed then obviously we wouldn't have gone through with it."

Jones said the church involved the congregation because it was "trying to do it right" not because it had to.

"Constitutionally it doesn't have to have a vote. All we need is a majority of deacons and elders on board.

"But we are trying to do it right and we wanted the deacons, elders and congregation to agree.

"It has been a very hard process for the elders and me to discuss.

"We don't want to cause disquiet because we really do care for our community.

"We are going through the due diligence process and negotiating terms so we can keep people happy to the extent we are able."

The church does not need a resource consent to build a cell tower because it is a permitted activity.