After over 150 years of sitting on wooden benches, Whangārei Anglican Church is taking a different approach.

The church is replacing 25 of its pews, each seating up to six people, with individual chairs in a bid to provide more comfort and better use of space.

But saying goodbye to the traditional seating wasn't an easy decision to make, Whangārei Anglican priest associate Peter Bargh said.

Associate priest Peter Bargh purchases one for himself. Photo / John Stone
Associate priest Peter Bargh purchases one for himself. Photo / John Stone

"Some of the pews have witnessed significant milestones in the lives of Whangārei residents for more than 150 years.

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"They have seen baptisms, weddings, funerals and innumerable hours of Christian fellowship, celebration, and worship, and in many ways, it is sad to see them go," Bargh said.

But he said replacing them will allow the spacious inside of the church to be used for a much wider range of church and community events.

"Not just forward-facing worship."

Some of the pews have been donated to Hawkes Bay's Te Aute Anglican Boys College chapel and others have found a more unique use.

"Some people are recycling the wood for works of art, one person is turning it into a dining room table," Bargh said.

And he too couldn't resist buying one for himself.

"I wasn't going to let the opportunity get away, although I have yet to decide where and how I am going to use it," Bargh said.

The remaining pews, measuring either 2.6 or 3.1 metres long, were still for sale each costing $300. They are made of rimu, kauri and mataī.

"This is a chance to secure a valuable piece of our past that will never again be offered for sale, and also to honour the future by helping to create a more versatile community space."

People interested in buying a historic pew can phone (09) 4376087 or email office@whangareianglican.org.nz