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Otaio Church History
Otaio Church 1968

Otaio Church 1968

OPENING CEREMONIES report Timaru Herald Nov. 7th 1913.

The church recently erected by the Presbyterians at Otaio was opened on Sunday Nov. 2nd 1913 by the Rev. Professor Dickie of Knox College, Dunedin.The weather was unfavourable, but a large congregation, representing all parts of the Parish, filled the building to overflowing. The minister, of the Parish, the Rev Frank R. Jeffreys, offered the dedication prayer, and a large choir assisted materially in the leading of the hymns, which were suitable to the occasion, and also rendered an anthem. Professor Dickie preached an eloquent and helpful sermon, basing his remarks on,1 King's "viii", verses 17.19 and thereafter declared the building opened and set apart for public worship. A liberal collection on behalf of the building fund was taken up.
On Tuesday evening (Nov. 4th) a social function in celebration of the opening was held,and this was also largely attended.
The minister presided, and read several letters of congratulations. He briefly reviewed the history connected with the Otaio congregation, and the events that led up to the building of the church.
The district school he stated, was opened in March 1876, and that services have been held there ever since, for some years intermittently, but regularly for the past 15 years. Special reference was made of Mrs Andrew Martin, by whose generosity the building fund was initiated, to the committee, and all others who had assisted, and to Mr J.W.Phillips, contractor,for the faithful execution of his contract.
Sympathy was expressed with Mr Ford who had met with a serious accident on the eve of the completion of the work, but who is now recovering.
A long programme by local friends was carried out, the choir singing especially, exciting applause. Professor Dickie and the Revs. Todd, Morrison and Dickie, gave humorous and interesting addresses, and extended their congratulations to the Otaio congregation.
Solos were sung by Mrs Goodall, Mrs Stringer, Misses Copeland, Frame and Brunton, and Mr Peel, a duet by Miss Martin and Mrs Goodall, quartette by Misses Johnson and Brunton, Messrs Stringer and Brunton.
Miss Burnside delighted the audience with a musical monologue, and recitations were given by Mrs Stringer and Miss F. Martin. Miss Paterson, Mrs Goodall and Mrs Jeffreys shared the accompaniments.
After numerous votes of thanks had been given to all who had helped towards the success of the enterprise the meeting closed with the singing of the Doxology. Refreshments provided by the ladies was then handed round.
The church (built in wood) stands on a site of nearly two acres presented by Mrs Martin, and Situated at the corner of the Main South road and Kokika Valley Road. It is capable of seating 200 comfortably, the main building being 40 ft x 20 ft. A vestry 14ft x 14 ft with large open fireplace is at the south end, and the entrance porch 8ft x 8ft built in the form of a tower 24ft high is at the north end. The tower has three large louvres by which the whole building can be perfectly ventilated in all weather. Great attention has been paid to ventilation, and all the windows have opening fanlights. The ceiling is lined to the ridge on top of the roof framing, giving the interior a lofty and roomy appearance. The furnishings including a beatiful pulpit given by Mrs Martin and family, in memory of the late Mr Andrew Martin, were supplied by Messrs Cranston and Gibb in their best style. Mr Phillips was the builder and the minister designed and supervised the building.
A great deal of free labour was supplied by members of the committee, their sons and other friends, all the carting, etc., being carried out by them.
The building is a credit to the district, and is sure to prove a great acquisition.
Messrs Brunton, A.Martin, J.Linton, J.Paterson, G.Hall, A.Nicol and the Rev.F.Jeffreys were the building committee. Mrs Ogilvie gave the pulpit Bible. Mrs John Martin the pulpit hymn book, Mrs A.Martin Junr. the pulpit chair. Mr and Mrs F.Martin, the carpet, and Miss Martin the pulpit lamps.



From "In the steps of St. Andrew" by Marjorie Caird


The church was built in 1913 on two acres of land donated by an early settler, Andrew Martin. It was a long cherished desire of his wife, Isabella, daughter of the Scottish Kirk, to see a church in the district where she and her family and an increasing number of settlers could worship.

The design of the church was the work of Rev. Frank Jeffreys, who also laboured with other men of the district as voluntary helpers to erect the building.
Families associated with the church in those days were Martins, Bruntons, Lintons, Pattersons, Halls and Nicols. Some descendants of these families still live in the area today.
For 327 contractor W.J.Phillips erected a building with a 24 ft entrance tower, a landmark for nearly sixty years on the corner of the Main South and Woolshed Valley roads. The dedication and opening was conducted by the Rev. Professor Dickie of Knox College on November 2nd 1913.
Mrs Jeffreys and Miss Gertrude Patterson sharing the honour of presiding at the organ.
The first marriage registered was Gertrude Patterson to John James Hall on July 29th 1914 and traditionally the couple were presented with a large family Bible from the congregation. Their daughter Grace was the first infant baptised there.
Since 1969 their youngest daughter Maitel Moffat has served on the committee of management. Over the years attendances fluctuated.
The Rev.Jeffreys who Rendered splendid service among young people as well as in other ways" for three years, was followed by the Rev. T.N.Cuttle who resigned in 1917 to become an army chaplain. He "exercised a growing influence in his large parish and affairs of the congregation prospered in his hands.
Throughout World War 1, as residents were all busy with Red Cross work and patriotic gatherings, the annual picnics were cancelled. Instead of holding sales of work, the women canvassed the districts - one year collecting 106/12/0d. When they eventually held a two-day bazaar they raised 285/15/8d. This enabled the committee to provide an honorarium for Mr J.B. Kirk of Otaio, formerly a Home Missionary whose steady support for seven years was much appreciated. A record of his services included preaching supply, elder, Sunday School Superintendent, leader of Bible Class. Mrs Kirk also taught Sunday School.
The war continued to make heavy demands and the church was deprived of many of its most eligible young men who gave their lives. P. Roll of Honour was compiled in 1922. The serious and prolonged influenza epidemic in 1919, with compulsory closure of churches, revealed the advantage of the envelope system of giving. It was suggested that serious consideration be given to this method, ensuring a more stable income. However, the year ended with the removal of all debt from church property due to the generosity of Mrs A.Martin who gave the deed of release for the whole amount due on the Otaio church.
The work of Mrs George Irwin, wife of the Otaio postmaster from the 1890's, was recognised with a long service certificate. She taught Sunday School for more than twenty years. This later lapsed, to be revived by Mrs L.Sargent in the 1950's. Attendances boomed and a move was made to build a Sunday School. Eventually it was decided that the needs of the district would best be served by a hall and so the Otaio Community centre came into being.
With decreasing rural population and transport readily available to other places, the attendances waned to the faithful few, so reluctantly the decision was made to close the church.
November 21st, 1971 was a sad occasion for a number of Otaio residents when the Otaio Presbyterian church opened its doors for the last time for worship.
The Waimate Rotary Club purchased the building for a nomimal sum, moving it to Waimate early in 1973. For $3000 it was renovated for a Girl Guide Centre. Memorials inside the church are now in the Waimate Historical Museum.
BRADY, Laurence Carsley
born 19 Dec 1844 Kingston St Vincent West Indies
died 05 Nov 1919 Auckland buried 07 Nov 1919 Purewa
01 Apr 1880 temporary licence in charge of Otaio Bluecliffs diocese Christchurch
01 May 1881-Oct 1916 incumbent pastoral district of Otaio Bluecliffs
JEFFREYS, Rev Frank Rupert
b 5.7.1877
Died Jan 1939
Ordained St Andrews SCP 4.4.1911 - resigned 31.3.1914
Designed and helped build Otaio Presbyterian Church
CUTTLE, Rev Thomas Nevin
b 20.9.1878 Dunedin
w Jessie C. b 6.3.1891 m 11.11.1913 d 20.11.1975
Worked in menswear shops in Dunedin and Wanganui; to Dunedin to study at Otago University and the Hall.
Mackenzie County Outfields HM for summer 1905-6
Theological Hall, Dunedin 1907-09
Licensed by Dunedin Presbytery
Ord Milburn ClP 1.2.1911
St Andrews, South Canterbury SCP 27.10.1914 - resigned 9.10.1917
to - NZEF during World War One - war service from 15.10.1917 to 25.8.1919 Greymouth WsP 3.12.1919
Somervell Memorial Auckland AP 1.5.1930
Kaiapoi ChP 10.6.1941 - retired 30.4.1944
Died 22.3.1968
MULES, Edmund Kennedy
born 08 Nov 1877 Brightwater Nelson died Jun ¼ 1962
16 Nov 1916-1922 vicar Otaio and Bluecliffs (91)
1918 chaplain with the forces World War 1: second reserves, clerk in holy orders, classification b residing the vicarage St Andrews South Canterbury.
RANKIN, Duncan
born 07 Sep 1868 Clutha Otago
died 19 Oct 1960 aged 92 Lower Hutt buried Old Taita cemetery
15 Sep 1922-1927 vicar Otaio-Bluecliffs
HAY, James
born 18 Mar 1878 Oamaru North Otago
died 03 Jul 1955 Christchurch;
05 Jul 1927-1939 vicar Otaio and Bluecliffs
KIRK, Rev John Brown
b 19.5.1874 Otokia, Taieri;
Died 24.8.1947
Waihao Valley SCP 26.9.1930 - retired 6.12.1938
KNIGHTS, Harold James West
born Jun 1880 (registered Sep ¼ 1880) Cambridge co Cambridge England
07 Nov 1939 vicar Otaio Bluecliffs
1941-1943 chaplain to the forces World War 2
MASON, Albert
born 27 Mar 1889 Leeds West Riding Yorkshire
died 25 Aug 1942 Christchurch New Zealand
01 May 1942 priest-in-charge (while vicar a military chaplain overseas, and as the Pacific war had blocked his own return to Melanesia)
parochial district Otaio-Bluecliffs residing St Andrews near Timaru diocese Christchurch (261;91)
Jul 1942 collapse of nervous system, to S Winifred’s Rest Home, but after ten days to public hospital Christchurch and died (261)
WRIGHT, Henry Nelson
born 25 Feb 1881 Christchurch Canterbury
died 28 May 1957 Timaru buried 30 May 1957 aged 76 Timaru Canterbury
20 Dec 1945-1949 Otaio Bluecliffs

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