Devonport rows into history
As part of the 150th anniversary celebrations for Devonport Methodist Church parishioner Geoff Allen rowed the congregations minister, Rev Robyn Allen Goudge. This was done in tribute to the area’s first Methodist preacher, Anatipa, a young Maori student, who was rowed over from the city 150 years ago.
It was a windy day, however, and they didn't have container ships or fast ferries back then. So instead of making a perilous journey across the harbour, the boat left from the Devonport Ferry building, and much to the amusement of the crowd that gathered at Windsor reserve, rowed just 200 metres along the foreshore.
A historical bus tour followed, prepared by Peter Weeks from the Devonport museum. History shows that one of the first Methodist churches was sited on the current Devonport primary school playground. When the Methodists moved, their church building was the first school building on that site.
A variety concert was held on Saturday night with choirs from Pitt St. Methodist Church. It included solo performances and other items from Devonport Drama students.
The Sunday morning service was attended by Mayor George Wood, and taken by the president of the New Zealand Methodist church Ron Malpass. An impromptu waiata was given by students of Wesley College, the spiritual descendants of Anatipa.
Sunday night saw a dinner held at the Devonport Yacht Club where the well known Devonport historian Rod Cornelius gave a talk. An interesting fact he revealed was that in the mid 19th century the church was reduced to six people during the Coromandel gold rush.
Today the church is alive and well. It supports a Childcare Centre, Mainly Music, Devonport Drama, Girls Brigade and an opportunity shop.