Historic house bustles with activity
Minita-a-iwi Jim George and his wife Beth have a special responsibility, looking after the only Maori Mission building in New Zealand still in active use. Parts of Ngamotu Mission House date from the 1840s when it was shipped out from England as part of a kitset house.
It, along with a small chapel situated in front of the house, were donated to the Maori Mission, by its original owners.
Jim says the Mission House sees lots of use. “We hold services either in the chapel or in the Mission House once a month. The Ratana church also hold monthly services there once a month. The Mission House serves as a waka ruru hau, a quiet place where people can take time out.”
The Grey Institute Trust holds meetings there and Te Taha Maori conducts minita-a-iwi training. Schools and other groups use it for workshops or as a study centre. And families can use it for functions because it is equipped with all the mattresses and kitchen facilities they need to sleep over.
Jim and Beth hold a weekly session there with older members of the local Methodist congregation where they work on craft projects or do a bit of gardening to keep up the grounds. Jim also uses his van to take them shopping twice a month or to other functions.
Formerly a deaconess, Beth has her own mission in the community. She works with the Christian Fellowship for the Disabled, which holds monthly meetings to allow people who otherwise would be isolated a chance to meet each other to enjoy fellowship and socialise.