Outdoor church service for 150th

Brendon McMahon

An inter-denominational church service on Cass Square is planned as part of the Hokitika Goldrush 150th celebrations in December.
Details have yet to be finalised but the outdoor celebration, on Sunday, December 21, will be an opportunity for the Christian church groups in Hokitika to stand “shoulder to shoulder” in celebrating the milestone, according to co-organiser Rev Vivienne Harber, of All Saints Anglican Church.
Ms Harber said the 150 Cass Square service would also acknowledge the arrival of Christianity in Westland, with Maori communities at Arahura and Makaawhio (Bruce Bay) having been introduced to the Gospel in the early 1840s.
“The idea is that all the Christian communities in Hokitika and at Arahura come together — that we have some kind of joint celebration,” she said.
Hokitika’s big weekend happened to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the formal arrival of the Gospel in New Zealand, at Christmas 1814.
“In many ways we have a double celebration.”
A joint service was an unprecedented way to mark the historic legacy of the churches in Hokitika today with their forebears, particularly as organised religion was an intimate part of life on the goldfield from day one, Ms Harber said.
“It will be a great opportunity for the Christian community to come together and stand shoulder to shoulder in this town.”
Several possibilities were being explored, including a Gospel inspired music group to anchor the celebration, “something that will really shake the place”.
Cass Square was seen as the ideal venue with its central location and grandstand, with the possibility of a community picnic to follow.