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Big turnout for church move

The signage to the church’s original location 400m down the road will need replacing. In the background it’s being lowered into its new, safer spot. PHOTO/SAM TATTERSFIELD

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The Church of the Good Shepherd in Tinui has finally shifted from its flood prone historic site, and while it wasn’t celebrated by all,Tuesday’s move brought out the town, cameras in tow.

Moving to higher, central Tinui ground was the alternative to replacing rotting piles and raising the building 1.5 metres to make it less flood prone.

Many were thrilled something’s been done to protect the church.

Self-appointed unofficial Tinui mayor Neil Palmer thought the move was “magnificent”.

“It’s really a culmination of everything that’s happening in Tinui.”

But original settler family the Maunsells had opposed the move.

Discussions are ongoing about where the lychgate – the roofed gateway at the entrance to the church – donated by the Maunsells, will end up.

Power company Powerco and the church co-ordinated so that the power cut needed for the move would also be used by Powerco so they could safely replace most of the crossbeams on Tinui’s power lines.

Heritage New Zealand had indicated to the church’s management that the building would shift from Category 2 to Category 1 classification once it was refurbished as part of the move and made safe from floods and located beside Tinui’s World War I memorial, said priest-in-charge Steve Thomson.

Parish secretary Bob Alsop said the move was to protect a treasure, and said funds spent on retaining the church in its old location were wasted, “when literally all other buildings have been moved from the flood plain”.

“To do nothing would see a historic church gradually disintegrate and sink into the flood plain of the Whareama River, and disappear from the consciousness of all,” he said.

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