Simply Divine

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New Zealand’s rural churches are humble, simple and plain. Sitting surrounded by fields and farmland,  country church architecture ranges from basic “shed” to “Carpenter Gothic” in style.

Timber is the primary building material, a one room plan gives the basic form, and a light dusting of Gothic Revival (a nod to churches of the wealthier parishes of the time) gives a modest amount of flair. They often feature pointed-arch windows and steep gables, and whatever tracery or embellishments the budget or local carpenter’s skill could stretch to.

All of these churches, two on the North Island (one a Maori Rātana church with its own specific architectural style), two on the South Island (one repurposed as vintner’s tasting room), stand alone—generally on the outskirts of a town, without any immediate neighboring dwellings. It is almost as if they were intended to be just places of worship with no intention that they should be a community centre or a place to linger.

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