Cemeteries are juxtapositions: places where time has ceased to matter to those who are there, but places where time is very clearly marked and important to those who visit.

Church_WaterbottlesMāori consider that urupā (burial grounds) or cemeteries are tapu (sacred) and that tapu is removed by washing hands on departure.

The Māori cemetery of the Church of St. John at Omahu in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand visibly connects the eternal with the here and now. Visiting  whānau—extended family—keeps family and family history alive. Gravesites are often embellished with a personal items which provide a stark contrast between our fleeting lives and eternal rest.

The church was established by Renata Tama-Ki-Hikuhrangi Kawepo, a Māori chief and missionary in the late 19th Century.

The grounds contain Renata Kawepo’s memorial erected by the New Zealand Government to him and his followers for their support during the New Zealand Wars; a more formal marker of memory and remembrance.

Want more rural New Zealand church architecture? Have a look at our iPhone v Camera post, Simply Divine. For individual portraits, try New Zealand Pastoral to see the Ratana church in Raetihi, or check out the humble country Kutarere church.

In response to this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge, “Time“, set by Lignum Draco – wood dragon and street photographer extraordinaire.