Sunday, July 12, 2009
A Sunday Church Moment
I LOVE Maori churches and the fact that elaborate decoration is the order of the day. This one, the Catholic Church - The Church of the Immaculate Conception - at Whakarewarewa Thermal Village in Rotorua is a little more restrained than others I've been in, but it's beautiful nonetheless - serene, quiet, peaceful. Built in 1904, it is the oldest building in the village and it sits at the highest point of the village.
The church is surrounded by a fascinating, beautifully kept urupa (cemetery), where many whanau (family) of the resident Ngati Wahiao people are buried in pristine white tombs. Because the village sits on an active and very hot geothermal field, the people are unable to bury their dead underground. Instead they are interred in these white tombs above ground.