21 June 2021
150years Ė We are part of this community
This last year has been celebrated by the Papatoetoe community as its 150th year. During this time virtually all the clubs, schools and organizations , including businesses, churches, temples mosques and various other religious organizations and sports groups have taken part in some way.
The Papatoetoe Historic Society, along with the support of our local Board, have provided the framework for many different events. We started off the celebrations on the first of the year with prayer and worship - a short service at the Pukaki Marae then at St Johns [with its 156 years in this place] and the final event is to say thank you to the organizations and people who have worked to have it happen.
At the beginning I wondered what it might achieve, but it has become clear during the year that all ethnicities and groupings from the newest immigrants to the representatives of the earliest families have become more aware of each other and value one anotherís contribution to the whole community.
We have hosted heritage walks and I have a vivid picture of a group of turbaned Sikhs sitting in the church asking about its beginnings, with their own guide with them. Visiting us usually followed the visit to the temple.
As we walked around Dingwall home and the old orphanage of St Johns [now Manukau Presbyterian Samoan church in Wyllie Road] people learned that the history of Papatoetoe included the care of many children over the years.
I realized how much the churches shaped the beginnings of Papatoetoe. The first library at St Johns Church, the schools started by the churches and Central school among others produced time lines and historic displays as the young people learned more about the community they belong to.
On Anzac Day, Nathan was part of the parade. He found his old marine uniform [yes it still fitted] and carried the flag which the RSA produced with delight when they found they had a Marine who could carry it. There is a whole slice of history there about the war in the Pacific, which had a huge impact on Papatoetoe where the Marines were based, which lies almost forgotten as those who lived through the war years get older.
It was apparent that there has always been diversity in Papatoetoe. Many different waves of immigrants have come and set up their farms, homes and businesses with hopefulness in a new future and are still doing so.
Mission is done within a context and this is our context. When Samuel Baird gave the land for the church and John Mackie arrived from faraway Londonderry, this church community put down their roots. Not just in buildings and a place to worship, but in this community, where the task is and always has been to live out the way of Jesus, and be [along with all the other churches].a sign of Godís presence and love for all people.
May God give us the ability to see and take the opportunities to share the Good news of Jesus in our community.
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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