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Richness in diversity

The village of Matangi, southeast of Hamilton in Waikato District, is now home to the fourth Romanian Orthodox church to be consecrated in New Zealand.

St David’s Matangi, built in 1933 and formerly part of the St Francis Cooperating Parish of Anglicans, Methodists and Presbyterians, was, in September last year, consecrated as St David’s Church Matangi of St George Orthodox Parish, Hamilton.

The service, based on ancient traditions, provided a chance to reflect on the richness of our diverse population. Led by Bishop Mihail Filimon of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of Australia and New Zealand, who came from Melbourne for the occasion, it attracted Orthodox Christians from all over New Zealand as well as representatives of local mainstream churches and the local community.

It has fulfilled a dream for a small and largely immigrant community led by Rev Ovidiu Motofelea, and it’s been valued by others too. Speaking after the service, Archbishop Emeritus Sir David Moxon welcomed the continued use of St David’s as a place for Christian worship, while local heritage enthusiasts seem pleased that this designated historic site, protected in the Waikato District Plan, has been restored with a secure future.

More than a quarter of our population was born overseas (27.4% according to the 2018 census), and as a country we continue to welcome immigrants. They come with skills and hope for a new future, infuse us with fresh energy, and widen our perspectives on the world.

We have been welcoming up to 60 people at a time from at least 19 different countries at the 12 citizenship ceremonies Waikato District Council has run since the last local elections. As a District at the centre of the golden triangle between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga, we continue to attract new enterprise and a growing population. Waikato District is now home to about 89,000 people, up from about 58,500 just 10 years ago.

Our District is also home to the Kiingitanga with its own rich traditions that we must recognise and honour as we learn to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The Council’s vision is to continue to draw our growing population together into liveable, thriving and connected communities.

Part of that effort lies in supporting an understanding of our local heritage. For example, our Waikato District Heritage Forum, made up of dedicated volunteers, is supported by a newly appointed Strategic Heritage Advisor, and there is a small amount of funding available to support local museums and heritage projects.

Inspired by World Heritage Day held every year on 18 April, the Forum has initiated the concept of holding an inaugural Waikato District Heritage Day on 20 April 2024.

St David’s Church Matangi of St George Orthodox Parish, Hamilton, will be one of the featured sites and will be open to visitors from 10am-2pm on 20 April 2024.

Please read the original article on the consecration of St David’s Church Matangi of St George Orthodox Parish, Hamilton, as published in the Cambridge News here.

Crystal Beavis, Waikato District
Councillor, Tamahere-Woodlands Ward  

Join us for our inaugural Waikato District Heritage Day! Learn more here