First purchase: in an old church full of character


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Even though it has a sloping roof and stained glass windows, locals don’t call the small building on Raumaewa Rd, Mangaweka, a church – they call it The Lodge.

It began as a place of worship, the first church to be built in the small town in the center of the North Island, nestled in a bend in the Awa Rangitikei, in 1896. A Wesleyan church, it did not lasted a long time before being sold. , and transformed into a Masonic lodge.

“I’ve always looked all over New Zealand to buy, but I’ve always loved Mangaweka,” says owner and rafting guide Dean Griffiths, who shares the converted church with his partner Brooke McIntyre and their 3-year-old daughter. .

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“When church came around, I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool,’ because I always like to go against the grain, do things a little differently.”

“A little different” is definitely one way to describe the three-bedroom home.

Locals call this old converted church

Real Estate Brokers / Provided

Locals call this converted old church “The Lodge”.

About two-thirds of the room is in its original state. Towards the end of the 1970s, an extension was added to the back of the room. In the 1980s, this extension was transformed into a dwelling.

McIntyre, who participated in My Kitchen Rules in 2015, now uses the room as a community yoga studio and workspace for her floristry business, Indie and B.

It is also “a bit of a games room”.

“We have an almost 4-year-old girl, so it’s a big playground for her. We have a ping-pong table in there, and we’ve played bocce indoors there in the past. It is a large space with beautiful original matai floors.

The facade of the room is practically unchanged.  The family uses it for a variety of things, including community yoga, floristry, and a game room.

Real Estate Brokers / Provided

The facade of the room is practically unchanged. The family uses it for a variety of things, including community yoga, floristry, and a game room.

Griffith repainted – there was “orange carpeting and army green walls” – and carpeted, insulated and added new curtains to the building.

“When I bought it, it needed some love. I think the carpeting was original from the 70s or 80s, so we made it more welcoming.

He bought the first part of the property – the church and an 800m² section – about seven years ago, around the same time he met McIntyre, who is originally from the Rangitikei area.

The church hall has a lot of original period style.

Real Estate Brokers / Provided

The church hall has a lot of original period style.

In 2020 the couple were able to purchase the nearby paddock, which surrounds the church section, providing the family with a living block of around 2200m².

“We have chickens and a few sheep – although we don’t have any at the moment. We have planted native trees along the border which will provide good privacy in the future.

There’s a flower and vegetable garden in the yard – “We’re pretty self-sufficient when it comes to food.” There is also enough space on the section to build a second home, granny flat or Airbnb.

“It’s a great summer house because we have the small front terrace which sets up in the morning. And then you go to the back terrace in the afternoon, with the beautiful garden and the trees.

“This is a really entertaining house as it has all folding doors and windows that open onto the back patio. just outside.

The rear of the building was extended and transformed into living space in the 1980s.

Real Estate Brokers / Provided

The rear of the building was extended and transformed into living space in the 1980s.

Mangaweka is traditionally a farming community, but there is also a large group of professional rafters who come for what the river has to offer.

“It’s a place where a lot of rafting guides have come – not to retire, but to hang out after we’ve done our world travels and have families.

“The community is amazing here. Everyone really takes care of everyone.

The house has a great indoor-outdoor flow.

Real Estate Brokers / Provided

The house has a great indoor-outdoor flow.

Added to this is “a somewhat artsy community too” drawn to the area in part by musician and artist Richard Aslett, who runs the Mangaweka ‘Yellow Church’ Gallery – the other converted church in town – just down the street.

“I think the thing we will miss the most will be the community here,” says Griffith, who says the couple are considering moving to the southern island of Te Waipounamu for work opportunities.

“It’s very easy for us to have play dates with other kids and parents because everyone is within walking distance. You can call people if you’re going away for the weekend and ask them to feed the chickens, everyone’s really good that way.

The community also gathers at Awastone Cafewhere there are regular events like quiz nights.

The three-bed house has two beds on the upper level of the room and one below.

Real Estate Brokers / Provided

The three-bed house has two beds on the upper level of the room and one below.

A “jump, hop and hop” to anywhere in the Lower North Island. The town is 50 minutes from the Turoa ski area and Tongariro National Park is an hour’s drive away. It is 45 minutes from the west coast of Te Ika A Maui-North Island and one hour from Palmerston North. Even the capital is only a day away, 2h30 by car.

“You are in the foothills of the Ruahine ranges for trout fishing and deer hunting. You have the Rangitikei River there [it’s just 800 metres from the property] – I have rafted all over the world on the Rangitikei River, one of the most beautiful rivers I have been on.

“In summer, it’s an incredible swimming temperature. It is good for families. The area is ideal for fishing, hunting – there is something for everyone.

Looking for offers over $549,000, the house is listed with Sapphire Beaumont for real estate brokers.

The covered terrace offers a view of the surrounded paddocks and the family gardens.

Real Estate Brokers / Provided

The covered terrace offers a view of the surrounded paddocks and the family gardens.

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