Religious Life at Manawaru
Alongside the School, religion has always been at the heart of Manawaru community life. Early church services in the districts of Shaftesbury and Manawaru were originally held at the ‘Old Hotel’ down near the River Waihou.
In 1900 the Brethren Assembly was started by Mr Martin at his house close to where the present chapel sits. In 1905, Mr Charlie Gedge and Mr Allan Smith started out with the Gospel
Carriage, that travelled here and there. After coming to Manawaru, Allan fell in love with Miss Maud Martin, Mr Martin’s daughter, at the morning meetings. Maud became Manawaru’s first missionary as she travelled South America before marrying Allan in 1908.
Around this time the meetings were switched to the Cochrane House. Mr John Ward bought the
property, and meetings continued at the Ward House until Mr Ward donated land and the first Chapel was built.
In 1903, EY Cox donated an acre of land for the erection of an Anglican church, opposite the school. In 1906, the church was built, with Archdeacon Cowie as its first minister.
The land the Catholic Church is on was purchased in 1907 from Mr A J Bemrose and the first Catholic Church was blessed and opened in August of that year by Monsignor O’Reilly.