Here's another piece of the Ratana church in Raetihi, New Zealand, following on from this other version I posted a few days ago. This is a different perspective and finish. A closer-in shot this time, and I have desaturated all the bright colors seen in the other version, this time emphasising just the red and orange of the scene.
Coming upon this church was quite a surprise. Possibly it's been there for eons, but I don't ever recall having seen it before, and my friend David that I was talking to on the phone last night also mentioned he'd never seen it either even though he too has often traveled through Raetihi on his way between Auckland and Wanganui. We guessed it's because he and I always make our north/south journeys by continuing on the highway to the west side of the 3 volcanoes making up Tongariro National Park on the North Island's central volcanic plateau, whereas the church is on the hill above the road that swings east around the southern side of the national park. It was my good fortune that my sister Jenny was doing the driving and that's the way she always goes. Call it serendipity!
The Ratana religion is an interesting phenomenon of 20th Century New Zealand Maori history. A Christian religion that was founded to preach the gospels to the Maori, interestingly it is often referred to as the Ratana "movement" because of its strong political reach, becoming closely tied to the New Zealand Labour Party in the later half of the 20th Century. I also note that one of its symbols is the crescent moon (seen on top of each of the two towers of the church), an obvious reference to Islam.
The Ratana church and home base is located in Ratana, close to my hometown of Wanganui. You can see some pictures of Wanganui in this gallery.
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