One of Whangarei’s oldest churches is Hope Whangarei, formerly St Andrews Uniting Church. It marked its 150th birthday in 2011.
It originally had wooden planks for pews because its budget did not allow for lining, seats or a pulpit.
Since then it has undergone many changes. The current building opened in 1908 and was swung around to its present location in the 1960s. Halls and gardens have also been added and changed.
The Presbyterian church was first established in 1859 by a group of Scottish settlers including some well-known Whangarei pioneers – Robert Reyburn senior, Mr Fraser, John McDonald, Mr Ross, A. Meldrum, Mr Rust and David Bruce.
The first church was built on land donated by Francis Hunt and opened in 1861.
The first minister was Rev John Gorrie, who rode his horse through swamps, tides and unformed roads to meet with congregation members and hold services around the district.