Four-year battle over Wairarapa's Church of the Good Shepherd comes to an end

There has been a twist in the four-year battle over the fate of one of New Zealand's most historic churches.

The Anglican Church wants to move the Tinui Church, but some residents in the small Wairarapa town were fighting for it to stay put.

On Tuesday they made a deal - for now - that means the church can be moved on Wednesday.

Tinui Church - also known as Church of the Good Shepherd - hosted the first ANZAC ceremony a year to the day after Gallipoli, and a cross was put on this mountain the same day.

Going to the Church and Cross is an annual pilgrimage, and on Wednesday it will move 300 metres up the road,

"The Church is going tomorrow," said vicar Steve Thomson. "That's it full stop - it is going."

The vicar, and the parish secretary Bob Alsop have come up with a plan to shift it - signed off by the Anglican Bishop of Wellington.

They want to put it on higher ground to avoid flooding, like what last hit Tinui in 1991.

"We've decided we want to do something for the future," said Mr Thomson.

The Church has been here since April 1902 - nearly 117 years - and on Tuesday, original settlers the Maunsell family are calling in lawyers, asking the Anglican Church to put it on hold.

The Maunsells have put up a four-year fight, wanting the Church to simply be jacked up higher to avoid flooding. A roofed gateway known as a 'lychgate' was donated by them 

"It's all because of this [the lychgate]. They wouldn't be in it without this," said Mr Thomson.

But after negotiations late on Tuesday with the Anglican Church, it was decided the church will go - but the gate will stay, for now at least.



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