St George’s Parish – Te Kuiti
St George’s Parish was placed in Te Kuiti to be a place of worship for all Catholics in the district in the early years of the twentieth century. In 1909 a parish had been established in Te Awamutu which included Te Kuiti.
In 1915 Te Kuiti became a separate parish which included Otorohanga (until January 1946) and Piopio. The Mill Hill Fathers from Holland, Ireland and England were placed in Aria and surrounding areas until Diocesan clergy were available. Now the parish is included in the wider Te Awamutu Parish once again.
The parish lacked a school building for the first few months but the first 60 pupils were enrolled and classes were held in the Church. The school basement where the Sisters made cocoa for the children on frosty mornings was, and still is, the parish hall. When the first Parish Council was formed there was an upgrade of the basement parish facility during the school’s addition of a new library.
Eucharistic Ministers were established and they led weekday Liturgies when the incumbent Priest was absent. This continued for many years.
There has been recent upgrading of the Church and grounds including lovely stained glass windows, organised by Fr Eamon Kennedy, which have replaced the boarded Sanctuary windows.
St Joseph’s School works closely with the Parish and both enjoy benefits from each other. Parishioners attend school functions and talk with the children. Parishioners visit Hillview Rest Home residents, other sick people in the community and provide contributions to Te Kuiti foodbank.
Written by Ngarie Grayson (2017).