Soon after the missionaries arrived in nineteenth-century New Zealand, Maori began converting to protestant Christianity in large numbers. Without the manpower or materials to build their own churches, missionaries largely relied on Maori to build houses of worship. As a result, the early churches drew on strands from the British ecclesiastical tradition as well as elements from Maori art and architecture to produce a distinctive and arresting new style. The last of these whare-style churches was destroyed when the Rangiatea church at Otaki burned down in 1995. In this book, Richard Sundt draws on a range of primary materials to chronicle early Maori church building in New Zealand for the first time. The book focuses on the Anglican/Church Missionary Society churches that dominated the period. After looking at British church architecture and early interactions between Maori and missionaries, Sundt looks at how key arguments were resolved - oveer carving and painting in churches, the use of liturgical space, etc. - by looking at particular buildings in detail. Whare Karakia is groundbreaking work that sheds new light on the history of both religion, architecture, and the story of Maori and Pakeha in New Zealand.
Richard Sundt is associate professor in art history at the University of Oregon. He specialises in Medieval Architecture, Ancient Architecture and Pacific Art and Architecture. He has published extensively on gothic architecture and, since 1997, has been researching early Maori churches. He continues to undertake site and archival work in Austria on the former Franciscan Church and Wallseerkapelle at Enns. He belongs to many professional societies including the Association Villard de Honnecourt (AVISTA), the International Center of Medieval Art, the Societe Francaise d'Archeologie, the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship and the Society of Architectural Historians.
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