Waimate North was the fourth mission station formed in New Zealand, and the first attempted settlement away from the coast.
After the missionary families were settled in the homes early in 1831, Mr. Clarke started a school with an attendance of between 70 – 80 pupils.
The building was 40 x 20. It was commenced early in May and took six weeks to build by the local natives.
The first child to be baptized in the new building was Edward Blomfield Clarke (afterwards second Archdeacon of Te Waimate, on 10 July 1831.)
So rapidly did the number of worshippers increase that within 18 months the building proved too small.
During 1834 Rev. W. Yate went to England he did succeed in his “contention” with his friends, for in the C.M.S. balance sheet for 1835 appears 1110 pound for the church. He did not return to NZ.
The church of St. John the Baptist is today only one of nine churches in the Parochial District of Waimate North. The work of keeping them in repair is a heavy burden on the parishioners, and in 1964 the steeple being in urgent need of repair. Work beyond the capacity of the Central Vestry’s finances the National Historic Places Trust came to the rescue, renewed its damaged timbers, provided new shingles and a new Cross.
Source: Clarke Family of Te Waimate