By February 1959 as newly-weds, my husband and I had arrived in Auckland and bought a section in O’Halloran Road, Howick. We loved the beaches, the life of a small village and looked forward to having our house built on the newly formed section developed from farmland.

We often came to Howick to work on weekends and it was good to find a group of Methodists who met in the Village on Sundays. Ken and Maude Fricker had encouraged the group for several years with their leadership.  I began to join with a group meeting in Dr Michael Cooper’s rooms in Moore Street just next-door to the Church, for Bible study prior to the main Sunday service.

Time to have a morning ‘cuppa’ then reconvene for the main Church service in the ‘Keith Hay Hall’ as it was known in later years. Keith Hay was a Christian builder who made it possible for Churches and other community groups to afford accommodation for their members.  We moved into our house in July 1960.

The members of the Howick Methodist Church Leader’s Meeting were devoted, prayerful Christians who had a vision to build up the little church and draw people from the wider region of Beachlands, Howick and Pakuranga.  The Leaders met regularly, and faithfully.  I was impressed and spiritually uplifted by their example. The section in Moore Street was being developed as a row of shops – Hodgson’s Sewing Centre was at the top end and the motherly Mrs Hodgson helped with sewing problems for many young women and new mothers coming into the area.

Also, the second-hand shop was popular and three or four other shops completed the row of commercial buildings now on the Church section.  By this time the church had bought a large section near Pakuranga College, fronting Pakuranga Road. The little Church building was shifted to the Pakuranga site and served for several years until the new regional Methodist Church was fully established and opened in 1963.

Janice & Mike Older  (‘Highlands’ Metlifecare Retirement Village)