In early 1874 Captain Burleigh applied to the Anglican Church authorities in England and the Church Missionary Society in England provide funds to build the first Church in Okaihau. The land was donated by the owner of the general store, totara timbers were milled, pit sawed, the shingles donated. The building was consecrated in 1875.
The first services were led by priests from Waimate North. Money was then raised for the first organ. As there was no other church in Okaihau for many years, the church was sometimes shared.
Sunday services comprising of a sermon, music, prayers and readings are still held every 3rd Sunday of the month.
In 1845 there was battle at the pa at Puketutu, Hone Heke’s pa. A number of people were killed on both sides, with the 11 British soldiers being buried in a trench at the pa later they were exhumed in the late 1880’s and transferred to the St Catherine Anglican Church yard. Along with some other soldiers remains with stone cross being put in place in 1891.
Friends of St Catherine
The current group “Friends of St Catherine” is a proactive group aimed at maintaining and the church as a source or pride for the Okaihau area. Any interested people are welcome to join.