This well-known craft shop in the heart of the Ōakura township was once a place of worship a little further down the Taranaki coast.

New Plymouth architect, W.N. Stephenson, called for tenders in October 1922. The foundation stone for this Warea-Puniho Anglican Church was laid in November 1922 by Bishop Averill.

It was built on land given by Mr and Mrs Wells in memory of their two sons killed during World War I. The builder was Mr Willis from Ōkato and it opened for worship on 23 March 1923 by the Ven. Archdeacon Evans. It was later dedicated by the Bishop of Auckland on 21 November 1923.

Due to falling attendances the church was put up for tender in 1978 and the bid from the Pouakai-Warea Scout group was accepted. When the scout group went into recess the church was bought by Ash Heyden and Diane Hutchings and moved to Ōakura.

It was sited next to the Ōakura Service Station and became the retail outlet, "The Crafty Fox". In 1990 it won a commendation in the tourist shops category of that years New Zealand Tourism Awards. 

Tony Barnes and John Sole took over the "The Crafty Fox" in 2001. John Sole died suddenly in December 2022 and in 2024 the old church will take on a new role as a cafe run by Rosanna Tills and Seth Marshall.

Related documents:

Church on the move? (Daily News 9 June 1988)

Crafty plans for Oakura (Daily News 16 August 1989)

Bright new life for church (Nth Taranaki Midweek 16 August 1989)

New outlet for top quality New Zealand arts and crafts (Nth Taranaki Midweek 22 November 1989)

Crafty pair put Oakura on the map (Daily News 28 October 1990)

Of passing interest, Kelvin Day (Taranaki Daily News 9 April 2012)

From the archives (Taranaki Daily News 26 July 2014)

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