Mr Robert Lane and his mother, Mrs Ruth Lane nee Broughton (aged 92) from Wellington, at the Glentunnel Chapel anniversary

Celebrating a long history

by Mike Isle

To mark 140 years of the Victoria St Chapel at Glentunnel, people travelled from near and far to remember days gone by with vintage cars, butterfly cakes, linen tablecloths and fashion from the 1930s.

A visit to the Glentunnel Museum, an afternoon tea, dinner and church service were part of the celebrations.

“The chapel was originally built in Kirwee for the Baptist Church in 1878 by Reverend Decimus Dolamore — the first Baptist minister in New Zealand. The building was later relocated by traction engine to Glentunnel in 1936 and has remained in use ever since,” says event organiser, Judy McLean.

An elder from the chapel, Mr Smart, had the idea to hold the celebrations. The afternoon tea had a 1930s theme with food from the original opening day menu including pikelets, sandwiches and butterfly cakes.

“The church first started in people’s homes in the district in the 1920s. Of the original founding families, the Broughtons, McSkimmings, Tuers and Bruces, only descendants of the Tuers still farm in the district and attend the chapel.

“Four boys from the chapel recited Psalm 1 and cut a special ‘Psalm 1’ cake and another cake, topped by an icing replica of the Chapel was cut by Mrs Mary Broughton, Mrs Dorothy Tuer and Mrs Ruth lane. Mrs Lane (nee Broughton), aged 92, came from Wellington for the event. It was special having someone at the celebration, who was at the opening of the Chapel at Glentunnel in 1936.

“I have written up the history of the chapel and this can be purchased by emailing”