Claudia Page of Devonport Heritage and Gail Lyons and Lyndsay Brock avail themselves of the facts and disrupt the Church sale. They provide us with the latest on the status of St Paul’s.
We have been doing more digging on the background to the church and have uncovered documents at Takapuna Library which support our view that much more needs to be established before the church and graveyard can be disposed of.
By looking up the gazette notice of 1891 which formally closed the graveyard, and adding up the acreage of the three allotments administered by the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Presbyterian Churches, it is clear that the land the church and hall have been built are in fact part of the closed graveyard as described in the closure notice. The Burials and Cremations Act prohibits the sale of such land.
Under the Burials & Cremations Act 1964, Section 43, a closed cemetery ’shall not be sold or leased or otherwise disposed of or diverted to any other purpose’.
Rule 6.4 states that ‘a licensee must not mislead a customer or client…..nor withhold information that should by law or fairness be provided to a customer or client‘. Rule 9.3 may also apply as it deals with taking advantage of prospective clients or customers, and it is apparent that potential buyers may not have the ability to understand relevant planning data or the law relating to closed cemeteries.
Devonport Heritage understands that the auction has been delayed for an unspecified time.
We note that after writing to the Harcourts agency, the error of the wrong architect in the listing has been corrected. We are still concerned that they are suggesting the church may become a “heavenly home”, as this would be difficult, given that the interior of the building is scheduled. The advertised alternative of function centre is not a permitted use under the residential zoning, so a resource consent would have to be sought for that to be possible.
Devonport Heritage will be approaching LINZ with a request that they urgently investigate the historical title, to find whether any accidental errors with regard to the title can be found. Our research shows that the title dated 1891 , was issued” in lieu of a Crown Grant”. Under the land Transfer Act, if a certificate of title is issued in lieu of a grant, it has the effect and force of a Crown Grant. If there is no evidence that the purpose of the original grant of burial grounds was removed, then the land could not be used for another purpose without an order from the Crown.
We are urging the Presbyterian Church to investigate fully and collaboratively with all groups and individuals who have an interest and knowledge of the church.