Is this living, green church NZ's coolest wedding venue? video


Kiwi couples are lining up to get married in this living, breathing, green church in the Waikato.

Barry Cox had been developing his Ohaupo property for five years when it dawned on him that it needed a church.

An ancient stone church like the ones he'd seen in Europe, would have been ideal "but that wasn't going to happen," Barry says, so he opted to grow one from trees instead.

His business involves shifting mature trees with a large mechanical tree spade so he was able to move whopping specimens into place.

Photo: Ray Dixon/CloudCutterPhoto

"You've got to get the proportions right," he says.

"There's a formula, from an architectural point of view."

Alnus 'Imperialis' forms the canopy, with its trunks bare and its ultra-flexible branches bent to form a roof. Contrasting red Leptospermum 'Copper Sheen' creates the walls of the church, which seats 100.

Photo: Ray Dixon/CloudCutterPhoto

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Barry never envisaged the crowds the leafy, serene space would attract: "I built it for me. It was my retreat from society."

But word got around, so Barry now opens his church to the public two days a week and couples are lining up to book weddings.

Located in Ohaupo, near Cambridge, the church is set in 1.2 ha of gardens and also includes a shaded area under a large canopy constructed from a military cargo parachute.

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This article appears in the April issue of NZ House & Garden, in stores now or subscribe at

 - NZ House & Garden

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