One of real strengths of the Methodist Church of New Zealand is that it does its best to encourage life enhancing activities outside what we normally think of as church.
Camp Morley exists because of great kiwi vision and huge amounts of freewill servant time, talent and resources by many folk within the Franklin area.
The 5 acre Camp, nestled alongside 200 metres of sandy Manukau Harbour beachline, with mature trees and 600 metres off the rural Clarks Beach Road. It is a very special gathering place.
The Camp has changed greatly since 1960 when Rev Clarrie Luxton led a passionate team of Methodist church folk to accept the gifted land from Mr and Mrs Hewett to develop a Campsite to serve all people. The site was named Camp Morley, to honour the Dr William Morley ( 1982 to 1926 ), a leading Methodist Minister in the South Auckland district.
Initially the land was hugely overgrown with bush and plants, also swampy underfoot. The land was cleared and profiled to retain an open space with many feature plants and trees remaining or freshly planted.
In 1961 / 1962, winning a 190 pound tender, various temporary transit buildings were purchased from Camp Bunn in Mount Wellington, and moved onto Camp Morley. Just in time for a first special Easter Camp in 1962.
Initially with army style latrines, from a massive effort and local labour of love by many, and despite the initial primitive start, repairs and improvements continued in earnest through the 1960’s.
Through this time, the local butcher in Waiau Pa kindly provided cold storage space as no such luxury existed at the Camp. Many stories exist of hard work and kindness contributed by many people.
Proving itself to be growingly popular, visionary committee members and church body decided to transform Camp Morley into a more guest friendly site with carefully thought out plans for change.
In 1968, additional land was purchased and a Camp Managers house was built onsite.
In those days, a local newspaper reported Camp Morley to be a “ delightful haven “ even whilst the relocated buildings were substantially dilapidated in appearance and required constant repairs.
In early 1970’s it was recognised that the expanding group and family use of the Camp, required a new approach and a higher standard of accommodation and facilities.
In 1977, the bold decision was made to secure funding for $175,000 which represented materials cost alone, to construct new buildings and structures. Even before this could begin, drainage had to be improved and reprofiling of the ground space to best suit the new Camp build vision.
Plans from visionary thinking included building solid accommodation structures into spacious units, each with own toilet, shower, cooking and dorm style. To shape the site to share the harbour views, deliver a layout that kept spaces open and expansive to grass areas and a sense of community. The Main Community Hall with guest group space for dinning, meetings, time-out lounge, high volume kitchen work and chiller facility, was also audacious.
In 1977 / 1978 the transformation was underway. And developed rapidly.
From 1979 through to 1980, saw the progressive building and completion of accommodation units by a super dedicated group of tradesmen and many volunteers.
Through these years, caravanning was popular in NZ, and Camp Morley also provided an abundance of space for these classic kiwi holidaying families as well.
By 1981 the bulk of the development was completed and since then, many people have continued to provide labour support for improvement, working bee, gifting and dedications along the way.
Today as we head into 2020, this story continues, and remains unfinished as the wonderful vision, labour and gifting from many people, continues at Camp Morley, that can only be described as..
A living gift by many people .. who delight in serving the Lord Jesus Christ.
A living gift to all, who come to share and experience Camp Morley.