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Places of cultural and historical significance

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On this field trip, you will explore some culturally and historically significant places of heritage in Te Tai Tokerau Northland. The first of these places will be Kororipo Pā, the Stone Store and Kerikeri Mission House. The other two places will be Te Waimate Mission, and Māngungu Mission. 

What is a mission or mission station?

Historically, missions or mission stations have been religious communities used to spread belief in Christianity to local indigenous populations. They were established and run by missionaries; the people tasked with teaching these religious beliefs.

The first missionaries arrived in Aotearoa in the Bay of Islands in 1814. They were some of the earliest people of European descent to establish settlements among its existing Māori inhabitants.

Mission stations were set up during a time of growth and opportunity for both Māori and the missionaries. The missionaries relied on Māori, the target subjects of their Christian teachings, for their own welfare and settlement in a new land. Māori took advantage of agricultural and trade opportunities through the missionaries to further their influence in an area.

At times when the government was openly at war with large sections of the Māori population, missionaries were key figures in keeping the channels of communication open between the two groups. Interactions between Māori and missionaries helped to facilitate the Treaty of Waitangi process.

The first missionaries arrived in Aotearoa in the Bay of Islands in 1814. Pictured: Rangihoua Heritage Park-Marsden Cross, Bay of Islands. Image: Nick Thompson | Creative Commons.

Kerikeri Mission Station

The Church Missionary Society (CMS) was the first group of missionaries to arrive in Aotearoa New Zealand. Samuel Marsden, an English-born priest of the Church of England in Australia, was a member of the CMS and a key figure in the establishment of the first Christian mission in New Zealand.

The second mission station established in New Zealand by the CMS was in the Kerikeri Basin in 1819. It is one of the first places in New Zealand where Māori invited visitors to live among them.

The mission station was built under the protection of local chiefs who were keen to harness the trade and technology of Europe. Some of the most important early meetings between Māori and European cultures took place here.

The second Mission Station established in New Zealand was in the Kerikeri Basin in 1819. Image: LEARNZ.

Kororipo Pā

Kororipo Pā has been one of the most important landing and meeting places in the north. Located to command the junction of the Wairoa and Kerikeri rivers, Kororipo means “swirling waters”. In these waters the Taniwha Kauea presides, his presence acknowledged through whakapapa linking the Hokianga (west) and Taiamai (east).

The Pā was a strategic site for Ngāpuhi. It became the fortress and headquarters of Ngāpuhi chief Hongi Hika, a skilled leader in war and trade. During the time Hongi Hika lived at Kerikeri (1819 -1826) Kororipo Pā was associated with the launching of great taua (war parties) and guarded the area from attack. It was Hongi Hika who invited the CMS to Kerikeri.

Kororipo Pā was a strategic site for Ngāpuhi. Image: LEARNZ.

Stone Store

The Stone Store was built in 1832 and was originally a CMS warehouse. Over the years it has been a trading post, library, barracks, and boys’ school. It also served as a general store, a tradition that continues today. It is the oldest stone building and trading store in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Stone Store is the oldest stone building and trading store in Aotearoa New Zealand. Image: LEARNZ.

Kerikeri Mission House

Kerikeri Mission House, is New Zealand’s oldest standing building. It was built between 1821-1822 by the CMS as part of the Kerikeri Mission Station, using missionary and Māori carpenters. Kerikeri Mission House was used as a family home. It is surrounded by heritage gardens and orchards, including New Zealand’s oldest pear tree!

Kerikeri Mission House is New Zealand’s oldest standing building. Image: LEARNZ.

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Additional teacher notes

  • More information relating to Kerikeri Mission Station and He Whakaputanga, literacy and the significance of the slates.

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