Park marks beginning of Maori-Pakeha relations

  • 21/12/2014

Rangihoua Heritage Park was officially opened today, commemorating the first chapter in New Zealand's history as a nation of Maori and Pakeha.

The park in Oihi Bay has a new trail, which leads visitors to the site of New Zealand's first Christian service.

Almost 200 years since New Zealand's first Christian service was held there, a crowd gathered again today to mark the special occasion.

Marsden Cross marks the point at Oihi Bay where Reverend Samuel Marsden landed in 1814 and established a missionary settlement. His descendent, also named the Reverend Samuel Marsden, made a special trip over from England for the occasion.

"He could see the big picture," says Rev Marsden. "New Zealand was part of that big picture. He could see that there was a potential for a partnership between Pakeha and Maori."

The opening of the Rangihoua Heritage Park is a reminder of the historic nature of the site and its links to the beginnings of bicultural trading and education.

"It's very important that New Zealanders recognise the role that it has played in the history and leading up to the Treaty of Waitangi because without Rangihaoua there would be no Treaty," says Rev Marsden.

Diane Patterson lives on the property and owned part of the land from 1948 until it was purchased by the Marsden Cross Trust Board nine years ago.

"It's exciting and I'm thrilled," she says. "It's been part of planning for a long, long time."

The 200th anniversary of Rev Marsden's famous sermon will be marked with a service at Marsden Cross on Christmas Day.

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source: newshub archive