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The Bicentenary of Beginnings for the Nation


The Bicentenary of Beginnings for the Nation

The history of 200 years ago, including Christmas Day 1814, is being remembered as the first steps towards nationhood for Aotearoa New Zealand with two significant events at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands.

On December 21st there will be a powhiri and official opening of Rangihoua Heritage Park at 10am by the Governor General.

On December 25th at 11am there will be a National Bicentennial Ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving at the Marsden Cross. The Christmas Day Service will be led by national church leaders and broadcast live on TV ONE.

In December 1814 the Rev’d Samuel Marsden and Maori Chief Ruatara took the initial steps in beginning the first permanent European settlement at Rangihoua.

On Christmas Day 1814 a service and a sermon preached by Marsden to a Maori and Pakeha congregation inaugurated Christian mission in this land. It was the partnership of Marsden and Ruatara, which led to a pivotal moment in our history and the development of the special relationship between the two peoples, Maori and Pakeha, a foundation for our nationhood. It began the journey that led to Te Tiriti o Waitangi in 1840 and the bicultural journey we continue to live today.

Both events are open to the public. People are asked to make their own way to the site by vehicle or boat and can stay for the afternoon if they wish,

December 21st
The Governor General will open Rangihoua Heritage Park, including the new building, Rore Kahu, at the entrance to the valley and the new interpretation panels, which lead down to the Marsden Cross at Oihi. The panels tell the historyof the land and the people being remembered in the bicentennial commemorations. There will be the chance for families to enjoy the park and its history during the day.

The Heritage Park is a collaborative project between the Marsden Cross Trust Board, the Department of Conservation, the Anglican Church, and Ngati Torehina.

• The Marsden Cross Trust Board can outline the history of the project and the partnership with Ngati Torehina

• The Department of Conservation can provide information about the significance of the Park to our country.

• The Anglican Church can provide comment on the significance of the work of the missionaries and the beginnings of nationhood


December 25th

The Ecumenical Service, at the Marsden Cross site, will include church leaders from across the country. The service will remember the gift of two hundred years ago and those who enabled it on that site, as well as celebrate the ongoing work of the gospel.

People are asked to make their own way to the site, by vehicle or boat, and are encouraged to bring a picnic and stay for the afternoon if they wish to.


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