A book based on the conference will be available by May 2014 – Te Rongopai 1814 ‘Takoto te pai!’. For the full details, please view the flyer.

Report on the Iwi – Christianity – Tauiwi Conference

Hei Kohikohinga Kōrero mō te Hāhi Karaitiana ki Aotearoa – Re-evaluating Christianity’s Influence in Shaping Aotearoa New Zealand c.1800 to c.1860

The conference was held at Waitangi, 27 – 29 November 2012, with some 140 people in attendance. The aim was to examine aspects of the impact of Christianity on the shaping of New Zealand society. This is part of the preparation for the bicentenary of the formal Christian beginnings in New Zealand which will be observed in 2014.

Even before the arrival of missionaries in New Zealand, Christianity was being evaluated and reported on by individuals who travelled overseas. Ruatara, Hongi Hika, Korokoro and five other kinsmen accompanied the Revd Samuel Marsden and the first Church Missionary Society families from Australia, arriving in New Zealand in December 1814. The service on Christmas Day 1814 at Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands and establishment of the first missionary settlement were noteworthy among a number of significant firsts or beginnings: the first land transaction, the first permanent European settlement, the first formal school along English lines, the birth of the first European child in the country.

The missionary beginnings were foundational in the engagement between Iwi (tangata whenua) – and Tauiwi – (Europeans/Pākehā). The commencement of the work of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society in 1822 and the arrival of Bishop Pompallier and Catholic missionaries from the Society of Mary in 1838 added other noteworthy missionary beginnings.

After 1830 in particular, Christianity was experimented with and incorporated in various ways within tribal and village life. The nature of the “conversion” that took place highlights the diverse responses of individuals and Iwi to Christianity. The recognition of the agency of indigenous evangelists points to the significant part that local people played in this process.

From 1840, the arrival of increasing numbers of European / Pākehā migrants saw the beginnings of the settler churches in a variety of denominational forms. This, along with the impact of Pākehā settlement and government, gave rise to tensions between the missionary and colonial expressions of Christianity.

The conference programme below gives an indication as to the range of papers and subjects covered. An updated copy of the abstracts for the papers is also available on our Conference Speakers page.

Conference Programme

Tuesday 27 November 2012

4pm - Pōwhiri – Te Whare Rūnanga, Waitangi Treaty Grounds
7.30 – 9pm Opening Addresses – Treaty Room 1 – Copthorne Hotel
Rt Revd Te Kitohi Pikaahu – “Te Hari o Ngāpuhi – The Joy of Ngāpuhi”
Rt Revd Muru Walters – “Waitangi – Reflecting Waters”

Wednesday 28 November 2012

8.45 – 9am Opening – Karakia
9 – 10.30am First Session
1. Rev Dr Allan Davidson – “Early Protestant Missionary Beginnings in New Zealand Through Different Lenses” (9 – 10am)
2. Dr Adrienne Puckey – “The CMS-LMS connections, 1795 – 1835″
11am – 12.30pm Second Session
3. Dr Peter Bolt – “The Boyd Set Back to Marsden’s Mission: a View from NSW”
4. Rev David Pettett – “Marsden’s Sermon – Christmas Day 1814 – What did he say?”
5. Associate Professor Manuka Henare – “Hongi Hika and his encounter with the Gospel, 1800 – 1827″
1.30 – 3pm Third Session
6. Revd Chris Honoré – “John Gare Butler and Māori – Mission relationships, 1820 – 1823″
7. Professor Malcolm Prentis – “A thirst for useful knowledge: Samuel Marsden’s Māori Seminary at Parramatta, 1815 – 1827″
8. Revd Malcom Falloon – “Christian Rangi: A Brand Plucked from the Burning?”
3.30 – 4.30pm Fourth Session
9. Judith Ward – “Papahurihia: A Syncretistic Religion or a Seasonal Rite?”
10. Dr Hazel Petrie – “Body or Soul? Redeeming Māori War Captives”
4.30 – 5pm Response and Discussion
7.30 – 9pm Fifth Session
11. Dr Angela Middleton and Associate Professor Ian Smith – “Archaeology and daily life at Hohi (Oihi Mission) Bay of Islands” (7.30 – 8.30pm)
12. Vivien Caughley – “Women’s Marks: The King Family Samplers 1814 – 1855″

Thursday 29 November 2012

8.45 – 9am Opening – Karakia
9 – 10.30am Sixth Session
13. Dr Bryan Gilling (and Katherine Porter) – “Te Wiremu and Te Tiriti: Henry Williams and New Zealand’s Formative Documents”
14. Revd Hirini Kaa – “The Gospel according to Ngāti Porou: deconstructing the Māori-Missionary Myth”
15. Dr Moeawa Callaghan – “The Wairoa District – Tangata Whenua and James Hamlin”
11am – 12.30pm Seventh Session
16. Revd Wayne Te Kaawa – “‘Do not turn a deaf ear to the cry of these Islands': John Macfarlane and Māori, 1840 – 1844″
17. Professor David Williams – “‘The Maoris were pleased with that proposition because the word came from the Bishop’ (background to the proposed Trinity College at Porirua and Parata v Bishop of Wellington (1877))”
18. Revd Earle Howe – “‘Moral Influence’ in Early Racial Interaction in New Zealand”
1.30 – 3pm Eighth Session
19. Revd Ren Kempthorne – “Te Waipounamu, the Island of Peace”
20. Dr Geoff Troughton – “Missionaries and the peace tradition in New Zealand”
21. Associate Professor John Stenhouse – “Te Harawira, humanitarian Christianity and New Zealand racial politics, 1839 – 1865″
3.30 – 4.30pm Response and Discussion
4.30 – 5pm Poroporoaki

For two reports about the conference go to:


Publishing the Conference Papers

An editorial group (consisting of Allan Davidson (Convenor), Stuart Lange, Adrienne Puckey and Peter Wensor) has been appointed to publish a collection of papers given to the conference. It is planned to have this volume available in 2014.