Introduction

… it being Christmas Day, I preached from the second chapter of St Luke’s Gospel, the tenth verse: “Behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy.”
From Samuel Marsden’s account of Christmas Day 1814 at Oihi, Bay of Islands

Christian beginnings in New Zealand are associated with the engagement of Ruatara, Hongi Hika and other Māori leaders and local iwi, with the Reverend Samuel Marsden, missionaries and their families from the Anglican Church Missionary Society. The bicentenary of those beginnings in 2014 marks significant foundational developments for New Zealand:

  • the developing relationships between Māori and Pākehā
  • starting points for the missionary outreach of church
  • the first Pākehā settlement
  • the birth of the first Pākehā children in New Zealand
  • the first formal school and early attempts at Māori literacy

The 2014 gospel bicentenary provides an opportunity to review our past; to commemorate people and events that helped shape our churches and country; and to look forward to building on the strengths of what has gone before.