Anglican General Synod

Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

Te Hahi Mihinare ki Aotearoa ki Niu Tireni, ki Nga Moutere o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa

2014 Bicentenary of Samuel Marsden's first Sermon with Ruatara in Oihi Bay, Bay of Islands

The Anglican Church, working with ecumenical partners, planned extensive 2014 celebrations including a National Civic Commemoration on Sunday December 21, and an Ecumenical Christmas Day Service on Dec 25 (see liturgy below), to mark the 200th anniversary of the first church service held in New Zealand, held by Reverend Samuel Marsden at Oihi Bay on 25 December 1814.

They set up a website where you could see the plans as they developed; see

An information brochure about these Events is here:

Print version of brochure

Print brochure 5.63 MB

See more at:


The Christmas Day Bicentenary Service DVD:

We now have available the DVD of the Christmas Day 2014 Bicentenary Service at Oihi Bay.

‘A Very Special Christmas – a bicentenary ecumenical service of thanksgiving’

As broadcast live on TVNZ on Christmas Day 2014.

Just $10 each (post included) it comes in an attractive colour cover (as attached),

and the first 200 copies receive a copy of the service booklet,

and the ecumenical ‘statement for the gospel bicentenary’.

Orders to Anglican General Synod Office,


PO Box 87188 Meadowbank Auckland

Cheques payable to ‘Anglican Church General Synod’.

See here for excerpts:

Christmas Day Liturgy and Prayers (for use elsewhere if helpful)


A contextualised Bicentenary Christmas Play - offered by St Georges Parish Gate Pa, Tauranga - created by Margaret Mollison.


Auckland Museum Exhibition:

Towards a Nation 852.04 kB


An Exhibition - Whakapono: Faith and Foundations Exhibition - the Hocken Library in Te Tai Tokerau


The Reverend Sarah Park has prepared a pilgrimage resource to the historical sites in the Bay of Islands.

This is now loaded on to the Auckland Diocesan website, and can be downloaded as either a Word document (for copying and pasting) or PDF.

You’ll find it under Latest News. Here’s the link:

This resource is available for individuals or groups to use. Please feel free to share this with any who might wish to use it.


In response to Rev'd Marsden's 1814 Sermon:

"Te Hari a Ngāpuhi" – The Dance (of Joy) of Ngāpuhi, where the korero starts at approximately 1:15 - 2.00.

Here are the words:

Ka nukunuku, ka nekeneke;

Ka nukunuku, ka nekeneke,

Titiro ki nga wai o Tokerau e hora nei me he Pipiwharauroa ki tua,

Takoto te pai! Takoto te pai!

Whiti whiti, tata tata! Whiti whiti, tata tata!

He ra taua ki tua,

Takoto te pai! Takoto te pai!


The General Synod/ Te Hinota Whanui 2014 held the following service at Oihi Bay 12 May 2014:


The Centenary Report of 1914:

Marsden Cross comes to life...


Until early last month, Oihi, tucked into the north-eastern edge of Northland’s Bay of Islands, looked more like a rough paddock than the site of New Zealand’s first European settlement.

Oihi Mission Station is also the site of New Zealand's first Christian mission station. Now known as Marsden Cross, the station was set up through the efforts of Reverend Samuel Marsden and Ruatara Chief of Rangihoua pa. Marsden preached New Zealand's first Christian sermon here on Christmas morning, 1814, which marked the beginning of New Zealand's first established European community.

Excavation site with Rangihoua Pa in the background. Photo by Ian Smith, University of Otago

A joint archaeology project between DOC’s Bay of Islands office and the University of Otago has begun to uncover what it would have been like to live in New Zealand’s first European Mission Station. Andrew Blanshard, Bay of Islands Area archaeologist, says, "Hopefully by the end of this project we will have a much clearer understanding of how New Zealand's first settlers lived 198 years ago."

According to Andrew, "This joint project has been driven by several factors including the two hundredth anniversary of the mission’s settlement in 2014, as well as a renewed interest from the descendants of these settlers, local tangata whenua, the Combined Anglican Churches and the Marsden Cross Trust Board."

The crew hard at work – practically every square metre had something of interest in it. Photo by Ian Smith

Andrew says, "To date, we have found a large number of artefacts, including musket balls, broken ceramics, lots of nails, and broken window and bottle glass. There have been some wonderful finds including a beautiful bronze bracelet, a toy cannon (possibly made by the mission’s blacksmith for his child), and a profusion of slate pencils, which is leading us to suspect that we may have found the site of New Zealand’s very first school!"

A toy cannon. Photo by Ian Smith, University of Otago

You can keep up-to-date with the dig online, and check out more images in the photo gallery on Flickr.

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It is our hope that the information contained here will enable Anglicans and others to be informed of the ministry of this Church. The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, is a constitutionally autonomous member of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia encompasses the area described by its title. The 1992 Constitution of this Church provides for three partners to order their affairs within their own cultural context. Within Aotearoa New Zealand, Tikanga Pakeha comprises seven Dioceses, Tikanga Maori comprises five Amorangi, the boundaries of which differ from those of the dioceses. Tikanga Pasefika encompasses Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands, and is known as the Diocese of Polynesia. Publication: 'Anglican Taonga' (Treasure) is a publication affirming the unity and diversity of the Anglican community in these islands. .

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