Visit the Kerikeri Mission Station where Pakeha missionaries established a settlement under the watchful eye of Ngāpuhi warrior chief, Hongi Hika.
Keen to harness European technology and encourage trade with ships calling into the Bay of Islands, Hongi offered protection to the mission located in the shadow of his pa [hill fort] at Kororipo. In return, the missionaries were allowed to stay, acquire land and attempt to convert Māori to Christianity.
As Hongi Hika’s trade-based economy grew, so did his arsenal of muskets – and so did his power. It was from Kororipo that he and his heavily armed warriors attacked tribes around the North Island, exacting utu [payback] on their enemies and hauling slaves back to their fields. The missionaries – who sometimes felt they were living on a powder keg themselves – watched on in despair and disapproval.
Both Kemp House and the Stone Store are highly charged places where the first major cultural interactions between Māori and Pakeha took place years before the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Trade, land, religion, literacy, politics – all were played out here against a sweeping background of war, personal ambition and hardship.
Kemp House – New Zealand’s oldest building – and the Stone Store are sole survivors of those tempestuous years. Today, visitors can enjoy a tour of the house, and shop for authentic frontier trade goods and classically branded Kiwiana products at the Stone Store, while hearing stories of what happened when these two vastly different cultures first met.