200 Years of Gospel in New Zealand

In December 2014, the Anglican church celebrates the sesquicentennial of Samuel Marsden’s first sermon preached at Oihi, Bay of Islands.

The 2014 gospel bicentenary provides us with an opportunity to remember, review and celebrate our past; to commemorate people and events that have helped to shape our churches and country into what it is today; and to look forward to building on the strengths of what has gone before.

On 25 December 1814 Samuel Marsden preached the first sermon in New Zealand just above Oihi Beach.
For more information on the history of the Anglican Church in New Zealand go to the 'Our History' page

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 Anglican church, working with ecumenical partners, is planning celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of this important event that helped shape our nation,
As part of a heritage project an "Interpretive Centre" is being built on a ridge above Oihi Bay.
The open sided but roofed structure looks down the valley directly towards the Marsden Cross, about one kilometre away.
It will be the place where arriving visitors pause and orient themselves – and learn the essential outline of the Ruatara-Marsden relationship, and of the lives of the missionary families within a Maori community.
The plan for the future is that visitors will then be able to stroll along a pathway to “The Gathering Place” – a larger, but no less spectacular enclosed structure with a swooping roof, and wide vistas over the Bay of Islands. That space will host open days such as Waitangi Day and New Year’s Day, and special events such as descendants’ days, and there’ll also be a small chapel within.

Commemoration of the Bicentennial and Opening of the Marsden Cross Track
Sunday 21 December 2014
Rangihoua Heritage Park

Commemorative Ecumenical Service of Thanksgiving at Marsden Cross

Thursday 25 December 2014
Marsden Cross, Oihi Bay

To download a pdf poster outlining the events click here.

Gospel Bicentenary 2014 Website. The Bicentenary Planning Group has set up a website that allows you to track things as they develop. It can be found at www.gospel2014.org

A pilgrimage resource to the historical sites in the Bay of Islands is available for individuals or groups to use. It has been prepared by the Rev'd Sarah Park and originates from a Tikanga Pakeha context and should be read as such, Both a pdf version and a word document version are available for download.

John Kinder Theological Library Blog. This blog makes available some of the content that is regularly turned up in research for clients as well as the librarians own contributions. It can be found at jktlibrary.wordpress.com.