Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Two hundred years of Hope

How much do we Kiwis really know and understand of our nation's history in regards to the first bi-cultural Maori/European connection in Aotearoa/NZ?  I suggest that many of us know very little and many false assumptions are made.  

Christmas Day this year will mark 200 years since Samuel Marsden came from Sydney to Rangihoua in the Bay of Islands, at the invitation of Maori Chief Ruatara, to preach the Gospel of Christ at the first Church Service held in Aotearoa/NZ. This 1814 Christmas Day event marked many beginnings in this nation; the first Mission Station was established there at the invitation of Maori.  It was the first settlement of European families amongst Maori, the first School was built there, the first pastoral farming in NZ, and the first transcription of the Māori language was pioneered there by missionary Thomas Kendall.  Even the first horse in NZ was swum ashore there off Marsden's ship brought from Sydney! 

Our church is enjoying some great resources produced to mark this '200 year Bicentennial of Beginnings'.  We give thanks for the many incredible stories of how the Gospel 'Good News' of Jesus Christ spread throughout Aotearoa, primarily by Maori to other Maori in remarkable ways, before European missionaries were invited to these places.  Our East Coast story mirrors this process, as Taumata-a-Kura brought the Gospel to his Ngati Porou people, after his  release from captivity through the influence on Nga Puhi, of missionary William Williams, then based at Paihia.   

May I on behalf of Gisborne Churches, invite you to celebrate with us, this rich history of the Gospel in our region as we gather together at the House Of Breakthrough Church, Sunday 30 November, 6pm.  This Service will feature a Maori Choir and the launch of a stunning free digital e-book, 'Christianity On The Coast'.

Stewart Patrick
Leader, Mangapapa Church, Gisborne

Printed in the Gisborne Herald 22 November 2014

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