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Bay of Islands, New ZealandKerikeri History

Kerikeri | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History

Kerikeri is an historical village, home to New Zealand's oldest building. Here you will find many places of historical significance.

Kerikeri History Overview

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Historic Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand
Historic Kerikeri, Bay of Islands
Northland
Photographer: Destination Northland
(info@northlandnz.com)

Kerikeri was originally settled by Polynesian immigrants, who came to New Zealand on several large canoes.

In 1642, Dutchman Abel Tasman charted part of the coastline and named it Staten land, believing it was part of the Australian continent. Once his mistake was learned, the land was renamed Nieuw Zeeland.

In 1769, Captain James Cook re-discovered and chartered New Zealand, and gave the Bay of Islands its present name.

Historical Sites

There are many historical sites in Kerikeri, take time to explore them.

Mission House

Built in 1822, Mission House is the oldest wooden structure still standing in New Zealand. The house was built by the Church Missionary Society for Rev. John Butler, (New Zealand's first clergyman).

The much visited and photographed building was renamed to Kemp House in 1832 when the mission blacksmith James Kemp and his wife Charlotte moved in with their family. The house kept this name for more than 100 years, and was then changed back to Mission House.

Today the house is administered and preserved by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Stone Store

Construction of Stone Store began in 1832, making this the oldest stone building in New Zealand. The former storehouse was not actually completed until mid-1836.

The keystone above the door bears the date 1833 and is thought to have been carved by the stonemason William Parrott who cut the Sydney sandstone in situ.

Stone was used to build the store because the missionaries needed a vermin-free, fireproof area for their supplies and provisions. It was also used to provide improved security from local inquisitive Maori.

Today the store is administered and preserved by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Waitangi - Birthplace of a Nation

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Maori carving at the Marae in Waitangi, Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand
Maori Marae, Waitangi
Bay of Islands, Northland
Photographer: Ben Crawford
(www.bencrawford.co.nz)

Waitangi is known as the birthplace of New Zealand, and is located just a short drive from Kerikeri. The British Government sent Captain William Hobson to New Zealand with the mission of acquiring sovereignty of the country by way of a treaty.

This treaty, known as the Treaty of Waitangi, was drawn up between Maori chiefs and the British Crown to create a bi-cultural country of Maori tribes (iwi) and British settlers.

At the same time as establishing British law in New Zealand, the Treaty guaranteed Maori authority over their land and culture.

The treaty was translated and signed by 43 Northland chiefs, followed by over 500 other Maori chiefs in 1840. The Treaty of Waitangi remains central to New Zealand law and society.

With two language versions; Maori and English, written and translated by people with little or no legal know-how, these versions differ to such an extent that there have been problems of interpretation.

For example, in regard to sovereignty the English version states that Maori surrender their 'kawanatanga' (sovereignty) and transfer power to the British Crown while the Maori version implies a sharing of power.

Some may ask which version of the Treaty is the correct one. The answer is both. Since two versions were signed, both are taken into account and regard is given to each document when decisions are being made.

» More Information about Waitangi

» Waitangi Travel Directory

Kerikeri Accommodation

Kerikeri is a popular tourist destination and offers a wide range of accommodation options:

View more Kerikeri Accommodation options.

Useful Kerikeri Links

To help plan your Kerikeri holiday choose from the main categories below:

Kerikeri Region Information

Kerikeri Tourism Operators

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The largest range of escorted & small group tours

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Boutique touring itineraries - designed for you

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Explore NZ on a custom self-drive package holiday

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