Waitangi was our last stop in New Zealand before the two days at sea on the way back to Sydney, Australia. The area was called the Bay of Islands and was located on the very northern tip of the country.
We chose a shore excursion that included two very historical points of interest. Our first stop was the Kerikeri Mission Station which included both the Mission House (also known as the Kemp House) and the Stone Store. These are the oldest buildings still standing in the country.
These buildings were erected by the Church Missionary Society, an Anglican mission to New Zealand in the 1820’s and 1830’s. The missionaries were invited to stay by the local Maori tribe called the Ngapuhi, who sold 13,000 acres of land to the mission, on which the Mission House (aka the Kemp House) and the Stone Store were built. The Ngapuhi also offered protection to the missionaries from other Maori tribes in exchange for western technology (think muskets).
On the second and third floors of the Stone Store was located a very well organized museum describing and depicting the life and history of the area, including how two sons of Maori chiefs were sent to England to learn about western culture and to allow the English a chance to understand the Maori vocabulary.
I included two pictures of this area on my January 1th Facebook post. The first picture is of the Stone Store and the second is a single flower from the gardens and orchards planted around the Kemp House.
From here we went to the James Busby house which is also know as the Treaty House. Here, the treaty between England and the Maori was signed in 1840. This treaty recognized English governance of the islands but allowed the Maori to retain all of the land and to manage their local affairs. I included a picture of the table where the treaty was signed and a picture of the Maori Temple on the treaty grounds. Yearly celebrations take place at the treaty grounds and Waitangi Day is celebrated in a similar fashion to Independence Day in the United States.
The final picture that I included is that of the ceremonial war canoes (waka taua) the larger of which is 35 meters long and constructed of three giant kauri trees. The two boats pictured are used as part of the annual celebration. The larger canoe takes 76 paddlers to maneuver.
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