History

Marsden’s first Christmas

Samuel Marsden was one of the most influential Europeans in early New Zealand. He brought Christianity and agriculture to the Maori and tried to stop the sale of muskets to them and the trade in tattooed heads. Although he had become interested in Maori by 1805, the Boyd massacre at Whangaroa Harbour (above) in 1809 set European visits to New Zealand back by years. When Marsden eventually arrived here from Australia in 1814, he immediately visited Whangaroa to ascertain what really happened, and made peace among hostile local chiefs. He then continued to the Bay of Islands to preach the first sermon in the country on Christmas Day, 1814.

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