Te Waimate mission
History and museums
The Waimate Mission established one of the earliest European settlements in New Zealand, at Waimate North in the Bay of Islands. The members of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) appointed to establish the Waimate Mission were the Rev. William Yate and the lay members of the CMS, Messrs. Richard Davis, George Clarke and James Hamlin.
At the instigation of Samuel Marsden, a model farming village for the Māori was constructed at Te Waimate by the Church Missionary Society. Land was bought from the Ngāpuhi tribe following the Girls' War of 1830.
In 1831, Richard Davis, a farmer and lay member of the Church Missionary Society, established a farm at the Waimate Mission. The first marriage of two Europeans in New Zealand was conducted on 11 October 1831 at the St John the Baptist church, between William Gilbert Puckey (26), son of a Missionary carpenter, William Puckey, and Matilda Elizabeth Davis (17), second daughter of Richard Davis. The existing Church of St John the Baptist was built in 1871.
In 1835 William Williams, Jane and their family move to Waimate, where Williams continued his work on the translation of the Bible into Māori. The boarding school for the sons of the CMS missionaries was also transferred from Paihia to the Waimate Mission. Richard Taylor succeeded William Williams as principal of the Waimate Boys’ School in September 1839.
On 23 & 24 December 1835 Charles Darwin visited when the Beagle spent 10 days in the Bay of Islands.
The village comprised three wooden houses for missionary families, a flour mill, printery, carpenters' shop, brickworks, blacksmith, school and of course the church. Marsden hoped Māori would be educated into European culture while making Waimate Mission a paying proposition by producing goods for sale to European shipping and the local Māori through the Stone Store at Kerikeri. The attempt to impose European culture on Māori in a controlled fashion where those being taught also formed the labour, failed to attract many Māori and the station was gradually run down.
In June 1842 Bishop George Selwyn set up residence at the Waimate Mission. Some buildings were converted for use by St John’s College to teach theology to candidates for ordination into the Anglican Church. In 1844 Bishop Selwyn moved his residence and St John’s College to Auckland. Revd Christopher P. Davies studied for his ordination at St John’s College, when it was located at Waimate.
Henry Williams was installed as Archdeacon of Waimate in 1844.
During the Flagstaff War (1845-1846) casualties of the Battle of Ohaeawai were buried in the church yard of Church of St John the Baptist. The mission station was used as the headquarters for the British army, after which the mission lost support among the Māori. The mission station gradually fell into disrepair and the buildings were subsequently put up for sale.
Today the only remnant on the site is the house originally occupied by George Clarke, which is preserved by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a museum. One of the other houses survives at the Butler Point Whaling Museum.
The members of the Church Missionary Society who were appointed to the Waimate Mission include: