February 06, 2014
Mission life revealed in fragments
Archaeologists are ready to share the results of their two year research project into New Zealand’s first permanent European settlement.
A team from Otago University’s department of anthropology and archaeology has been unearthing the site at Hohi or Oihi on the Bay of Islands where the Church Mission Society established a school in 1814.
Associate Professor Ian Smith will give a public lecture on the fieldwork at Kingston House in Kerikeri on Sunday.
He says the excavations uncovered significant archaeological features that have added to understanding of the Hohi mission and the people who lived and worked there … as well as those who were impacted by the mission.
The missionaries including Thomas Kendall were placed at the now-remote spot by the chief Ruatara, who wanted them close to his pa.
"They were there of course trying to Christianise the Maori but for the Maori they were a source of imported goods. They were also a source of learning about writing, about making European tools, growing European crops, so there were good reasons for both sides in this initial engagement, but it was very much about the missionaries being brought into the Maori world," Dr Smith say .
The work of the archaeologists will help with the presentation of the mission story during the 200 year anniversary ceremonies later this year.
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