Māngungu Mission. © Grant Sheehan

Tohu Whenua: Māngungu Mission


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If it’s a serene setting with a slice of Kiwi history that you’re after, make sure Māngungu Mission is on your Te Tai Tokerau Northland touring list. 

Māngungu Mission was established in 1828 as New Zealand’s second Wesleyan Mission station, and features a mission house, small cemetery with the gravestones of well-known pioneers and a huge lawn for picnics with a view. These days Māngungu Mission is also the start of the 87km Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail.

The humble little mission house that overlooks Hokianga Harbour has a turbulent past. Just a year after it was constructed it became the site of the country’s largest signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on 12 February 1840. It must have been a phenomenal experience for Governor William Hobson to stand on the veranda and see a huge flotilla of waka carrying over 70 local chiefs coming up the harbour. They were accompanied by a crowd of no less than 3,000 people to witness the lengthy discussions. A copy of the original Treaty document with its many signatures can still be seen when you tour the house.

Later that year, the mission house became the home of Reverend John Hobbs and his family. It was then moved to Auckland to be used as a Methodist parsonage, sold to private owners and eventually transported back to Māngungu in the 1970s.

Māngungu’s other claim to fame is that it’s the likely spot where the honey bee was first introduced to New Zealand from Europe. Mary Bumby, the sister of a Methodist missionary, brought two hives ashore here when she landed in March 1839.

Māngungu Mission is recognised as a Tohu Whenua, Aotearoa New Zealand’s most treasured heritage places. It’s proudly cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. Opening times to view the mission house from the inside are seasonal, so it pays to check before you go.

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