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Rangihoua Heritage Park – A virtual tour of a sacred land

March 28 2024

The Landing is a place rich in history and surrounded by sites of national significance. One of these sites is the neighbouring Rangihoua Heritage Park.

The pathways that mark Rangihoua were walked by Maori for centuries, and then by the first Pakeha missionary settlers, who landed in 1814. The unrest that followed, and which defines New Zealand’s history books, didn’t seem possible at that moment on this land. This was a unique time – a time when Maori and Pakeha forged partnerships in the spirit of co-operation and hope. Each saw, in the other, new opportunities to be explored. Long-term harmony, and good will, seemed like real prospects.

The land here is charged with the stories of that time and of two very different cultures learning to live together. A significant moment happened when New Zealand’s very first Christmas Day was celebrated in 1814. The country’s first Christian service was delivered, led by missionary Samuel Marsden and witnessed by Maori who lived in the adjacent pa. The spot the service took place is now marked by the Marsden Cross memorial, erected 100 years later.

Rangihoua Heritage Park was established by the Marsden Cross Trust Board, together with its partners Ngati Torehina, the Rangihoua Native Reserve Board and the Department of Conservation. The prime objective of the site is to inform and educate the people of New Zealand and visitors from abroad of the significance of Rangihoua and the events of 1814 and the years that followed. The Park was officially opened in December 2014, 200 years after that historic service and The Landing contributes to the care of the site in various ways. Rangihoua Heritage Park remains a site considered sacred to The Landing’s residents and visitors; a site that helps create the spirit of our own.

Rangihoua Heritage Park’s website features a fascinating interactive tour which shares the history and current-day beauty of the park.