New Zealand’s second oldest building, Te Waimate Mission, preserves farming history as well as stories of important early encounters between Māori and Europeans.
Established to instruct Māori in European farming techniques and built in 1832 under the direction of the Reverend Samuel Marsden and using local Māori labour, the Mission House is very well preserved and is fascinating to visit.In 1835 Te Waimate was visited by Charles Darwin who waxed lyrical over Te Waimate’s “English farm house and its well-dressed fields, placed there as if by an enchanter’s wand”.
Te Waimate’s role in fostering Māori-Pākehā relations is particularly significant. In February 1840, the Mission House hosted the second signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document.
The spacious grounds are perfect for a picnic or an archaeological trail will take you to see New Zealand’s oldest oak tree, nearly 190 years old. The neighbouring historic church and graveyard provide a moving reminder of all those who fell in the Northern Wars.