Updated: Feb 9, 2021
My family had a wonderful Northland holiday in January.
Apart from being warm in the Bay of Islands, it was really interesting to learn some NZ history about early European settler contact with Maori from about 1800. Missionaries established mission stations from which to share their lives and message with local Maori. The first was started by Samuel Marsden and three families who came ashore at Oihi Bay. This led to the preaching of the Christian message on Christmas day 1814, presumed to be for the first time, commemorated now by the Marsden Cross.
It’s easy to romanticise early mission. What we don’t see is… the three month sailing boat trip from Britain; the ignorance about what they were coming to; saying goodbye to loved ones forever; a temporary leaky raupo bulrush shelter for 18 months; no Mitre 10 building supplies; no electricity, treated water, sanitation, doctors, dentists, telephone or internet; hunger while waiting for garden food to ripen; an inability to communicate without Maori language on arrival; children born, died and buried on site; and conflict between the mission families.
I found this all very challenging… so much effort, so many struggles and so few results for years. The missionaries shifted home and continent for God’s kingdom… not for social status, lifestyle or capital gain. Because of their hardships and toil, we worship today.
Mission sometimes requires a one way ticket.