Marsden Cross at Rangihoua Heritage Park
Image: Nick Thompson | Creative Commons



New Zealand's first Christmas: Explore the first planned European settlement where Māori and Europeans learned to live side by side.

The Marsden Cross memorial, erected in 1907, marks where New Zealand's very first Christmas Day was celebrated in 1814. The service was lead by Christian missionary Samuel Marsden and witnessed by Māori who lived in the adjacent pā.

The day marked the start of New Zealand's first European settlement, a situation that was only made possible because of the protection of powerful Chief Ruatara who had an understanding with, and respect for, Samuel Marsden. 

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Tohu Whenua are the places that have shaped Aotearoa New Zealand. Located in stunning landscapes and rich with stories, they offer some of our best heritage experiences.

Find things to do and places to stay Rangihoua Heritage Park


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