The Bay of Islands was our first port call and one of the highlights of our cruise. For a casual sightseer it had everything – beauty, culture and history. At the spot of the flagpole in 1840 the representatives of the British Crown and the Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi – the Founding Document for the modern country of New Zealand. This historic area is now a national park that features Maori culture and elements of early New Zealand life.
Here’s the first governor’s mansion. The 19th century Australian government was tasked with providing a Georgian home with an 8 column portico – and they didn’t really overdo it. The first New Zealand governor had to make do with a couple of rooms – both for family and official events.
The early missionaries did somewhat better. The Mission House in the settlement of Kerikeri actually predates the Waitangi Treaty and is the oldest house in New Zealand. It was built around 1822, but has been restored to its appearance in 1843. By this time the Missionaries had been replaced by Mr. Kemp – a merchant and gun-runner to the Maori tribe who lived nearby. He was arguably more popular with the chief.
And here is Mr. Kemp’s stone store and warehouse. You needed a more substantial building to keep the guns and ammo secure so this place was built in 1836.
What with some of the Maori running around with muskets and the general lawlessness in the nearby town of Russell, the native chiefs decided it was time to bring in the British Crown to establish law and order. The Treaty of Waitangi was the start of this process.
The Kerikeri River just next to the Mission House is another beautiful spot. Here’s a view from the bridge over the river.
And after a visit to the cradle of New Zealand, we are off to Auckland with a lovely sunset in the background.