The Church Missionary Society in Paihia 200 years on
Opens 16 December
This exhibition seeks to understand the motivations, obstacles, and legacy of the Church Missionary Society’s (CMS) local impact in the lead up to the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Paihia Mission. Through taonga and keepsakes passed down through generations of descendants, the exhibition delves into a period of our history characterised by rapid change and conflict.
Conversion of Māori to Christianity and the rise in evangelisation by the CMS was matched by the rise in engagement with European technologies, ideas, and concepts by Tangata Whenua. This irrevocably transformed the cultural and physical environment of Aotearoa New Zealand.
After 17 years of the Mission in Paihia, a treaty between the British Crown and Tangata Whenua was proposed, which left representatives of the church in an uncomfortable place: Henry Williams, the leader of the Paihia Mission, was chosen to translate the Treaty of Waitangi. This translation leaves a legacy of conjecture and debate about his intent and purpose.
Top: ''Paihia Church March 1860' by T.B. Hutton