Te Tiriti commemorations back at Māngungu Mission
February 29, 2024 | Stories

This is a story from our monthly newsletter, Heritage this Month.

John O’Hare | Hokianga 

A year after Cyclone Gabrielle resulted in the cancellation of the annual Te Tiriti commemorations at Māngungu Mission in the Hokianga, an estimated 400 people made their way to the historic site to mark the 184th anniversary of what was the largest Tiriti signing in Aotearoa New Zealand.  

It was on 12 February 1840, just six days after the first signing of Te Tiriti at Waitangi, that a crowd of around 3,000 northern iwi and hapū members gathered at Māngungu Mission. After considerable debate lasting most of the day, 64 rangatira added their tohu (sign, mark) to the Waitangi sheet in what was the third and largest signing of Te Tiriti. This year people from around the motu joined together at Māngungu Mission, the historic property cared for by our Northland team, to honour the important event.  

The Māngungu Mission House – the heart of Tiriti commemorations which this year included a waka salute.

Alongside hapū and whānau, descendants of Māngungu missionaries John Hobbs and Nathaniel Taylor were present at the 2024 commemorations, as well as a range of speakers including broadcaster Julian Wilcox, veteran protestor, educationalist, and Far North District Councilor Hilda Halkyard-Harawira, Green Party list MP Hūhana Lyndon, and Hokianga hapū spokesperson Dallas King.  

Highlights of the day included haka pōwhiri, mihimihi, speeches in te reo and English regarding the importance of the Hokianga signing and the need to uphold the promises of Te Tiriti, a waka salute and a hākari (feast).

Māngungu Mission has a storied history and the house itself has racked up serious mileage. The Mission was established in 1820 by Reverend William White when this part of the Hokianga was a busy trading post and site of Aotearoa New Zealand’s first shipyard. The simple Georgian building on site was constructed in 1839 to replace an earlier one that was destroyed by fire.  

Following the significant 12 February Te Tiriti signing, the house felt the pull of the rapidly expanding city of Auckland to the south and was dismantled and shipped to Onehunga to serve as parsonage in 1855.   

Returning to its original site in the early 1970s, the mission house was placed under our care and opened to the public in 1977. Having always been a bustling destination, Māngungu Mission continues to draw people to its scenic location to this day – for the history, for the serenity and views, and for the simple humble parlour table on which Te Tiriti was signed providing a very personal and tangible connection to this significant historical moment. 

Māngungu Mission
Te Tai Tokerau | Northland
Find out more about Te Tiriti and the Hokianga with a visit to Māngungu Mission, proudly cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.
Māngungu Mission
Te Tiriti o Waitangi
O'Hare, John (author)

John O'Hare | Communications Advisor
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