Explore the collection at Te Waimate Mission

As well as items befitting a Georgian or early Victorian domestic interior, the collection at Te Waimate contains a large number of items which relate directly to the mission story and to its first inhabitants. The largest proportion of the collection is made up of early books, including 174 books in te reo Māori from the CMS printing press at Paihia.

Bible at Te Waimate Mission
Well-loved - and dating from around 1610.expand/collapse

Many of these books have inscriptions from original members of the Te Waimate Mission, such as William Yate, George Clarke and James Hamlin. Included within inscriptions in the collection is the only book believed to have the signature of Charlotte Kemp; evidence of the missionaries practising Maori and copying moko designs; and the boredom of one Maori convert who wrote, in 1890, ‘I am sick of this sermon!’.  Of the book collection, over 400 works date to pre-1850.

Other pieces speak of the relationship between the mission and local hapu. The collection holds five land deeds between Maori and Pakeha, two of which are in te reo, with moko signatures.

The other largest grouping of items in the collection bears witness to the mission’s construction, and its role as a model farm; being carpentry and agricultural tools.  The Bedggood (Paremata) water mill which was retrieved through archaeological excavation has also been accessioned into the collection.  

The Bible

This Bible (pictured) held at Te Waimate Mission is an unusual piece in its own right, a Geneva version dated as similar in typeface to those of around 1610.

But perhaps more fascinating are the legends that have grown up around this Bible.  All pages before 210 and after 382 are missing, and the remaining pages are torn, curled and scorched.  It's possible that this was held in the Bedggood House at Waimate when it was burnt down in 1845 during occupation by British Forces during the Northern Wars of this period.

It has been suggested that soldiers may have torn pages from the book to make fire lighters, though it is unlikely that they would have had such scant respect for a bible.

The Bible may have been rescued by local Maori who gave it back to the Bedggoods when they returned to Waimate.

Please note that due to conservation reasons not all objects may be on public display at any one time. If you are interested in viewing an item, please contact the Property Manager.  

Heritage New Zealand manages its collection of historic objects in its properties from a central database.  You can find out more about the how the Heritage New Zealand collection is managed, including donating items on this website.

To see further highlights from the collection online, search for Te Waimate Mission House at New Zealand Museums

Paul Taylor of Spiral Path Book Studio demonstrates some of the techniques involved in book restoration and conservation of rare historic books from Te Waimate Mission.