Te Waimate Mission

New Zealand’s second oldest building, Te Waimate Mission, preserves missionary, farming and architectural history, as well as stories of important early encounters between Māori and Europeans.

Te Waimate Mission House

The once-extensive mission station was established by the London-based Church Missionary Society to instruct Māori in European farming techniques while promoting the Christian way of life. As well as preserving stories of great endeavour, conflict and perseverance, it is a notable early attempt to recreate an English pastoral landscape. It is reached from Kerikeri via one of New Zealand’s first roads.

Built in 1832 under the direction of the Reverend Samuel Marsden and using local Māori labour, the Mission House was erected as a single-storey dwelling of Georgian design. Through its appearance, and genteel features such as a dining room and parlour, the house promoted the idea of Pākehā 'civilization'. Subsequent additions were removed after Te Waimate was purchased by the New Zealand government in 1961.

Very well preserved and featuring period furniture, the house today is fascinating to visit; interpretive displays and artefacts relay a wealth of stories. Te Waimate’s role in fostering Māori-Pākehā relations is particularly significant. In February 1840, the Mission House hosted the second signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document, after it was taken around the country for consideration by different Māori groups.

Another display commemorates the 1835 visit of Charles Darwin who waxed lyrical over Te Waimate’s "English farm house and its well-dressed fields, placed there as if by an enchanter’s wand". 

Outside in the spacious grounds – perfect for a picnic – visitors can explore the grounds, and enjoy the shade of a beautiful oak tree. A lovely church and graveyard alongside provide a moving reminder of all those who fell in the tumultuous Northern Wars. It’s also possible to view valuable relics of the Mission’s flour mill and the Bedggood Blacksmith's Shop.

Come and visit!

Find out about our opening hours and much more here.

Powerful, evocative and striking, Te Waimate offers stories of endeavour, conflict and perseverance.
  • Blacksmith's tools

    Explore the blacksmith shop of Anglican missionary, John Bedggood. Image: Heritage New Zealand

  • Charles Darwin

    Charles Darwin, the famous English naturalist, visited Te Waimate in December 1835.  Image: Heritage New Zealand

  • Te Waimate Mission House

    Visit the site of the second signing of Treaty of Waitangi.  Image: Heritage New Zealand

  • Learn of the life of early settlers

    Learn about the lives of the people who stayed and worked at Te Waimate. Image: Heritage New Zealand

  • First farm

    Te Waimate Mission is the home of New Zealand’s earliest European model farm. Image: Heritage New Zealand