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Christmas Day 2014 will mark the 200th anniversary of Anglican missionary Samuel Marsden proclaiming the Gospel for the first time in New Zealand. Listening were a large gathering of Maori and also Marsden’s followers, the first Europeans to permanently settle in this country. Ngapuhi chief Ruatara translated and the partnership between Pakeha and Maori began.

Well, maybe. Bicentenary celebrations will be held at the site of that first service, underneath the Marsden Cross in Oihi Beach, Northland. Spiritual Outlook producer Justin Gregory and broadcast engineer Colin Pearce hope to broadcast the service live, and they went to Oihi to find out if that’s possible. It was a good opportunity to also reassess the prevailing thinking around this significant event.

Marsden Cross

Photo: Marsden Cross, on the site of what may have been the first Christian Sermon proclaimed in New Zealand. By  Justin Gregory for Radio New Zealand.