"A historic building or statue perhaps? Find something that tells a story from your town's history. Tell us a little about it. "
New Zealand is a young country, being the last large landmass (and it's not all that large) to be discovered by explorers - first by Maori (around 700 years ago) and then by Europeans. It was a while between when Abel Tasman sailed past in 1642 and the first European settlers arrived.
The First Wesleyan Mission in New Zealand was built in 1827, when residents of New York could already attend the ballet (Deserter) and the free spirits in New Orleans were planning their first Mardi Gras. That mission burned down and a second mission station was established in a different location, at Mangungu, and a house built in 1838-39 for the head of the Methodist Mission in NZ. In 1840 this mission was the venue for 70 Maori chiefs to add their assent to the Treaty of Waitangi (a treaty between the British Crown and various Maori chiefs, bringing NZ into the British Empire) before a crowd of between 2,000 and 3,00o people - obviously the north was not as sparsely populated as it is today. And no-one was counting. More chiefs signed at Mangungu than at any other place in New Zealand. We celebrate Waitangi Day on 6 February when the first signing took place at Waitangi. On the other side of the world, Queen Victoria married on 10 February in Chapel Royal in St James' Palace, London and back here the Mangungu signing took place on 12th.
Following the Northern War (1845-46) Maori lost interest in missionary work and the house was transported by boat to Auckland where it became a Methodist parsonage for nearly 70 years (during which time a chimney and upper rooms were added). It was then sold and used as a private dwelling until the Hokianga Historical Society purchased it in 1968 and returned it to Mangungu and placed it close to what was thought to be its original location. A drawing by the ten year old daughter of John Hobbs (who acted as interpreter at the treaty signing) shows the house and other buildings on a flat area below where it now sits. Recent archaeological monitoring of a cable trench dug at Mangungu Mission has confirmed the accuracy of the drawing, as well as some assumptions about the missionary village.
A more recently added church sits below the mission house with its harbour view.
I wonder what men find interesting about historic buildings? Probably not what I did. The books which I did not dare touch for fear they would fall to pieces. (There was probably a sign telling me not to anyway but I tend to not notice them.)
The furnishings. (I'd love to get my hands on that!)
To see what the rest of the Friday Shoot Out team have found on this topic, just pop over here. I have to admit this historic place is not on my doorstep - but I could be there in a few hours.
(For some reason my Preview button is not working, so I hope this isn't all over the place.)