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Dr Hocken’s Church Missionary Society Records


This extraordinary collection of records acquired by Dr Hocken from the Church Missionary Society in London contains some of the earliest first hand accounts by English people of the Māori world in early 19th century northernmost New Zealand.

The records document the development of the Anglican mission in the Bay of Islands including Marsden’s first sermon. In describing what they saw and learnt in detail the authors created a rich resource for developing our understanding of New Zealand in the pre-Treaty of Waitangi era. They provide a first-hand account of the Māori world around the Bay of Islands; describing people, places, events, conversations, battles and gatherings, who was important and why, relationships between local iwi and hapū, Māori cultural practices, rituals, religion and arts, Māori horticulture, fishing and foods, and the land and sea, forests and lakes.

The writers also describe their work introducing European agriculture, new plants and animals, teaching reading and writing, how they learnt te reo Māori, the development of early Māori orthography and also their own tiny community’s internal strife, failures and successes as they struggled to live together in a foreign and isolated place.

The documents are written by a variety of people principally Samuel Marsden, Thomas Kendall, William Hall, John King, John Butler, Reverend Henry Williams, James Kemp, Richard Davis, George Clarke, James Hamlin, William Colenso and the CMS officials in London.

Archive Location

Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago, Dunedin

Pages from records


Catalogue Record

Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago, Dunedin


Reference Guide: Missionary Sources at the Hocken Collections