Liz Bigwood is the Kerikeri Mission Station’s property manager. Names such as Reverend John Butler and James Kemp; significant dates; and the relationship between the mission and Hongi Hika’s Kororipo Pa, flow effortlessly through our conversation.
I was particularly entranced by a wooden cabinet with a brass wheel. Spin the wheel, and a flat screen TV comes to life showing a 3D map and timeline. This ‘magic cupboard’ took me on an archival audiovisual journey around the Bay of Islands and Hokianga.
Kemp’s house, home of early missionaries, was closed during my visit, however, The Pear Tree provided a well crafted coffee. Kelly and I sipped our liquid happiness and looked over the Kerikeri Basin to Kororipo Pa which was once home to Ngapuhi chief Hongi Hika.
Even if you don’t make it up to the Pa site, it’s worth having a wander round to see Samuel Marsden’s pear tree, and the Blacksmith’s shop out the back of the restaurant.