First Christmas service in New Zealand
Christmas is a very significant time in our history – for it was on Christmas Day 1814 that the Christian message came to the shores of Aotearoa and was woven into our country’s story. In response to an invitation from local chief, Ruatara, Reverend Samuel Marsden of the Church Mission Society, arrived in Rangihoua to lead Aotearoa’s first Christmas service. The congregation was made up of hundreds of local Ngāpuhi and members of the mission party. Marsden read from Luke 2:10 –"Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."