RETURN TO MANGUNGU
The signing of the Treaty of Waitangi at Mangungu, 11-14 February, 1840
The Church and the Treaty today
A sign to the Church
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MANGUNGU
Mangungu was the site for the second gathering of chiefs to consider the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi1. On 12 February 1840 the largest number to sign, penned their signatures to the Treaty at this historic site - the Mangungu Mission Station.
Situated 20 kilometres west of Kaikohe, the site of the former national headquarters of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in New Zealand is marked by the mission house, built in 1838-39, and the cemetery.
The origins of the mission can be traced back to the visit of the Rev. Samuel Leigh in 1819 and his later commencement of a Methodist mission at Keao. This station was eventually abandoned and reestablished at Mangungu.
After much hard work, an evangelistic breakthrough came in 1831 with the baptism of Hika, a young Maori man. During the 1830's the Mangungu Mission Station became an important religious, educational and social centre, with a large timber church capable of seating upwards of five hundred people.
However, by the 1850's, with the Maori population changes and the decline of the timber industry, the mission headquarters were transferred to Auckland. Mangungu was closed and in 1855 the mission house was shifted to Onehunga. There it remained until 1972, when it was returned to its original site and restored.
To commemorate the signing of the Treaty on this historic site, a special bicultural service - sponsored jointly by the Northland District Council and the Tai Tokerau Circuit, was held on 24 March 1990. Addresses given over that weekend emphasized the importance of the Treaty for all New Zealanders and recognised the important role of Mangungu, the missionaries and converts in our early history.
This publication is offered to the Church to help increase awareness of the significance, both of the site and events. It is hoped to publish in the future, a fuller account of the story of Mangungu, for it stands as one of the most honoured sites of early Methodist history.