Also known as Kemp House, the Kerikeri Mission House was built in 1821-1822 by the London-based Church Missionary Society, the mission under the protection of Hongi Hika, the most influential Māori leader in the Bay of Islands.
Built for the Reverend John Butler by missionary carpenters and Māori sawyers, the two-storey structure is of simple Georgian design, with a hipped roof and symmetrical façade. The garden, first dug in 1820 and cultivated ever since, recalls the mission period.
Used by other missionaries after Butler left in 1823, the house was occupied by CMS storekeeper and blacksmith James Kemp and his wife Charlotte when the adjacent Stone Store – now the oldest stone building in New Zealand – was built from 1832.
The Kemps continued to live in the house after the mission station folded in 1848, operating a kauri gum business from the Stone Store. The dwelling and gardens passed down through the family until it was gifted to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1974.
The building is significant for its association with buried archaeological deposits and a broader historic landscape that includes nearby buildings, Kororipo pa and natural features. It enjoys high public esteem as a cradle of nationhood, due to its association with early contact between Māori and missionaries.
Kerikeri Mission House (Kemp House) is increasingly delicate, so to help preserve it for others to enjoy into the future, entry is only by guided tour.
Get your Passport to History here at Kerikeri Mission Station, and go on your own voyage of discovery exploring the interconnections and stories of NZHPT's Northland properties.