Most of the interest in Kerikeri lies just northeast of the modern town on the Kerikeri Inlet where you'll see the Stone Store, the country's oldest stone building. It was designed by the Wesleyan missionary John Hobbs, and built by Australian convict William Parrott. Behind it is Kemp House known also as the Kerikeri Mission House built about the same time as the store between 1821 and 1822 by the London-based Church Missionary Society.
It was built for the Reverend John Butler by missionary carpenters (though Māori sawed the timber) and the two-story structure is of simple Georgian design, with a hipped roof and symmetrical facade. Garden fans will recognize the garden's design, which has been cultivated since 1820.
Viewers should be able to take from these buildings an idea of how Anglican missionaries attempted to re-create some of what they had left behind. They were invited to Kerikeri by its most famous historical figure, the great Māori chief Hongi Hika. The chief
visited England in 1820, where he was showered with gifts. On his way back to New Zealand, during a stop in Sydney, he traded many of these presents for muskets. Having the advantage of these prized weapons, he set in motion plans to conquer other Māori tribes, enemies of his own Ngapuhi people. The return of his raiding parties over five years, with many slaves and gruesome trophies of conquest, put considerable strain between Hongi Hika and the missionaries. Eventually his warring ways were Hongi's undoing. He was shot in 1827 and died from complications from the wound a year later.
Kerikeri Basin, 246 Kerikeri Rd., 0230, New Zealand