“New app tells stories behind our Path to Nationhood” Heritage New Zealand Media Release (19.11.2015)

Heritage_New Zealand_logo"A new free app for smartphones and tablets telling stories about one of the most dynamic and colourful periods of New Zealand’s history ..."
"....The six app-based tours of Northland – Path to Nationhood – look at some of our earliest events in history when Maori and Pakeha first met before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, ..."

The Media Release is as follows:


Heritage_New Zealand_logo



November 19




New app tells stories behind our Path to Nationhood


A new free app for smartphones and tablets telling stories about one of the most dynamic and colourful periods of New Zealand’s history is being launched today.

The six app-based tours of Northland – Path to Nationhood – look at some of our earliest events in history when Maori and Pakeha first met before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, and follows on from the Waikato War Driving Tour app, completed in partnership with Waikato Tainui Iwi to mark the 150th commemoration of the start of the Waikato Land Wars

Developed by Heritage New Zealand and My Tours, the Path to Nationhood app can be used anywhere once downloaded – whether people are on tour, at home or even at school. The tours take them to places where stories about mana, kidnappings, shootings, rough justice, mistaken identity, high politics, missionaries – and even New Zealand’s first dairy farmer – occurred.

“The App is like seeing history through new eyes. The trails enable people to tour sites in Northland where some of New Zealand’s earliest historical events occurred during one of the most frenetic and fascinating periods of our history – events that ultimately led to the establishment of a nation like no other,” says Heritage New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Bruce Chapman.

As well as big moments in our history – like the signing of He Whakaputanga [the Declaration of Independence] and the 1831 letter to King William IV signed by 13 rangatira – the tours also tell stories of lesser known people and events.

Stories include the kidnapping of Tuki and Huru – two young rangatira who were taken against their will to Norfolk Island where they were expected to teach convicts flax-weaving. Being young rangatira – and men – they knew very little about working flax, which was traditionally women’s work. Embarrassed, Governor Philip King personally ensured that the two rangatira were returned safely home.

There are also some more light-hearted stories, but serious at the time. Stories like missionary Hannah King who – down to her last thimble – saw her worst nightmare come true when the family’s sole remaining turkey devoured her thimble after she dropped it. Facing the prospect of not being able to mend clothes, and with supplies long overdue from Sydney, Hannah grasped the turkey in one hand, made a neat slot in its crop, retrieved the thimble and then stitched up the greedy bird with her trusty needle and thread.

“The app tours contain a really great collection of remarkable stories that cleverly convey a sense of wild frontier, which was the reality of life in New Zealand at that time,” says Mr Chapman.

“The tours make this incredible period of our history come alive, and tell these stories in an engaging and accessible way. Many of the stories centre around some of our fantastic Heritage Destinations in Northland, so people can actually visit places where many of these people lived, and events took place.”

Written and researched by former Heritage New Zealand staff member Stuart Park, with Professor Manuka Henare and his team at the University of Auckland School of Business providing a Maori cultural and historical perspective, the tours incorporate audio using actors like Tui Ruwhiu and Michael Hurst, as well as sound effects that bring the stories to life.

A built-in share function also allows people using the app to take a selfie on the road and share it with friends, family and fellow travellers as mobile connectivity allows.

“We’re sure people will really love the experience of taking these tours and hearing the stories – and if people can’t get to Northland to see the places first hand, they can still download the app and enjoy the stories anywhere they happen to be,” says Mr Chapman.

“We’re proud to be able to offer these high quality app tours free of charge.”

For a free download of the Path to Nationhood suite of Northland tours visit heritage.org.nz/apps or search for Heritage Trails through your online app store.

Media Contact: John O’Hare, Ph 09-407-0481 or 027-274-4217



  • The six Path to Nationhood app-based tours are available through Heritage New Zealand’s free Heritage Trails app – to download: heritage.org.nz/apps
  • There are five land-based tours and one sea-based tour covering the Bay of Islands and the Hokianga.
  • The tours work for both Android and Apple format smartphones and tablets, and include useful trip advice and additional information for further reading for people hooked on learning more about this period of history.
  • The Path to Nationhood suite of tours include:
  • Path to Nationhood
  • On a Mission
  • From the Sea
  • Coasting North
  • To the West
  • Twin Coast Discovery
  • The tours look at the contact and interaction between Maori and a diverse group of Pakeha who arrived in New Zealand – including missionaries, whalers, traders, vagabonds, soldiers, governors, land-grabbers, politicians, gentle-folk and even a few Aussie convicts.
  • This contact and interaction ultimately led to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, and the path to nationhood.
  • Key moments in history are incorporated in the tours – including the 1831 letter to King William IV, which was signed by 13 Northland Rangatira who petitioned the king for help to protect their land against colonisation by the French, and to bring order to lawless settlers – among other things.
  • The signing of He Whakaputanga [the Declaration of Independence] in 1835 is also included along with the story of enterprising rangatira Ruatara whose chiefly mana enabled Samuel Marsden to establish the first Christian mission at Hohi in the Bay of Islands in 1814. The bicentennial of Marsden’s Christmas sermon will be celebrated on-site at Hohi on Christmas Day this year.


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