Waitangi cricket match at Te Waimate Mission
Te Waimate Mission will echo to the gentle sound of willow on leather this Waitangi Day.
The mission house at Waimate North – the country’s second oldest building which is now cared for by Heritage New Zealand – will host a fun game of cricket between two local teams in uniform reflecting the times they were playing in. The teams will be celebrating a small part of New Zealand’s cricketing heritage.
“New Zealand’s first recorded game of cricket actually tool place near Paihia in 1832, though Te Waimate certainly rated a very early mention by none other than evolutionist Charles Darwin who visited the mission at Christmas 1835,” says the Manager of Te Waimate Mission, Mita Harris.
“Darwin made a point of recording his observations of a game of cricket played by Maori and Pakeha,” he says.
“These young [Maori] men and boys appeared very merry and good-humoured. In the evening I saw a party of them at cricket: when I thought of the austerity of which the missionaries have been accused, I was amused by observing one of their own sons taking an active part in the game,” wrote Darwin.
“Darwin’s record is a nice reminder that cricket has been part of New Zealand’s culture for a very long time,” says Mita.
“We thought we’d acknowledge that connection with a friendly game of cricket at Te Waimate Mission.”
Te Waimate is the perfect setting for a modern day one-dayer. Established in 1832, the mission was set up to teach English farming practices and convert Maori to Christianity. Part of establishing the model farm involved the Church Mission Society missionaries creating what was effectively a traditional English farming landscape.
“The missionaries were successful up to a point, though the mission floundered after the Northern Wars of 1845,” he says.
“Remnants of the missionaries’ vision survive, however, including New Zealand’s oldest oak tree, which was possibly planted as early as 1831.
“With the traditional Georgian beauty of Te Waimate’s architecture serving as a backdrop, along with the oak tree and other fine specimens of English tres, it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate setting for our cricket match.”
As well as its impeccable cricketing heritage, Te Waimate Mission is also the second location at which the Treaty of Waitangi was signed by rangatira after the February 6 signing at Waitangi, reinforcing Te Waimate Mission’s place in history.
“We’ll be providing a family-friendly event, and we encourage people to bring a picnic and enjoy the day,” says Mita.
“We’ll also be offering free admission to Te Waimate Mission as well as part of our Waitangi Day celebrations.”
For more information on Te Waimate Mission and other Heritage New Zealand properties in Northland – including opening hours – www.visitheritage.org.nz