The Elms Mission House

Tauranga's Heritage in Te Papa

The Elms Mission House | The Elms | Te Papa Tauranga

Welcome to The Elms Mission House. Situated at the northern tip of Te Papa peninsula, a visit to this historical home will give you a feel for the life of a pioneer during the early 20th century. The stunning grounds of this historic mission house are beautiful. Explore and take a rare glimpse – the grounds historic site remains include vintage buildings, serene gardens, and a museum. All sitting amongst now a bustling city.

This traditional English house was organised to be built by Reverend Alfred Nesbit Brown, who came to New Zealand with his first wife Charlotte in 1829 as a missionary for the Church Missionary Society of England. The Elms Mission House was completed in 1847, and is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the Bay of Plenty region.

The property is the last relic of the Te Papa mission, which was established in the southern part of the region. The mission was a major mission station in the early 1830s and ministered to Maori settlements in the area. The former house was acquired by the government in the late 19th century for military settlement.

The Elms Mission House is one of the most important colonial buildings in New Zealand. It is an historic house and is apart of the listed heritage buildings. The Elms Trust has cared for it since its establishment and continues to make improvements to it. The museum is also a great place to learn more about Tauranga’s history. Another historically significant site is the Otamataha Pā (Mission Cemetery)This unique place is well worth the visit. If you’re in the area, try to visit the Elms Mission House. You’ll be glad you did.

The Elms Mission House was founded in 1847 by the Church Missionary Society. Its location was occupied by the Otamataha pa until 1828. They had attacked the mission and occupied the area until a few years later. They were able to settle on the site and built a small estate in the area. The Elms became a symbol of peace in the region. In the 1870s, it was a popular tourist destination and as well as a mission station in the Bay of Plenty of New Zealand.

The Elms is an 1838 late-Georgian Mission House. It was the home of the Rev A N Brown of the Church Missionary Society and was occupied until its closure in 1873. The library was the first free-standing library in New Zealand and still contains many original books. During her stay at The Elms, Celia Brown gathered new seeds for the mission, and the diary was kept for her.

The house is associated with the third New Zealand War. The battle of Gate Pa took place south of the house. The government acquired most of the land and the missions were closed down. After the battle, the government bought the remaining mission land and used it for military settlement. Christina and Brown Johnston lived in the house until 1873. They eventually built a small estate and lived there until their deaths.

This historic landmark has been undergoing renovations. During the restoration process, the museum has a wide variety of exhibits that display the history of the building. It is also a community hub where people can find information about the town’s rich culture. The Raupo hut has been used for centuries by the missionaries. The hut is made of bulrush, a traditional material for building houses in the Maori language.

The Elms is a historic landmark in Tauranga. The Elms was in private ownership from 1873 to 1997. This organization is governed by a Board of Trustees. Its main mission is to protect and promote the historic site. It also helps preserve the site and ensure that it is well maintained. If you visit, make sure to ask questions and explore the area’s past.

There is also a gift shop that sells local crafts. While you are there, take the time to tour the house, enjoy the beautiful gardens, and pick up some great local souvenirs.

The Elms Mission House grounds are open daily, free of charge. As well as the beautiful gardens. Volunteer guides open the house and library to visitors from 9 am to 4 pm daily. There is a small entry fee of $5.00.

Prior history, life before the Mission Station

Before the mission station was built, the site had been occupied by Maori. The site was known as Otamataha pa.

This was the landing spot of ancestral waka, becoming home to a thriving Māori community. However, during the 1820s, a period of inter-tribal warfare ensued as neighbouring tribes armed themselves with muskets and set out to settle old scores.

The pa itself was abandoned. The reason for its abandonment was because the majority of its inhabitants were killed in 1828. The attack on the Otamataha Pa was from Ngāti Maru raiders from the Thames district.

Otamataha Pa was initially visited in the early 1820s by the missionaries from the Bay of Islands. These missionaries were out seeking supplies. The Pa is situated in a commanding position overlooking the harbour entrance and out towards Mauao.

Visiting once again in 1828, missionaries found that the pā had been attacked and the inhabitants killed, taken as slaves or had fled to other settlements. The Otamataha Pa was abandoned and considered tapu (sacred).

Map and Directions for The Elms Mission House

The Elms Image Gallery

Take a look below at some of the oldest buildings in New Zealand. This is a gallery of the local Tauranga landmark, The Elms. A great visit for those interested in the history of Tauranga.

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