Heritage New Zealand, Kerikeri 0230, Northland, New Zealand
The Stone Store was New Zealand’s first architectural white elephant. Modelled, like the adjacent mission house, on Samuel Marsden’s establishment at Parramatta, in Sydney, the store testifies to the determination of Church Missionary Society (CMS) catechist, storekeeper and blacksmith James Kemp and his wife Charlotte not to leave their comfortable nest at Kerikeri to further the work of the Society. They had arrived in 1819 and would linger here long after there was anyone to preach to, quietly laying up treasure on earth.
The building’s impossible location, up a shallow creek and far from the shifting frontier of missionary endeavour, arose from infighting between the CMS’s Kerikeri and Paihia factions. ‘You may ask why, then, did we go to so great an expense in the erection of a building which is now condemned by the collected wisdom in New Zealand’, CMS leader Henry Williams wrote to his superior in 1835. He knew very well why. Marsden feared that whalers and traders would have more pulling power than preachers and backed Kemp precisely because this warehouse was far from temptation. Unfortunately it was also unhandily far from the seagoing ships needed to transport goods to and from its expensive door.
Epic New Zealand Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound