Ko Hamuera Matenga toku ingoa
My name is Samuel Marsden.
I bring you greetings from the Marsden family.
Two hundred years ago, my great, great, great grandfather stood on this spot to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
Fifty years ago, my father stood on this spot to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
And today I, Samuel Marsden, stand on this spot to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to New Zealanders of the 21st century.
Ta te mea, he kaikauwhau tenei ahau ki a koutou mo te hari nui, meake puta mai ki te iwi katoa.
(“For behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people.”)
What is te harinui, the great joy?
Two hundred years ago, three men of vision collaborated to bring the good news of great joy, te rongopai o te harinui, to the Maori people.
Men who could see the big picture, and worked to bring about its realisation.
My ancestor Samuel Marsden had long planned to carry out his God-given dream of introducing the good news of Jesus Christ into this country.
It was his vision, his determination and courage, which were matched by those of Te Pahi and Ruatara, which finally culminated in the first known Christian service on New Zealand soil, held on this spot 200 years ago.
Samuel Marsden as an evangelical Christian was passionate about sharing the good news, and saw in the Maori, people who would accept it and benefit from it.
He brought the gospel, the good news, te rongopai, as a koha for the Maori people.
This is what drove him to establish the first permanent Pakeha settlement in this country, and on the land on which we are now holding this anniversary service.
We honour those men today. But also the first Christian missionaries, with their wives with their families who populated the settlement.
I, as a descendent of Samuel Marsden, carry his genes.
And so I have an advantage over most historians, be they British, Kiwi or Aussie.
Because I can feel, from the inside out, rather than looking, as they do, from the outside in what it means to be Samuel Marsden.
And I have that same passion for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of my own generation.
Te Harinui comes from knowing that unconditional love which God has for all his creatures. For you, and for me and for everybody else. Even the person we dislike.
Like the first Samuel Marsden, my prayer, my dream is that Christians of this country will again bring the great joy to the people of this land who so desperately need it.
To share God’s unconditional love with their families, with their friends, and with their neighbours.
Because this is fundamental to the good news, and to bring the great joy, te rongopai o te harinui.
I very happily echo the words of my great, great, great grandfather, which you’ve already heard once today:
“In the above manner, the gospel has been introduced into New Zealand, and I fervently pray that the glory of it may never depart from its inhabitants till time shall be no more.”
Kia tau te rangimarie ki runga i a koutou.
“May peace be upon you all.”