The Oldest Buildings in New Zealand are found in Kerikeri Mission Station

New Zealand

Founded in 1819, the Kerikeri Mission Station is home to two of New Zealand’s oldest buildings and offers an interesting bit of the country’s history. It was built 22 years before the Treaty of Waitangi established the relationship between Britain and the indigenous Māori people. Europeans were arriving in increasing numbers, and there was tribal fighting in various areas.

The Kerikeri Mission Station is one of the first places in New Zealand that the Māori invited European settlers to live amongst them. More importantly, it was a European settlement under the protection of local Māori chiefs. In fact, the land was granted to Reverend Samuel Marsden by Nga Puhi chief, Hongi Hika.

Built by both Māori and missionary carpenters, Kemp House is New Zealand’s oldest surviving European building. The nearby Stone Store is the country’s oldest surviving stone building.

Kerikeri Mission Station buildings

Located in the Bay of Islands, the grounds are a picture-perfect spot worth a visit even if you don’t take a tour. The three primary buildings of the Kerikeri Mission Station: Kemp House, Stone Store, and St. James Church, are on the New Zealand Historic Places Trust list.

Kerikeri Stone Store

Built from 1832 -1836, the Stone Store in Kerikeri is New Zealand’s oldest surviving stone building. Originally built as a Missionary Society storage depot, it has been operating as a general store since the 1870s. Today, it is a fun place to look around for an eclectic mix of modern and old, and there is a small museum on the upper floor.

Fabric, knickknacks and other items inside the Stone Store in Kerikeri New Zealand.

Kemp House

Kemp House is the oldest surviving European building in New Zealand. Built as a mission house during 1821-1822, it was occupied originally by missionary George Clarke, and then later by descendants of the Kemp family. In 1974, Ernest Kemp gifted the house and contents to New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Daily guided tours are the only way to enter to the Kemp House. Tours are available at 10.30, 11.30 and 2.15 daily, with an extra 3.30 pm tour during summer months (November to April).

Inside the Kemp House kitchen, the oldest surviving European building in New Zealand Dolls on a kids bed inside a bedroom in the Kemp House, Kerikeri Northland

Kemp House, or mission house,  is the oldest surviving European building in New Zealand.

St. James Church

St James Anglican Church is visible when looking up the hill from the Stone Store. It was built in 1878 and is still in use today. A small graveyard, the resting place for the former Kemp family, sits alongside the church.

St James' Church visible up the hill from the Stone Store in Kerikeri Bay of Islands. Cemetery at St James Anglican Church, Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

St James Anglican Church, at the Kerikeri Mission Station, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Where is Kerikeri New Zealand?

The Kerikeri Mission Station is a 30-minute drive north of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. We stop here when travelling to the Bay of Islands, or as part of a longer itinerary to the top of the North Island.

Kerikeri Mission Station grounds

Situated on the Kerikeri River, the grounds of the mission are lovely, featuring 200-year-old heritage gardens.

View of the Kerikeri River from the footbridge leading to the Stone Store in New Zealand Grounds outside the Kerikeri stone house and mission house in New Zealand

View of stone store from the hill which houses St James Anglican Church, Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Let someone else to do the work with a private tour

If you want to see it all and get the history, a private tour might be just the thing. Klook offers a half-day option for a group of up to four people. Although subject to change due to traffic or weather, the tour will take you to Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Haruru Falls, The Stone Store, Kemp House-Kerikeri Mission Station, Makana Boutique Chocolate Factory, Rainbow Falls, St James Anglican Church, Wharepuke Falls.