Marsden Cross Tours

Marsden Cross, the place where Samuel Marsden preached the first evangelistic sermon in New Zealand on Christmas morning 1814, is only 15 minutes by boat from Oke Bay Lodge.

When you visit this immensely significant site, you are in for a rich blend of history and scenery!

ship and beach image

The painting above shows Marsden’s ship Active anchored in Oihi Bay.

first sermon

It was at Oihi Bay that he conducted on shore the first Christian service to be held in New Zealand.

A monument commemorating the event (Marsden Cross) rises above the beach.

The stoic little group from the Church Missionary Society took almost two decades to convert a single Maori.

There are only two ways to get to Marsden Cross – by boat, or by road.


By boat from Oke Bay Lodge is 15 minutes and on the way you’ll pass the many beautiful islands which dot the entrance to the Bay of Islands.

You’ll love the 15 minute trip across the water!


When we arrive, you’ll be served refreshments and food, and given a commentary on the site’s significance and history.

You’ll also have time to sit quietly and reflect, if this is what you want.

When you are ready, we’ll take you back to Oke Bay Lodge.


By road you travel to Kerikeri (3 ¼ hours from Auckland), and then there is another 45 minute, 36km drive (a lot of which is unsealed road).

Once you’ve parked your car where the road runs out, you still have another 10 minute walk across private land before you actually get to Oihi Beach.

Cross 1

Marsden’s decision to establish a mission at Oihi would have been influenced not only by its beauty but also by the well-populated pa above the beach. In the picture below, you can see the pa clearly.

picture showing pa siteDepressions formed by their dwellings and gardens are still visible today.

Climb to the top to discover why the pa was ideally located.

The inhabitants could see for miles in all directions.

The heart-thumping view of the Bay of Islands extends all the way out to the end of Cape Brett.

If you remember to bring binoculars you can watch tourist boats drive through the famous hole in the rock at the tip of the Cape.

If your party so desires, we can also take you through the Hole in the Rock as part of your package, before returning you to Oke Bay Lodge for dinner.

For more information on the bicentenary of the gospel coming to New Zealand,  click here

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Author: Julian Batchelor

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