04 Nov, 2019 The First Kiwi Christmas

 The First Kiwi Christmas – a new historical children’s book

A new children’s book, titled The First Kiwi Christmas has been released with the aim of making New Zealand’s early bicultural history more accessible to children.

Targeting 4 to 7 year olds, this little-known story tells of the warm relationship that developed between the Reverend Samuel Marsden and two Ngāpuhi rangatira, Te Pahi and Ruatara. Their relationship led to a remarkable invitation to settle amongst Ruatara’s people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The story describes how just prior to Christmas in 1814 a boat is found riding the waves towards the top of Aotearoa New Zealand. On board are Māori and Europeans – including Ruatara and Samuel Marsden – as well as livestock, wheat and other European goods.

They arrive on the 23rd of December and Ngapuhi Chief Ruatara immediately starts preparing a site for Reverend Samuel Marsden to give his first message. And so, on Sunday December 25th the first kiwi celebration of Christmas takes place in Aotearoa New Zealand, at Northlands Oihi Bay.

Producer Dave Mann and author/researchers Alison Condon and Gina Taggart have previously published a series of fifteen stories called The Chronicles of Paki –NZ’s Untold Story. Targeting the 8 to 12 year old age group the series tells stories from our early bi-cultural history in Aotearoa New Zealand . It highlights outstanding individuals of the time, both men and women, Māori and Pākehā, and incudes a five-book series on Te Tiriti o Waitangi – The Treaty of Waitangi.

The First Kiwi Christmas – which is beautifully illustrated by Eddie Booth, is the authors’ first historical story for the younger age group.

The use of rhyme and the delightful illustrations will engage children as they join in this adventure.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed the process of making our rich history available to the younger generations of Aotearoa New Zealand’, say the authors, Alison and Gina.

To find out more about The First Kiwi Christmas, visit www.bigbook.nz.



“’The First Kiwi Christmas’ is intended for a younger audience. It is written with our children in mind. I believe it captures the imagination of young New Zealanders to help them read, discover, learn and reflect on our early Christian history. It invites us all to enter into a past event, be inspired by the life and witness of our ancestors and missionaries alike in their time, and to apply that experience in our life and living today. I am very happy to commend it to you.”

The Rt Rev’d Te Kitohi Pikaahu

Bishop of Tai Tokerau; Marsden Cross Trust Board Member


“It is with very great pleasure that I recommend this beautiful little book, hoping it will help Kiwi children know more about what has made Aotearoa-New Zealand what it is today and give them a thirst to discover more.”

Rev’d Samuel Marsden / Hamuera Matenga

Great, great, great grandson of the Reverend Samuel Marsden (of Port Jackson)


“As one who has researched our nation’s early bicultural story across many years, I heartily endorse this story, which so wonderfully portrays this important yet little-known turning point in our nation’s bicultural journey.”

Patricia Bawden

Author, historian, founder of the Marsden Cross Trust (which manages the Rangihoua Heritage Park at Oihi Bay)

DAVE MANN. Dave is a creative communicator with a vision to see an understanding of the Christian faith continuing, and also being valued, in the public square in Aotearoa-New Zealand. He has innovated numerous conversational resources for churches, and recently coordinated a 5th nationwide multimedia Easter project purposed to help open conversation between church and non-church people about Christianity take place, including regarding the specifically Christian origins of many of our nation’s most treasured values. Dave is the author of various books and booklets including “Because we care”, “That Leaders might last”, “The Elephant in the Room”, and available for free on this site: “The What and How of Youth and Young Adult ministry”. Married  to Heather, they have four young boys and reside in Tauranga, New Zealand.  
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