Here are some excerpts from Wikipedia that show how important tourism is to Kerikeri, New Zealand.
Kerikeri, the largest town in Northland New Zealand, is a popular tourist destination about three hours drive north of Auckland, and 80 km north of the northern region’s largest city, Whangarei. It is often called the Cradle of the Nation, being the site of the first permanent mission station in the country, and it has some of the most historic buildings in the country.
The local Kerikeri slogan is “It’s So Nice They Named It Twice”. In the early 1980s, an anonymous backpacker wrote those words in the Visitors’ Bok at the Kerikeri Youth Hostel. It was brought to the attention of the then editor of the local newspaper, the Kerikeri Chronicle, who gave it publicity, and it quickly became adopted as a quasi-official slogan. Kerikeri is a former winner of the “New Zealand’s Top Small Town” title bestowed annually by North and South magazine, and this has since been the main focus of most tourism marketing of the town.
Historic Sites in Kerikeri
Mission House, Kerikeri
Originally called the Mission House, and then for more than 100 years Kemp House, but now again called Mission House, this is the oldest wooden structure still standing in New Zealand. A much visited and photographed building, it is administered along with the Stone Store (see below) by Heritage New Zealand.
It was built by the Church Missionary Society for the Rev John Butler (New Zealand’s first clergyman) who became the first occupant in 1822, but only for a short while. There was a succession of occupants until 1832 when the mission blacksmith James Kemp and his wife Charlotte moved in with their family.
The Kemps acquired ownership of the house and surrounding land in 1859 by trading land they owned at nearby Kororipo Point. From then on the Mission House became Kemp House and it remained in the Kemp family until 1976 when it was given to the Nation by Ernest Kemp, a great grandson of the missionary James Kemp and Charlotte Kemp.
St. James Church
St James’, the wooden church on the hill above the Stone Store, is the third built in the area, and second on this picturesque site overlooking the basin. The missionaries’ first little combined chapel and school was built near the water and dedicated on 19 April 1824. It was replaced in 1829 when a 38 ft by 18 ft (11.5 × 5.5 metre) lath and plaster structure was erected on the present site of St James. It came complete with a town clock which was later incorporated in the Stone Store.
The new and slightly larger St James, built of weatherboard and battens, was dedicated in 1878. It was another 85 years before the church was extended to its present-day size to cater for a growing congregation (1963). In 1968 a damaging tornado hit Kerikeri with enough force to skew St James’ off line. Services had to be held elsewhere until a major repair and restoration was completed. The church bell came from HMNZS Black Prince, a light cruiser which had served with the Royal New Zealand Navy.
The Stone Store
The Stone Store, a former storehouse, is the oldest stone building in New Zealand, construction having begun on 19 April 1832. The keystone above the door bearing the date 1833 is thought to have been carved by the stonemason William Parrott who cut the Sydney sandstone in situ, but construction of the building was not actually completed until mid-1836.
Stone was used because the missionaries needed a vermin-free, fireproof area for their supplies and provisions, and for improved security from inquisitive Māori. There was a plan to build a mill where the bridge exists now, and to protect the flour produced from locally grown wheat in the store. But the mill never eventuated, and the millstones brought out from England went inland to Waimate North instead.
Curiously enough, when work started on the building, Māori were already moving out of the district, and when it was finally completed there were very few Māori remaining at Kerikeri. Furthermore, there were rumblings within the missionary community that Kerikeri was becoming the backwater of missionary activity, eliminating the need to store goods and provisions there. It was considered a folly at the time, but one that blesses Kerikeri today.
Over the years, the Stone Store suffered the cumulative effects of adjacent traffic movements and the ravages of normal wear and tear. Costly remedial work was required and in the 21st century a bypass was constructed and opened on 23 June 2008, to divert traffic and protect the building for posterity. The old stone store bridge was completely removed in the second half of 2008. The reasons for removal of the original bridge are controversial, and there was a groundswell of protest from a number of local residents. The bridge was removed regardless and the debate over whether this was the correct course of action has yet to be resolved in the minds of many residents. The building has been restored to its original state, but does not include the tower on the roof containing the clock removed from the chapel further up the hill, which was removed as a safety measure a long time ago.
Rewa’s Village was constructed opposite the Stone Store in 1969 as a community effort to faithfully recreate a kainga (unfortified village) which existed when Europeans arrived in New Zealand.
It was named after Ngāpuhi chief Rewa (also known as Maanu), who was one of three chiefly brothers originally belonging to the Ngai Tawake hapu; the other two brothers being; Te Wharerahi and Moka ‘Kainga-mataa’ who used to live here in the 1820s-1830s.
Kainga were sited close to fresh water and local fishing waters or gardens, and sometimes near fortified pā such as Kororipo which was just over the water.
Rewa’s Village has all the features of a true kainga, including a marae area, chief’s whare (house), kauta (cooking shelter), whata (bench where food was placed), tall whata, weapons store, pataka (raised food store), enclosure for the tohunga (a wise person who advised the community on just about everything), rahui (a post marking tapu or out of bounds limits), whare made of bark, waka tiwai (fishing canoe), bird snare, hangi pit (ground oven), genuine historic canoes, family enclosure, rua (storage area ) for kumara (sweet potato) and a paepae haumati (the basic toilet system which was flushed twice daily by the tide) .