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Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown / Paul Scott

The Maori Font dedicated during St John's 150th Anniversary commemorates the visit of the Reverend Samuel Marsden to New Zealand in 1814.

The font is a tangible memorial of St John’s link with the Maori people, and an example of the accomplished craftsmanship of C. I. (Charlie) Tuarau of Wellington, who spent four years carving it. The twelve-sided design is carved in Totara wood, and inlaid with Paua shell. 

Samuel Marsden (1764 -1838) , St John's first Rector, made frequent visits to New Zealand to bring the Gospel to the Maori people. During his time at Parramatta, Marsden befriended many Maori visitors and sailors from New Zealand. He cared for them at on his farm, providing accommodation, food, drink, work and an education for up to three years. He gave one Maori chief some land on which he could grow his own crops. He taught Maori to read and write English. He learnt Maori, beginning an English-Maori translation sheet of common words and expressions.

Marsden lobbied the Church Missionary Society successfully to send a mission to New Zealand. Lay missionaries John King, William Hall and Thomas Kendall were chosen in 1809, but it was not until 14 November 1814  that Marsden took his brig, the "Active" (captained by Thomas Hansen), on an exploratory journey to the Bay of Islands with Kendall and Hall, during which time he conducted the first Christian service on New Zealand soil on Christmas Day 1814 in English which was translated by Ruatara to the 400 strong congregation.


Address:195 Church Street , St John`s Church, Parramatta, 2150
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.81593
Long: 151.002863
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Religious Object
Monument Theme:Culture
Designer:C. I. (Charlie) Tuarau


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 19th April, 1969
Front Inscription

This Baptismal Font is a gift of the Maoris of New Zealand.

It commemorates the visit to their country of the  Rev. Samuel Marsden in 1814, when he became the first to preach the
Gospel on New Zealand soil.

At the time he was Rector of this Church.

The font has been made at the hands of craftsmen and adorned with painstaking skill by Tuarau. One of their master carvers.

1814 – 1964.

Source: MA,PS
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au