The work of the gospel in Tauranga Moana began in 1835, following a time of warfare and instability. The establishment of a mission station began in earnest with the arrival of Alfred Brown of the Christian Missionary Society three years late at Te Papa, and was a centre for outreach and education. A growing relationship of trust and collaboration took place. Well-intentioned land purchases, Treaty of Waitangi breaches and the land wars led to the tragic fracturing of a once mutual relationship. The region is still outworking the healing of these wounds.
The Parish of Tauranga, Holy Trinity, began in 1873, and the first church was built in 1875, the region’s first church. It was started to meet the needs of the growing number of settlers arriving in the town. Since then, a number of churches were planted by HTT in Mount Maunganui, Gate Pa, Maungatapu, Otumoetai and Te Puke. From the start, the church has had an apostolic, missional DNA and has been an epicentre of the Anglican church in the region.
The church was greatly impacted, not only by Anglican spirituality but by the charismatic movement. Many experienced intimately the Holy Spirit filling them and changing their lives. This impacted the worship and relational approach to church. A strong sense of community developed, as did a more contemporary form of worship – today, there is a blend of worship and spaces in which to find a home and belong.
We are aware that as the first church in the region, we carry a responsibility to build unity and reconciliation. We have a responsibility to care for our city and serve it faithfully.