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Samuel Marsden

Samuel Marsden
Samuel Marsden

The Reverend Samuel Marsden, Chaplain to New South Wales (1765-1838), was the driving force behind the establishment of Anglican mission stations in New Zealand in the early 19th century.

Born in England and based in New South Wales, Marsden was a member of the Church Missionary Society (CMS). His work and that of his missionaries helped build up a relationship of trust with Māori chiefs, paving the way for the acceptance of an official Crown presence in New Zealand.

Marsden protested to the British authorities about the trade in Māori heads, the involvement of the British in tribal conflicts, and lawlessness in Kororāreka, a mixed-race settlement in the Bay of Islands. He helped convince the Governor of New South Wales to support the appointment of a British Resident in New Zealand to deal with perceived anarchy in British settlements – a crucial link in the chain of events that ultimately led to Britain deciding to seek sovereignty over New Zealand.

Adapted from the DNZB biography by G.S. Parsonson

How to cite this page

Samuel Marsden, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated