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No. 66 (March 1969)
– 47 –

Rev S. Marsden Commemorative Font

Samuel Marsden was the first missionary to preach the gospel on New Zealand soil in 1814.

To commemorate his great work, the Church, ‘St. John's’, in which he served as minister in Parramatta, Sydney, Australia, has been completely restored.

The Maoris in New Zealand under the direction of Archbishop Lesser, Primate of New Zealand, have subscribed funds for the construction of a carved totara font to be presented to the parish to St. John's in recognition of Marsden's work among their ancestors.

The entire font is carved in totara, one of the highest quality woods in New Zealand, inlaid with paua shell eyes to give beauty to the carving.

Throughout the Christian world, men have sought to express the nativity of Christ in forms of art. The Maori carving has a significant protective power and has endeavoured to show the Christian message.

The lid has been designed with patterns of harmony and love. The top section, surrounded with carved heads, represents the different races of children who will one day be christened at this font. The centre figure is the sky father and the base is mother earth. The sky father is surrounded by manaia figures and motifs expressing life, truth, love, soul, spirit, mind and principle.

The font is inscribed thus …

My dwelling is the world of nature: my meeting place the water.

Toku kainga ko te aomarama: toku marae kotewai.