Marsden Online Archive

The Marsden Collection

Reverend Samuel Marsden (1765-1838), Chaplain to New South Wales, was the driving force behind the establishment of the Church Missionary Society in New Zealand in the early nineteenth century. His relationships of trust with Māori chiefs paved the way for the introduction of Christianity in New Zealand. The missionary settlers brought agriculture and European technology to New Zealand. They also began documenting Te Reo Māori and created the first books in Māori. Their work paved the way for the acceptance of an official Crown presence in New Zealand.

Marsden’s letters and journals, as well as the papers of other early NZ missionaries, are held in the Hocken Collections at the University of Otago Library. 599 of these letters and journals have been made available on the Marsden Online Archive to date.

More information on Samuel Marsden, the Bay of Islands in 1814 to 1823, the Church Missionary Society and the early Māori Language can be found in these links.

“Mining Marsden” Project

This was a collaborative project undertaken by the University of Otago Library and the University’s Centre for Research on Colonial Culture. The project to create the Marsden Online Archive set out to achieve a number of objectives including:

  • Creating digital objects from historically significant, unique, items in the Hocken Collections.
  • Providing appropriate metadata for these resources, so to enrich contextual information and extend discoverability.
  • Identifying and deploying appropriate technical and discovery standards to ensure accessibility, preservation and curation.
  • Developing an appropriate platform, structure and web interface to make the collections useful as a research asset.

The first iteration of this site has been made available due to the combined efforts of these two groups. For more information on the Mining Marsden project contact the University of Otago Library.

Video: The “Mining Marsden” Project Process.