A kayaking Anglican bishop is about halfway through a 250km water pilgrimage from Auckland to the Bay of Islands.

Jim White, Assistant Anglican Bishop of Auckland, today embarks on the fifth day of his kayak trip to Oihi in the Bay of Islands - the location of the first Christmas service in New Zealand 200 years ago.

For the historic service, which marked the beginning of the Christian missionary movement in New Zealand, Samuel Marsden's sermon was translated into Maori by Ngapuhi chief Ruatara.

Mr White, 52, said he chose to kayak to the special location in honour of early missionaries and bishops from the Anglican church, who travelled mostly by sea.


He set out with his childhood friend John Tuke, 56, from Mission Bay on Sunday.

While rough weather had hampered the pair's progress, they managed to make good headway yesterday and on Tuesday.

"We're going really well," he said from a bay just south of Tutukaka last night.

The pair had managed eight hours of paddling over the past two days.

Blustery winds and poor sea conditions meant they were on the water for about nine hours in total for the first two days.

"We had to keep hugging the coast, so it was sort of zigging and zagging," Mr White said.

One of the highlights was being helped out by a passerby in Whangaparaoa on Sunday.

"We actually had to carry the kayaks - which are unbelievably heavy because we've got all our gear on them - across the Shakespear [Regional Park]," he said.

Luckily, a stranger driving through the park in a large bread truck gave them a lift for the last 400m, Mr White said.

Mr White expected the pair would reach Oihi on Sunday.