The Anglican Church of Aotearoa will make a formal public apology to two Tauranga Moana hapu over its role which led to them losing 423ha of land to the Crown.

The apology concerns the sale by the Church Missionary Society of a block of land to the colonial government in 1867 on which downtown Tauranga was later built.

On December 1 the Anglican Church leaders will make a public apology to Ngai Tamarawaho and Ngāti Tapu hapu over the sale of land known as Te Papa Block from The Elms to Gate Pa to the government.

In 1838, missionary, Archdeacon Alfred Brown negotiated with local Māori to buy a large parcel of the Te Papa Peninsula for use of a mission station.


On November 30, 1838, 80 per cent of the 1333 acres of the two hapu's traditional lands, later known as the CMS Te Papa Block, was transferred to the Church Missionary Society.

After the battle of Gate Pa, the Battle of Te Ranga and the Bush campaign, the Crown put pressure on the church to sell the land to the Crown for European settlement.

Archdeacons Brown and Henry Williams protested several times, but in the end, Brown caved in.

In 1867 the Church Mission Society Central Lands Board resold 423 hectares of the land to the government without seeking hapu agreement.

Back in May at a meeting in New Plymouth, the Anglican Church General Synod apologised to about 10 hapu members and also agreed to come to Tauranga to make a formal public apology to the leaders of the two Tauranga Moana hapu.

Anglican Bishop of Waiapu Andrew Hedge described the church's failure as a "basic moral error" and said the apology was made with an "overwhelming sense of grief".

Two public events are being held in Tauranga in the coming weeks.

The first is a public hui at Baycourt on November 12 during which Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Sir David Moxon, Puhirake Ihaka of Ngāti Tapu, Peri Kohu of Ngai Tamarawaho and Dr Alistair Reese of Te Kohinga will explain the background to the apology for the benefit of the Tauranga Moana community.


The second is the formal apology by the Anglican Church leaders to the leaders of Ngai Tamarawaho and Ngāti Tapu on December 1 in Cliff Rd at the site being considered for a Tauranga Museum.

Members of the tangata whenua, Tauranga Moana civic and church leaders will also attend acting as witnesses and in support of the formal apology.