Kemp House

Kemp HouseJames Kemp arrived in 1819. The Kerikeri Mission House is New Zealand’s oldest European building, surviving the Musket Wars, in the 1820s - 1830s. Built for the Rev. John Butler in 1821 - 22 this simple but elegant wooden house was occupied by the Clarke family from 1824 - 31. Erected from pit sawn heart kauri and totara with puriri corner posts, it is still in excellent condition and much the same as it was when originally built, except that the shingle roof has been replaced by iron.

George Clarke and his friend James Kemp and their families were stationed at Kerikeri where they became friendly with Hongi. James Kemp a blacksmith was in charge of the mission’s supplies at the Stone Store. In December 1823 Kemp began a school in Kerikeri, but by March 1824 only three pupils remained. Charlotte Kemp taught at the school for girls and infants. For many years Māori children were placed in her home for residential care and training.

James and Charlotte Kemp owned the home from 1832. The Kemps were the only missionaries left at Kerikeri by 1840 and the station was closed in 1848. Their descendants continued on at the house until 1974, when the house and contents were presented to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. The garden, first dug in 1820 and cultivated ever since, recalls the mission period.

George and his family moved into the Butler’s house while Kemp went out to recruit pupils for the school between 1824 and 1830. The Reverend William Yate moved in with the Clarke’s in 1828.

This is where Samuel Ludbrook, Henry Tacy, William, Martha Elizabeth, and Mary Anne Clarke were born.