Historian recognised for labours

Historian Gordon Parsonson (left) holds a certificate, presented to him by the Anglican Bishop of...
Historian Gordon Parsonson (left) holds a certificate, presented to him by the Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, the Right Rev Dr Kelvin Wright, to acknowledge his voluntary work on early mission archives. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Dunedin historian Gordon Parsonson has been presented with a commemorative coin to acknowledge thousands of hours of voluntary work, transcribing handwritten journals by pioneer Anglican cleric the Rev Samuel Marsden.

The bicentenary of Marsden's first sermon in New Zealand, at Oihi Bay, in the Bay of Islands, on December 25, 1814, is being celebrated this Christmas, in the Bay of Islands.

The Anglican Bishop of Dunedin, the Right Rev Dr Kelvin Wright, presented Mr Parsonson with the coin, which also commemorates the bicentennial, at a small ceremony at the Hocken Library, in Dunedin, last week.

Mr Parsonson (94) has transcribed many thousands of pages of handwritten Marsden material, both journals and letters, as well as related mission archives.

The fruits of more than 20 years of this work will be made available online by the Hocken for the first time next month.

Dr Wright said that having greatly improved access to Marsden's journals and letters was of ''huge'' benefit to the Anglican Church.

Marsden had played a ''foundational'' role in Christianity in New Zealand and had preached the first Christian gospel in New Zealand in his Christmas Day sermon 200 years ago.

 

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