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This church is one of several in the Whangaroa area built by Anglican missionary, James Shepherd, who first arrived in the area in 1823 (to assist Rev Samuel Leigh in the selection of a suitable site for New Zealand's first Methodist mission at Kaeo) and settled permanently near Matangirau at Touwai Bay in 1838. James Shepherd was not an ordained minister but his skills as a horticulturalist and carpenter as well as his fluency in Maori made him an invaluable asset to the Church Mission Society.
As well as assisting with the Methodist missionaries' early work, Shepherd also gave great service to Samuel Marsden at his missions at all that remains of ' Waitangi' at Touwai Bay are some large surviving specimen trees from the home's garden and a large conical stone cairn with a bronze plaque commemorating James Shepherd, erected on the site of the mission station by his decendants.
Remnant terraces and kumara pits on the western slopes of the valley are evidence of a long history of occupation and cultivation by Maori.
Since the late 1830's, this valley area has been farmed by the descendants of early pakeha settler and missionary, James Shepherd (see Matangirau, below).
This little-known cove is named for the colony of sun-loving Monarch butterflies that annually congregates to over-winter and breed in the branches of the trees above the beach.
There is also a nesting ground of New Zealand Dotterel on the sand above the high water mark.
In Sonoma County alone, authorities said, some 50 people were unaccounted for as of Wednesday night.
Please respect both of these very fragile wildlife sites by not disturbing them (nor the owner on whose private land they are found).
If you are tempted to linger longer than the tides allow in this beautiful seclusion, the house overlooking the beach at Butterfly Bay is available for rent throughout the year: and the tiny Anglican church of St James.
There are less than 1500 of these birds left in the world.
It is for this reason that visitors to Tauranga Bay must adhere to the local Council Byelaw to keep dogs on a leash at all times - to protect the beach nesting sites of this rare and endangered native bird.