Project Canterbury

Colonial Church Histories: New Zealand

Containing the Dioceses of Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson, Waiapu, Wellington, and Melanesia.

By Henry Jacobs

London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1887.

Part I. The Missionary Period

Chapter IV. Efforts to Extend Mission--British Resident--New Station in the Thames District--Expedition of Rev. W. Williams to East Cape--Hicks's Bay and Waiapu--The Waikato Explored--New Stations at Mangapouri and Tauranga--Removal of Rev. W. Williams to Waimate--A Distinguished Visitor--His Testimony--Translation of New Testament and Prayer Book--Arrival of Rev. R. Maunsell--Marsden's Last Visit--His Reception by the People--His Death at Paramatta--Visit of Bishop Broughton--Rev. Octavius Hadfield--First Confirmation--Ordination of Mr. Hadfield to Priesthood--Bishop Broughton's Report to Church Missionary Society --Roman Catholic Mission--Waharoa--Mission Stations Pillaged--The Waikato Stations page 59 [viii/ix]

In the month of April in this year, 1833, Mr. Henry Williams sent to the Society at home an important memorandum, setting forth with great fulness and urgency his views with regard to the extension of the mission. "By looking over the chart of the island," he says, "you will perceive that the part which we now possess is but a mere spot, and that at the extreme end." He draws attention to the fact of the rapid upgrowth of a European population, though scattered only as yet at various points along the coast, and without any regard to regular settlement, much less to systematic colonisation. [Footnote: In connexion with the progress of this irregular settlement of Europeans in the country, it may be mentioned that it was found necessary about this time, for the sake of preserving the semblance at least of law and order, to establish a British Residency in New Zealand, and that Mr. Busby, appointed British Resident, landed in state in the Bay of Islands on the 5th May, 1833, in the midst of peaceful, though noisy, demon-strations from the assembled natives, and received a hearty welcome from the mission, the members of which looked for much help from him in the promotion of peace.] Expression is given [59/60] in this paper for the first time to the idea of extend-ing the mission even to the southern island. Six months later the writer proceeded to give practical effect to his views. In company with the Rev. A. N. Brown, Mr. Fairburn, and Mr. Morgan (the last-named of whom had only arrived from England in the preceding May), he set out from Paihia, the party being in two boats, for the purpose of selecting a site for a station in the Thames district. In the course of this expedition they were cheered by a striking incident, which showed how the conversion of the people was spreading, as it were, spontaneously. From 150 to 200 natives were assembled to evening prayers by torchlight. "The missionaries," writes Mr. Williams, "commenced as usual by singing a hymn, but what was their surprise when they heard the whole assemblage join and sing correctly with them; and in the prayers the responses were made by all as by the voice of one man." [Footnote: No one who has once joined in worship with a Maori con-gregation can ever forget the effect of the response, especially in the alternate "saying" of the Psalms-so many manly voices, all at full pitch, but reverent in tone and in perfect unison, no one dreaming of being silent, all pausing together at the stops, all taking breath together. It is truly bracing and invigorating.] What was the [60/61] secret? "These people had received instruction from three youths who had lived in the mission fami-lies at Paihia." A site was fixed upon for the station at a place called Puriri on the river Waihou, and before the end of the year, Mr. Morgan and Mr. Preece were settled there. Mr. Carleton truly remarks, with reference to the journal of Mr. H. Wil-liams at this period, that " there is much sameness in a narrative of continual travelling, always for one or other of the two main objects--peace-making and the dispersion of the mission." The remark truly speaks volumes; let the readers of this brief history ponder all its significance, and realise how glorious is this sameness. Our restricted limits will permit us to speak only in the barest outline of some of the most important of these movements. We cannot, how-ever, refrain from saying that the original records of these journeys are rich to a degree in variety of inci-dent, and overflowing with matter of the deepest interest to every one who is warmed by Christian, not to say by human, sympathies.

A visit of much importance in relation to subse-quent events was made by the Rev. W. Williams to Hicks's Bay and Waiapu--the district from which the title of the bishopric was afterwards taken--at the close of 1833, and the beginning of 1834. Mr. Williams had charge of about sixty natives, who had been residing for some months in the Bay of Islands, having been landed there against their will by a whaling captain. Ngapuhi wished to make slaves of them, but the missionaries interfered to prevent it, and they were now returning to the East Cape, and [61/62] other districts to the south, to which they originally belonged. So he chartered a large schooner, named the Fortitude, partly for the purpose of conveying timber and stores for the new station at Puriri, Messrs. Morgan and Preece being also passengers in her, and partly for the purpose of taking these natives to their homes. Late in the evening of Christmas Day they reached Puriri, the schooner having cast anchor in the Waihou. As soon as the tents were pitched, the natives who had flocked around on their arrival were invited to join in evening prayer by moonlight, which, as is often the case in New Zealand, was so bright as to enable them to read without the aid of other light. About one hundred were present, and "every voice among the motley group writes Mr. Williams, "seemed to join in concert as though they had been accustomed to this service for a long season." The sixty returned exiles, it need not be said, were the leaders. A happy con-trast to that Christmas Day nineteen years before, although that in its measure was happy too, when the "good tidings of great joy to all people," were proclaimed for the first time on the shore of New Zealand! Leaving Mr. Morgan and Mr. Preece behind, Mr. W. Williams went on in the Fortitude to Hicks's Bay, which he reached on the 8th January and proceeded by land on the next day to Waiapu. At both places he was well received, the natives ex-pressing an earnest desire to have missionaries resident among them. He was greatly struck with the density of the population in these parts, and surveyed the neighbourhood with special attention, [62/63] being satisfied that a settlement must soon be formed there. "Waiapu," he writes, "as a place for a mis-sionary station, surpassed any I had yet seen." We shall see in the sequel what important consequences followed from this expedition. At present we must be content to say that, having restored his charge to their homes at Hicks's Bay and Waiapu, and having paid a hurried visit to the people at Table Cape, the southernmost point of his voyage, Mr. Williams returned to Paihia from this his first tour in that part of the island with which he was afterwards so intimately associated for no less than eight-and-thirty years.

It was next determined to explore with a view to missionary operations the extensive and important district adjacents to the great River Waikato, commonly known since as the Waikato Country, and famous, long after the time of which we are now speaking, as the centre as the centre of the Maori King movement, and the principal seat of the native war of 1863, and the two following years. One main reason for following up the formation of the Puriri station as closely as possible by the establishment of one or more settlements in the Waikato, was the importance of combining the forces of the missionaries in the two localities for the purpose of putting a stop, as far as possible, to the cruel and truly internecine tribal wars, which had been carried on for generations between the inhabitants of the Thames, and those of the Waikato districts. With this view the Rev. A. N. Brown and Mr. Hamlin set out on an extremely toilsome and perilous tour overland at the end of [63/64] February, 1834, and, proceeding through the middle of the island, arrived at the Waikato after a journey of between seventy and eighty miles, which occupied seven or eight days. These explorers having brought back a favourable report of the country, it was deter-mined by the resident committee that a station should be formed at some point in the district. The Rev. W. Williams was appointed to the charge of it, and Messrs. Morgan and Stack were to be asso-ciated with him as catechists. He took passage accordingly in a barque bound for the Thames, in company with the Rev. A. N. Brown, intending to penetrate the Waikato Country from the east, and take the preliminary steps for forming a station at a place to be selected by them; and, this done, to work back to Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, and carry out the same design in that quarter. They en-countered extreme difficulty and peril in consequence of the prevailing feuds, but succeeded in accomplishing their purpose in both instances. They fixed the site of the Waikato station at Mangapouri, on the River Waipa, and that for the Tauranga district at Te Papa, where they gave directions for the erection of two raupo [Footnote: Raupo is Maori for "bulrush." A raupo house consisted of a slight framework of timber, intertwined with rushes.] houses for the missionaries who might be appointed to reside there. It was Mr. Williams' full intention, on his return to Paihia, to take im-mediate steps for the removal of his family to Mangapouri; but, on his arrival, he found that, through unforeseen circumstances, the arrangements had been [64/65] altered by the committee, and that he had been appointed to the charge of a school for the sons of missionaries, which had been formed at Waimate, and that Mr. Hamlin was to take his place at Mangapouri. Early in the year 1835 he removed to Waimate, where he remained till the year 1839.

He had not been settled there many months, when he received a visit from a gentleman, who was destined to rise to a renown, second to that of none in the domain of science--the celebrated Charles Darwin, who has given an exceedingly interesting and pleasant description, in his "Journal of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle," of his visit to Waimate. [Footnote: " Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the Countries visited during the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle round the World." By Charles Darwin, M.A., F.R.S. (Home and Colonial Library.)] The impressions of so impartial and dispassionate, and at the same time so competent, an observer are worth recording. He describes a walk with native guides from Paihia to the mission farm at Waimate. "Here," he says, "there are three large houses, where the missionary gentlemen, Messrs. Williams, Davis, and Clarke, reside; and near them are the huts of the native labourers." After expressing a lively admiration of the English character and appearance of the gardens and farm-yard, he adds, "All this is very surprising when it is considered that, five years ago, nothing but the fern flourished here. Moreover, native workmanship, taught by the missionaries, has effected this change; the lesson of the missionary is the enchanter's wand. . . . When [65/66] I looked at this whole scene, I thought it admirable. It was not merely that England was brought vividly before my mind; yet, as the evening drew to a close, the domestic sounds, the fields of corn, the distant undulating country, with its trees, might well have been mistaken for our fatherland; nor was it the triumphant feeling at seeing what Englishmen could effect; but rather the high hopes thus inspired for the future progress of this fine island." Under the same date (December 23rd, 1835), he writes, "Several young men, redeemed by the missionaries from slavery, were employed on the farm. They were dressed in a shirt, jacket, and trousers, and had a respectable appearance And to think that this was in the centre of the land of cannibalism, murder, and all atrocious crimesThese young men and boys appeared very merry and good humoured. In the evening I saw a party of them at cricket: when I thought of the austerity of which the missionaries have been accused, I was amused by observing one of their own sons taking an active part in the game." Lastly, he says, "I took leave of the missionaries with thankfulness for their kind welcome, and with feelings of high respect for their gentlemanlike, useful, and upright characters. I think it would be difficult to find a body of men better adapted for the high office which they fulfil." [Footnote: Speaking of the change effected by the work of the missionaries in the habits of the natives, Mr. Darwin says:--"At the present day, from the progress of civilisation, there is much less warfare, except among some of the southern tribes. I heard a characteristic anecdote of what took place some time in the south. A missionary found a chief and his tribe in preparation for war--their muskets clean and bright, and their ammunition ready. He reasoned long on the inutility of the war, and the little provocation which had been given for it. The chief was much shaken in his resolution, and seemed in doubt, but at length it occurred to him that a barrel of his gun-powder was in a bad state, and that it would not keep much longer. This was brought forward as an unanswerable argu-ment for the necessity of immediately declaring war: the idea of allowing so much good gunpowder to spoil was not to be thought of, and this settled the point."]

[67] The work now assigned to Mr. William Williams at Waimate, relieving him as it did from the duty of travelling, left him fuller opportunity for prosecuting the task for which he was peculiarly adapted--that of translation. Accordingly, in 1836, he had ready for publication complete translations of the New Testament and the Hook of Common Prayer. The portions previously published, having been sent to Sydney to be printed were, as has been already said, sadly disfigured by errors of the press; but of these new and complete translations Mr. Williams was fortunately able to superintend the printing himself at the C.M.S. having opportunely sent out, in 1834, a printing press in charge of Mr. William Colenso. To such an astonishing extent had the demand for books grown among the natives in various parts, that the 5,000 copies of the New Testament thus printed at Paihia were soon exhausted, and the British and Foreign Bible Society was asked to print an edition of 10,000 copies more. As regards the Prayer Book, the printing of an edition of 3,000 copies was begun, but no sooner was the Order for Morning [67/68] and Evening Prayer completed, than it was found necessary to bring that portion into use at once, and no less than 33,000 copies of this were struck off before the complete work could be brought out. This reference to the progress of the work of translation naturally suggests the mention of an important ad-dition to the mission staff which was made at this time; for the name of the Rev. Robert Maunsell, of Trinity College, Dublin, (afterwards Archdeacon and LL.D.) who arrived to join the mission on the 26th Novem-ber, 1835, will ever be inseparably connected with the translation of the Holy Scriptures into the Maori language. The Church of New Zealand will ever owe a special debt of gratitude to the Giver of all good gifts for the successful labours of His servants William Williams and Robert Maunsell in this holy cause. Williams was first in the field by nearly ten years; Maunsell, though later in time, is equal in dis-tinction. Maunsell is specially famed for the trans-lation of the Old Testament, Williams for that of the New.

While Mr. W. Williams was living at Waimate, Mr. Marsden paid his seventh and last visit to New Zea-land, accompanied by his youngest daughter. He was now seventy-two, and bowed down by physical ail-ments, but the spirit of the aged hero was unsubdued. He left Sydney in the Pyramus on the 9th February, 1837, and, landing at Hokianga, stayed at the Wesley-an station for about a fortnight. Thence he travelled to Waimate, a distance of forty miles, being carried by the grateful natives all the way in a litter. Going on thence, he visited in succession all the stations in [68/69] the Bay. Afterwards he proceeded to the distant settlement at Kaitaia, where he employed himself in reconciling two parties of natives, by whose mutual hostility the safety of the station was endangered. On the arrival in the Bay of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, commanded by Captain Hobson, afterwards the first Governor of New Zealand, he accompanied him on a voyage southward, to the Thames, the East Cape, and even as far as Cook's Straits. Wherever he went, his journey wore the appearance of a meek triumphal march: on his way from Hokianga more than seventy natives accompanied him; as he approached Waimate numbers came out to meet him. "While at Kaitaia," writes his biographer, "he held a constant levée, sitting in an armchair, in an open field before the mission-house; it was attended by upwards of a thousand Maories, who poured in from every quarter; many coming a distance of twenty or thirty miles, contented to sit down and gaze on his venerable features; and so they continued to come and go till his departure." Before leaving New Zealand he wrote a report of his visit to the C.M.S., "an account," says the writer just quoted, "which glows with pious exultation." Seldom indeed is it permitted to any man in his life-time to see and rejoice in the fruit of his labours to such an extent as he did. Nearly thirty years had elapsed since he first conceived the idea of evan-gelising New Zealand; trials and difficulties innumer-able had impeded the work; but his courage, perse-verance, and fertility of resource never failed; and now how blessed was the present result, how full of hope the prospect for the future! In one point only [69/70] had his anticipations been disappointed; he had looked forward to New Zealand becoming an inde-pendent and highly civilised nation; he was now compelled mournfully to admit that her only hope lay in annexation to the British Crown. He also saw reason before his death to modify to a considerable extent his views respecting the necessity of the teaching of religion being preceded by a smattering of civilisa-tion. He returned to Sydney in the Rattlesnake in August, and, about nine months after, on the 12th May, 1838, he breathed his last at Paramatta, bearing on his heart to the last, as some of his dying words testified, the mission to his beloved New Zealand.

Before this year, 1838, had run its course, another eminent servant of God, the first Bishop of Australia, Dr. Broughton, came from Sydney in H.M.S. Pelorus, to visit the mission, having first obtained the hesi-tating, not to say hardly-given, consent of the C.M.S. With him came one, who was in future to take a leading part in the evangelisation of the native race, in the framing of the Church Constitution, in the legislation of the General Synod, and in the govern-ment of the Church of New Zealand. This was the Rev. Octavius Hadfield, then in deacon's orders, who had left Oxford in ill health before taking his degree, having been advised to try a milder climate. By a remarkable coincidence Bishop Broughton preached at Paihia on Christmas Day, 1838, and re-minded his hearers of the scene on the beach at Rangihoua, where the first sermon preached in New Zealand had been delivered by his "venerable friend," Samuel Marsden, twenty-four years before. This [70/71] was the first visit of a bishop of the Anglican Church to this land, and episcopal offices according to the use of the Church of England were now for the first time celebrated. The children of the missionaries to the number of about twenty, and about double the number of Maories were confirmed; two burial grounds, those of Paihia and Kororareka, were con-secrated; and Mr. Hadfield was admitted to priest's orders. The number of natives confirmed would have been considerably larger but for the wide preval-ence at the time of an exceedingly virulent epidemic of influenza. On his return to Sydney, the bishop wrote to the C.M.S. a calm and discriminating ac-count of the state of the mission. We can give only a brief extract from it; it is dated March 28th, 1839. After speaking in high terms of the character of the missionaries, and of the happy unanimity which reigned among them, he proceeds as follows:--"At every station which I personally visited, the converts were so numerous as to bear a very visible and con-siderable proportion to the entire population; and I had sufficient testimony to convince me that the same state of things prevailed at other places which it was not in my power to reach. As the result of my in-spection I should state that in most of the native vil-lages, called pas, in which the missionaries have a footing, there is a building containing one room, superior in fabric and dimensions to the native resi-dences, which, appears to be set apart as a place for assembling for religious worship, or to read the Scriptures, or to receive the exhortations of the missionaries. In these buildings generally, and [71/72] sometimes in the open air, the Christian classes were assembled before me. The grey-haired man and the aged woman took their places, to read and to undergo examination among their descendants of the second and third generations. The chief and the slave stood side by side, with the same holy volume in their hands, and exerted their endeavours each to surpass the other in returning proper answers to the questions put to them concerning what they had been reading."

Earlier in the year 1838, a bishop of another com-munion had visited the neighbourhood, and caused much disquiet to the missionaries and their flocks. This was the Roman Catholic Bishop Pompallier, who landed at Hokianga with two priests, intimating that nine others were about to follow. New Zealand was a wide field; in its two main islands were multi-tudes of unconverted heathens; had the missionaries of the Roman Catholic body chosen ground unoc-cupied by those of another communion, the rising native Church would have been spared, at least in its infancy, the unedifying spectacle of open disunion among Christians, which was literally paraded before their eyes in several public disputations, held at this time and afterwards, between the priests of the rival communions, in the presence of assembled multi-tudes of natives. The Roman Catholic Mission in the north appeared to make rapid progress at first, but its work was not enduring; it has never taken root in the soil of New Zealand.

The circumstances connected with the interesting visits recorded in the preceding pages have diverted our attention for a while from the history of the extension of [72/73] the mission, and the chequered fortunes of the stations already formed to the southward. The year 1836 was one of great trouble to the missionaries in these quarters in consequence of a war of revenge waged by the famous warrior Waharoa, [Footnote: This chief was the father of perhaps the most distinguished man of the Maori race of whom we have any record, William Thompson-the native form of the name is Wiremu Tamihana. -so famous in the Waikato war of five-and-twenty years later.] of Matamata, against the people of Rotorua. The story of the origin of this war is characteristic, and is thus briefly related by Mr. Carleton:-" In December, 1835, Huka, of Rotorua, murdered and ate Hunga, cousin to Waharoa. No one palliated the conduct of Huka; but his own people, as a matter of course, were bound to fight for him. For the individual man, in the eye of the Maori law, does not exist; the act of the individual is the act of the tribe. At the instigation of Nuka, a chief of Tauranga, Waharoa's attack was directed, not against Rotorua itself, but against Maketu, a pa which belonged to Rotorua. The pa was stormed; about sixty-five of the defenders were killed and eaten, and about one hundred and fifty slaves were carried away prisoners. Oh! how sweet to me will taste the flesh of Rotorua along with their new kumaras (sweet potatoes),' said Waharoa to the Rev. A. N. Brown." Mr. Brown, Mr. Maunsell, and Mr. H. Williams had all exerted their influence to dissuade him from indulging his revenge, but in vain. The storm, having once burst forth, raged long and wildly; the Lakes and the Tauranga districts were filled with terror and commotion, insomuch that the missionaries [73/74] sent their children to the Bay of Islands for safety; for even their houses were no longer secure from attack. They themselves were helpless witnesses of horrible scenes of slaughter and cannibalism; and at length, on the 6th August, 1836, in the confusion which followed a battle between Waharoa and the Rotoruans, the mission houses at the Lake were pillaged and burned to the ground. Mr. Chapman was fortunately absent at the time, but Mr. Knight and Mr. Pilley, his assistants, were compelled to fly, the latter having been much maltreated. In the following month the Matamata station also, in spite of the protection of Waharoa, was plundered by a party of marauders, fighting for their own hand, Mr. Brown and Mr. Morgan being the sufferers. Mr. Brown then established himself at Tauranga, which he never left until his death, after the completion of fifty-seven years of consecutive missionary labour, on the 12th September, 1884. The stations in the Waikato were comparatively undisturbed during this period of strife and confusion; but the wide extent of the district and the paucity of labourers made it necessary for them to spread themselves out more. The natives, moreover, of this district, who had congregated for some years past in dense numbers in the Upper Waikato for the sake of mutual pro-tection against the Bay of Islands people, led by Hongi and others, now that that cause of alarm had passed away by reason of the pacific influence of the northern missionaries, had begun to re-occupy the fertile tracts of the Lower Waikato. Accordingly the Revs. R. Maunsell and B. Y. Ashwell--a man of [74/75] fervent zeal and whole-hearted devotedness, who had previously served as a missionary at Sierra Leone, and arrived in New Zealand with his wife on the 23rd December, 1835--moved down the river to its mouth. The catechist, Mr. Hamlin, who, though without the qualifications of a scholar, was considered by the natives to excel all his brother missionaries as a speaker of Maori, was placed at an outer station at Manukau Heads; and after a while, Mr. Ashwell, taking the opposite direction, settled far up the river at Taupiri.

Project Canterbury