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.


The origin of this work may be told in a few words. The Most Rev. the Primate of New Zealand having received, somewhat more than two years ago, an intimation that the Society for Pro-moting Christian Knowledge had in view the publica-tion of a series of Histories of Provincial Churches of the Anglican Communion, together with a request that he would recommend a person qualified to fulfil the duties of writer or editor of that of the Church of the Province of New Zealand, laid this communication before the Bishops of the Province, when they were assembled at the last triennial session of the General Synod, held at Auckland in January and February, 1886. The Primate subsequently informed the Synod that their Lordships, having considered the subject, were agreed in thinking that such a History would be "most desirable"; and that they further recommended "that it should take the form of a Provincial History, together with a special chapter for each diocese, and that the Very Rev. the Dean of Christchurch be requested to act [iii/iv] as editor." The recommendation was accepted and confirmed by the Synod, and the writer then and there accepted the office. For the first three Parts of the book he is solely responsible, his strictly editorial work having been confined to the Fourth Part, which consists mainly of statistics of the seven dioceses. To have written a separate history of these would have involved a large amount of repetition, not to mention that the superabundance of material, in spite of the strongest efforts to compress, had already caused the Provincial History to overflow considerably the limits assigned to the whole work. Ere long, perhaps,--we may, at least, be forgiven for expressing the hope, --the Society may see its way to put forth a series of Histories of the several dioceses of which the Provinces of the Colonial Church are composed.

The plan of the work will be found exceedingly simple. The History of the Church of the Province of New Zealand divides itself naturally into three portions:--I. THE MISSIONARY PERIOD, extending from the first evangelisation of the natives of the Bay of Islands by the agents of the Church Missionary Society, under the advice and direction of the Rev. Samuel Marsden, to the appointment of the Bishop of New Zealand. II. THE PERIOD OF ORGANISATION, beginning with that event, and extending to the framing of the Church Constitution [iv/v] in 1857, showing how the Constitution was built up. III. THE PERIOD OF SUBSEQUENT GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT, extending to the present date, and showing how the Constitution has hitherto worked. The Fourth Part contains information, more or less full and complete, as to the present state of each of the dioceses, including the missionary diocese of Melanesia, and will be useful, it is hoped, not only to many at the present time, but as a means of comparison in the future. The present condition of the Maori portion of the Church in the several dioceses is briefly treated of in the concluding chapter.

The pleasant duty remains of acknowledging, as the writer desires to do very heartily, the obligations he is under to those from whom he has received assistance, amongst whom he is bound to mention, first and foremost, the name of his friend, the Ven. Archdeacon Williams, of Gisborne. The Most Rev. the Primate, the Right Rev. the Bishops of Nelson, Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin, Waiapu, and Melanesia have all rendered kind and valuable assistance and encouragement. The writer's thanks are due, in particular, to the Lord Bishop of Nelson. To the above he gratefully adds the names of the Hon. Colonel Haultain, the first to supply him, spontaneously, with sundry useful documents; the Ven. Archdeacons Maunsell and B. T. Dudley, of Auckland; the Ven. Archdeacon Stock and the Rev. [v/vi] T. Fancourt, of Wellington; the Revs. F. Knowles and J. W. Stack, of the diocese of Christchurch; the Rev. Algernon Gifford, of Oamaru; and T. M. Hocken, Esq., M.D., of Dunedin. His indebtedness to the writings of those who have preceded him in the track of New Zealand history will be found acknowledged in the course of the work.

H. J.
The Deanery
Christchurch New Zealand
October 15th, 1887

Project Canterbury