Project Canterbury

The Southern Cross and Southern Crown;
Or, The Gospel in New Zealand

By Miss Tucker

New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1866.

Chapter XIII. The Waimate--Progress--Ripi--Tupapa--Mr. Jamieson

"Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." Rev. xxii. 17.

WHAT varied thoughts and feelings does the very situation of the new settlement at the Waimate call forth! Here it was that Hongi, the author of so much war and misery, lived and died; in yonder grove of tall "puriri" trees his body in its ornamented chest was preserved for months, till taken to its last abode. Not far off, as if nature would remove some of the evil of man's sin, a healing spring sends forth its pure and sparkling waters, and gives the name of "Wai-mate," or "water for the sick," to the whole surrounding district.

Blessed be the God of all grace, He was now bringing heavenly, as well as earthly, peace to this distracted land; and was opening a fountain of living waters, that should give life and health to souls even dead in trespasses and sins.

This new station was happily spared from many of the trials that had attended the three earlier ones. There were here no insulting threats, nor rude attacks, nor attempts at plunder. The counsel of the old chief tad been attended to; and the Missionaries were treated with kindness and respect. Mr. Clarke tells us, that though for the first two months he had been [145/146] unable to complete the fence about his house, and was for some time without a lock to secure his door, yet he did not lose an article of his property. And yet they were in the midst of the fierce tribe of Ngapuis!

The Missionaries had brought with them a good number of their own natives, to assist in cultivation, building, &c.; and the settlement soon assumed the appearance of neatness and comfort. Schools were established; and before many months had passed, there were, including those they had brought with them, eight v-five men and boys, and fifty women and girls, under instruction. [In some of the distant villages the people by degrees established schools among themselves, the teacher being sometimes a lad who had formerly received instruction at one of the stations. Mr. Hamlin mentions an instance of one at Ahu-ahu, a village he visited, whenever practicable, on Sundays. In this school were taught reading, writing, and the Catechisms that had been drawn up for the natives. The only assistance they had received was a present of five slates; yet there was not one in December, 1834, who did not repeat the Catechisms correctly; twenty could read pretty fluently, and the others were getting on, though they were not so forward. The writing did not prosper so well, from want of copies.]

From the first Sunday of their residence, a flag had been regularly hoisted to mark the day of sacred rest; many were attracted by it from the country round, and so rapidly did the numbers increase, that before the Missionaries had been there three months, and long before their own houses were properly habitable, they found it necessary to suspend all other work, and to erect a building that should serve as a chapel on the Sunday, and a school-room during the week. It was 40 feet in length, and 20 in width, and was almost immediately filled with an attentive and well-conducted congregation.

[147] One of the first who responded to the Sabbath invitation of the hoisted flag was Ripi, the principal chief of Mawi, a village three or four miles from the Waimate. Mr. Davis had become acquainted with this chief a year or two before, at Paihia; where one day seeing a party of strangers enter the settlement, he Vent up to them, as he was wont, hoping to find some opening for speaking to them on the concerns of their souls. They were talking with Taiwunga, who, though not then baptized, was deeply in earnest about spiritual things. The strangers were eagerly exhibiting some muskets they had just purchased from the shipping; and Mr. Davis, while admiring them, and speaking of their lawful use in self-defence, took occasion to press upon their owners the immense importance of securing, not only their personal safety, but the salvation of their souls. This led to an animated conversation, in which Taiwunga joined, and with great earnestness and ability refuted various objections brought forward by Ripi, who was one of the party. After this, the chief occasionally visited Paihia; and when there, would always attend the means of grace; but there was no appearance of any real impression being made upon his heart. About a year after this interview, in the autumn of 1830, a party of natives were sent to construct the new bridge over the Waitangi, that was to connect Waimate with the other stations. They happened to be of the same tribe as Ripi; they were all steady, thoughtful young men; and one of them, Aparahama, [Abraham.] who had not long been baptized, was very anxious for the souls of others as well as for his own. At his suggestion, these young men [147/148] used at their leisure hours to visit Mawi, and endeavour to impart to the people there as much of the instruction they had received as they were able to communicate. A son of Ripi's, who was at this time ill, was the special object of Aparahama's interest and prayers; he did not live long after, and Mr. Davis rejoiced to hear that, not only was there room for confident hope that he died a sincere believer in Christ, but that his father also was seeking to know eternal truth. [The way in which Mr. Davis came to the knowledge of this last circumstance affords too remarkable a proof of the altered state of feeling to be passed over in silence. One of his young workmen was a slave hired from Ripi; and seeing him one day look more than usually happy, he asked him the reason. "Oh," cried the youth, who had himself been just baptized, "should 1 not rejoice in the prospect of the salvation of my master's soul? "and then showed Mr. Davis a letter he had just received from Aparahama, speaking of the chief as being evidently in earnest about his salvation. See page 18.]

The establishment of the Mission at the Waimate, early in 1S31, was an inestimable blessing to this chief, as it enabled him regularly to attend the means of grace. Every Saturday found him at the house of his friend Aparahama, where the evening was passed in reading, conversation, and prayer; and after Divine worship on Sunday morning Bipi would return home, to communicate to his people the truths he had learnt. Sometimes he was accompanied by Mr. Davis, and at the chief's loud whistle, a hundred or more of the in-habitants would assemble, and listen attentively to the words of life. The newly awakened chief was indefatigable among his own people, and many were prevailed on by him to have daily prayer in their own houses. Tint ho was not content with his endeavours at Mawi; as his heart expanded, so did his efforts, [148/149] and his next step was to visit Kaikohi, a district about ten miles from Waimate, where he had relations. He was kindly received, and his address was attentively listened to by Atua-haere, the principal chief. [The walking god.] "Come here," said he to him, "you are my child. It is long since you came to see me; and now, having heard something from the white people that you think is good, you come to tell it me: this is very good, but as you know but little of it yourself, go back, and bring some one with you who understands these things better." Ripi repeated this to Mr. Davis, requesting that Aparahama might accompany him on his next visit to Kaikohi; and, exclaiming, "Ah, I have been thoughtful about the things of God for these two years, ever since you spoke to me that evening at Paihia," repeated nearly all the conversation that had then taken place; so deeply had it sunk into his mind.

It was a joyful sight to see these two disciples, the middle-aged and the young, going forth together, week after week, on this mission of love: the natives of Kaikohi could not resist their persuasions; several of them established prayer in their families; and as many of them as could come so far visited Waimate on the Sabbath days. Ripit hankfully rejoiced, and little expected the disappointment that awaited him.

The two friends had not long continued these Sunday teachings, that were bringing light and joy into many a heart at Kaikohi, when they received a message from the chief, forbidding them to continue their visits. They were grieved and surprised at this unlooked-for prohibition, of which they knew not the [149/150] cause, till it afterwards appeared that Warepoaka of Rangi-houa, and some other chiefs, had sent to Atua-haere, desiring him to have nothing to do with Christian teachers; and the poor man had timidly yielded, against his will and against his conscience.

It was strange that Warepoaka should have acted thus; he had hitherto been an unswerving friend to the Missionaries; and only a year before, when it had been proposed that the Rangi-houa station should be removed two miles off to Tepuna, he vehemently objected to the change. "What have we done," he exclaimed, "that you should leave us? Have we robbed you? Have we injured you? If not, it will be a shame to desert us. But if you do, no one shall touch your houses, they shall stand empty and fall to pieces; and when any Europeans ask us what they are, we will tell them, they were the houses of the Missionaries, who left us without cause, and in spite of our entreaties." The proposed removal had in consequence been given up, and yet now Warepoaka was endeavouring to hinder the measures he had then been so anxious to promote! Alas! he had come under the influence of some ungodly Europeans, who had filled his mind with dark suspicions, and persuaded him and the other chiefs that the Christian natives were before long to be all shipped off for England, and there made slaves! The disappointment with regard to Kaikohi was not the only trial that Ripi met with in his onward course; his bold, uncompromising conduct often brought upon him contempt and ridicule; and at one time it would appear that he was in some personal danger from his refusal to join his neighbours in a war expedition to [150/151] the south. Yet he continued stedfast and unmoved, and was evidently growing in grace. He had become watchful over himself, he had left off swearing, was conquering his naturally impetuous temper, had put away two of his wives, and was endeavouring to conform his whole life to the Gospel standard. Mr. Davis spoke to him of baptism: "If I could write," said the chief, "you should know all my thoughts; but I am afraid to speak, I am afraid of boasting: I prayed to God to show me the sinfulness of my own heart, He has done so, and now I want to be delivered from all sin." Surely Ripi was a child of God; the Missionaries were persuaded that he was, and would not withhold from him the seal of the covenant. He was baptized on Sept. 2nd, 1831; and from respect to that constant friend of the New Zealand Mission, Mr. Broughton, of Holborn, he received the name of Broughton, or, according to native pronunciation, Porotene. As yet he was the only native, unconnected with the Mission stations, who had been baptized, except the first convert, Christian Ranghi.

We like to read of Porotene Eipi; of his labouring among his own people; of his travelling from place to place, in company or alone, to proclaim to friend or to former foe, the riches of the grace of God. He had already made a road from Mawi to the Waimate, that the Missionaries might visit him with less difficulty; and he now set about another that should enable them to penetrate further into the country.

And here we will quote from the account given of this Mission by the late lamented Colonel Jacob, of the Bombay Army, who visited New Zealand in 1833, and thus speaks of our energetic chief. "Beyond [151/152] Waimate, I fell in with a chief, named Ripi, who had lately been baptized; he and his people were engaged in cutting a road through a dense and lofty forest. The 'good news' of salvation by Christ had reached the heart of this chief, and the hearts of many of his tribe; they had felt its power, they had built themselves a little church for morning and evening worship; and now we found them with their hatchets in their hands, cutting this road through the forest, and already advanced nearly two miles, in order that this same 'good news' might be carried to the tribe beyond, a tribe, moreover, at enmity with their own.

"I was struck with the dignified appearance of this man; his only garment was his native mat, but this did not obscure his manly form; and I could but contrast his present employment with his former pursuits in days of darkness and degradation."

The people that Ripi was thus labouring to benefit, had seen the influence his words often had on those who listened to him, and they accused him of using enchantment. The chief agreed to meet them and explain the matter. Armed with the word of God, he went; he read to them many of the passages he had read to others; and the result was that they declared his book of "enchantment" was one they desired to know more about; and would not let him go till he had told them more of that great and glorious Gospel.

Ripi's bright and useful course was, however, destined to be a short one. Writing on June 5th, 1838, Mr. Davis says, "Ripi appears to be at the point of death, it is very distressing to my weak mind; he has for years been a comfort to me, and a blessing to his tribe. To us it would appear desirable that such a [152/153] man should live long for the sake of the cause of Christ; but God seeth not as man seeth." In a postscript Mr. Davis adds: "Ripi has escaped from this vale of tears, I trust to be a gem in the Redeemer's crown."

While recounting the history of Ripi, we seem to have lost sight of the more general Missionary work at this station; and must now return to the period at which we left it, viz. 1831. At the settlement itself all was going on satisfactorily; fresh families from time to time took up their abode round the Mission premises; the schools and congregations increased; and the following extract from one of the settlers' letters will give an idea of a Sunday at the Waimate. "It would," wrote Mr. Clarke in 1834, "cheer the hearts of Christians in England, and perhaps shame those who only bear the name, to see a New Zealand Sabbath. Long ere the Morning Service begins, you see the natives collecting in little groups round the chapel, reading or listening to the word of God. Often the chapel is filled five minutes after the door is opened, and many are generally obliged to stand outside. The rest of the day corresponds to this; all is order and silence, except that you may occasionally hear the voice of praise ascending from the little cottages, where perhaps two or three families have met together for the purpose."

But Waimate was not more exempt than the other stations from the effects

"Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe;"

and consumption, that great enemy of the Maori race, [153/154] carried off some of the most promising of the converts. One of these was a young man of the name of Huka, who had accompanied Mr. Hamlin from Keri-keri; and who, though far from intelligent in worldly things, had had his heart enlightened in those of eternity. "Shall I ever get to heaven?" said he one day to Mr. Hamlin, "my sins are so great." Mr. Hamlin laid before him the full sacrifice and perfect righteousness of Christ. "That is very sweet," he answered, "but if I were Christ's I should love Him more; my praying heart," ho added, "is very great, I could pray all day; but my loving heart is very small." Mr. Hamlin re-assured him, and bade him look to that heaven where his love for his Saviour would be perfected; and on the second day Huka had entered into rest.

Much, however, as the Missionaries mourned over the loss of so many of their people, they, and indeed the whole Mission, were called to experience a far heavier trial in the death of Mrs. Davis, in the year 1837, after a few hours' illness; and the loss of this excellent woman was the more keenly felt, as it was the first breach made by death in the Missionary band, since the first arrival in 1814.

In their visits to the surrounding country, the Missionaries now began to reap the fruit of their former labours; for several of the young men who had, accompanied them from Keri-keri and Paihia were now competent to teach others, and rejoiced in being permitted, on Sundays or on week-days, either by themselves or in company with one of the brethren, to go from village to village proclaiming the glad tidings of a Saviour's love. Soon the Sabbath began to be almost universally observed in the places they visited; [154/155] and the approach of the teacher was hailed with delight. As soon as he came in sight, a suspended hatchet, or broken hoe, struck in imitation of a bell, gave notice of the service; and a group of from ninety to two hundred natives had presently gathered round, to join in prayer and to listen to the word of God.

Many were seriously and lastingly impressed; at Mawi, in particular, as we might have expected, the Missionaries could rejoice over several. One of these was an aged woman, an elder sister of Rawiri of Paihia, [Taiwunga] who with trembling lip and tearful eye, one day said to Mr. Davis, "You tell me I must repent; I do repent; I confess my sins; I have been a very wicked woman; I have been a thief, a liar, an adulteress; I have been stubborn, noisy, and covetous: but I have done with it all; all I now want is Christ. When Rawiri was here some time ago, he asked me how my heart was, but I told him there was nothing there: no it was not Rawiri made me feel; it was not man, it was God."

A brother of Ripi's was also among the most earnest of the inquirers. One day he called on Mr. Davis. "I am come to talk with you," said he, "I am not come to beg: I do not want the things of this life; no, but I feel my great sins, I want to confess them to you, that they may not gnaw as a worm in my breast." Mr. Davis told him to whom alone he must confess his sins with any prospect of real benefit; and pointed out to him, as simply as he could, the Gospel plan of salvation; and the poor fellow left him, apparently much relieved.

[156] It was about the same time that Mr. Davis met with an unexpected and very encouraging case. It was in November, 1834, that on one of his usual Sunday visits to Mawi he was requested to go to see a poor sick man. Tupapa was an old chief, and his beard was grey; his face, which was elaborately tattooed, had been a remarkably fine one, but it now seemed fixed in death. Mr. Davis knelt over him in deep sorrow of heart. Alas! alas! thought he, what can be done for him now? He spoke to him, and the dying man tried to answer, but his pale blue lips refused to articulate a single word; he tried again, and at length succeeded. As he began to speak, his countenance brightened, he raised his feeble arm, and letting it fall upon his breast, acclaimed, "My mind is fixed on Christ as my Saviour." "How long have you been seeking Christ?" "Since I first heard of Him," he replied; "Christ is in my heart, and my soul is joyful." Mr. Davis urged him to keep fast hold of Christ, and to beware of the tempter. "I have no fear," he answered, "for Christ is with me." After Mr. Davis had read part of John xiv. to him, and joined in prayer, the dying man told him how much he blessed God for sending his messengers to him with the news of salvation. He seemed to long to depart. "Oh," said he, "I shall die to-day; this is the sacred day."

Mr. Davis' feelings may be imagined. "I at first," he writes, "looked on him as a poor ignorant, dying savage; but oh! the infinite riches of sovereign grace! I was kneeling over one of God's dear children, who seemed resting firmly on His omnipotent arm, even in the midst of the river of death. His views of the Saviour were clear, his evidence bright. His [156/157] countenance, already apparently settled in death, beamed with lively joy; the savour of the name of Jesus seemed, as it were, to bring him back for a few minutes into life, that he might leave his dying testimony behind him as to the power of religion to support the soul in death." And now how was it faring all this time with Kai-kohi? Were the hopes of Ripi and Aparahama to be blighted? was the seed they had sown there to wither and come to nought? Far from it; but

"God doth not need
Either man's work, or His own gifts;"

and He carries out His purposes of mercy in His own way, and sometimes by unexpected means.

When Ripi and Aparahama were forbidden to visit Kaikohi, there was no prohibition to prevent the people of the village from going to the Waimate; and not fewer than twenty of the young men, who had been interested in the Gospel message, now became regular weekly attendants at the public worship and the adult school at the settlement; and when they returned to their homes, communicated to others what they had learnt. A year had passed away since the two friends had ceased their visits; the Atua-haere had himself become impressed; and one day Mr. Davis was agreeably surprised by a visit from him, accompanied by two of these same young men. He was very earnest in his inquiries as to his own salvation; and as his companions listened to the conversation, their hearts glowed with thankfulness, and their countenances, as we are told, were lighted up with a joy Such as angels feel at the conversion of a sinner.

The Sunday services at Kaikohi were now resumed; [157/158] a raupo chapel was built; and the following is an interesting description of one of these Sabbath mornings. "Feb. 9, 1834. Held three services at three native villages. The first was at Kaikohi, where I had slept. Here the Sabbath, as far as outward observance goes, is strictly kept. The silence and stillness were quite imposing; all food had been previously prepared, and all work was laid aside. It was one of those lovely mornings almost peculiar to New Zealand; the heat of summer had been tempered by a gentle shower; all nature seemed rejoicing; the grasshoppers were chirping merrily; and the natives, in little groups, were reading to each other the wonderful works of God, or, in their rude way, were attempting to sing His praises. At the time of service, one hundred and twenty-nine assembled in the rough building they call their chapel." In October, 1835, Atua-haere, and thirty of his people, were admitted by Mr. W. Williams into Christ's visible church, by baptism; and thus Ripi, before his death, had the joy of being united to his old friend by better bonds than those of earthly relationship.

But the interesting details of the work of God at Waimate multiply so fast upon us, that we must pass very lightly over the intervening period, up to the year 1840, when, as we have before said, the connected history of the Mission is to cease. We must then only speak of the work as still progressing; the number of inquirers still increasing; [Mr. Davis at one lime speaks of receiving ninety inquirers in one day; on another he had a hundred and sixty-one; and Mr. Clarke says that occasionally his own house was actually "beset" with people before day-break.] distant villages hearing of some strange thing, and sending to inquire [158/159] what it was; [For example, parties came more than once for this purpose from Kaiparo, sixty miles off; the scene, it may be remembered, of one of Hongi's latest and most sanguinary expeditions.] the baptized walking consistently; many gathering round the table of their Lord; and some Sufficiently established to be sent to distant tribes with the Gospel message. [Several of those we shall read of in the 17th Chapter, as being sent to the East Cape, were from this district; one was from Mawi.]

We hardly like to turn from these peaceful, hopeful scenes; and to ask our readers, before we carry them forward to 1840, to go back with us fifteen years, to the time when the very spot on which the settlement now stood was the abode of misery and horror; yet there are two scenes of which we happen to have so graphic a description, and the contrast between which has so forcibly impressed our own mind, that we shall conclude this chapter with them.

Upon Hongi's return from the war with Kaiparo, of which we have spoken before, and in which his favourite son had been slain, he sent a message to the Missionaries at Keri-keri, requesting them to come, and see him; and Mr. Kemp and Mr. Clarke immediately repaired to Waimate. The account of their visit we give in Mr. Clarke's own words. "As we drew near to the valley in which the natives were encamped, we heard doleful lamentations; and when we came in sight, soon discovered they were mourning for Hongi's son, and other chiefs, killed at Kaiparo, whose bodies they had brought, that the bones might be deposited in the family sepulchres. We were conducted to a little eminence, where Hongi sat in sad silence, near a small [159/160] stage on which the bones of his son were to be hereafter deposited. We were received by him with every mark of affection and respect; and though he was himself tapued, and dared not touch food with his own hands, he offered some to us, and bade us sit down near him. We remained silent a long time, according to native custom, and indeed the scenes around us were such as to affect any man, especially one who cared for souls. Wherever we turned our eyes, all was affecting; there were at least sis hundred savages returned from an expedition that had launched many of their countrymen into eternity, and of which the object was to exterminate a whole tribe, from no other motive than the love of conquest. Many of these were grieving for the loss of friends; many were sick and even dying from the effects of their inhuman repasts since the day of battle; and all were without God. On our right, a number of the friends of the deceased were sitting, crying bitterly, wringing their hands and cutting their faces, arms, and necks till the blood ran down to the ground; words cannot express the apparent agony of their minds; while they still more excited their own and others' feelings, by reciting the deeds of valour of the deceased. Behind us lay a disconsolate young widow, probably meditating self-destruction; beside us was sitting an aged and affectionate parent, feeling what none but a tender parent can feel at the loss of a most beloved child, and in a way that none but helpless, hopeless heathens know. Below us, in the valley, was a disgusting scene; the people in the camp were preparing for a great feast; children from five to ten years old were imitating in snort the cruelties of the late battle, while a number of heads of enemies, stuck [160/161] on poles, adorned the frightful spot. We spent three hours with the mourners, condoling with them, and talking to them on the horrors of war,--alas! without effect."

This was in July, 1825. Let us pass over a few years, and in 1840 lot us visit the same spot again, in company with Mr. Jamieson, a gentleman who, having occasion to come to New Zealand on some public business, took the opportunity of judging for himself how far the evil reports he had heard in New South Wales of the Missionary stations were true or false.

After giving a general description of the settlement,--the neat wooden houses, each with its garden and its meadow, its fruits and flowers; the fences covered with roses and many-coloured climbers; the mill; the church, with its neat white spire rising among trees and corn-fields; and the large scattered native village--Mr. Jamieson thus proceeds: "Having risen early on the following morning, I set out to walk through the place: as the sun rose over the eastern ridges, the mists, that during the night had settled on the village, disappeared. [The station was at this time in charge of the Rev. R. Taylor, Mr. Clarke, and Mr. Davis; and the printing press was under Mr. Wade and Mr. Colenso.] The grassy meadows glittered with dew, the workmen had not yet gone forth to their daily labour, and the scene was altogether one of calmness, peace, and security. I had fallen into a train of thought connected with other times and other scenes, when I was aroused by a low and solemn sound, which, after advancing a little further, I found to proceed from a native hut. The inmates were singing their morning hymn; and as I [161/162] proceeded through the village, I heard the same devotional exercises in almost every direction. Nor does it appear that this was merely the observance of an outward ceremony, but that the voice of praise uttered by these half-enlightened New Zealanders was really expressive of a heart-felt sense of gratitude and supplication to the Great Atua who had shed upon them the light of another day. And I subsequently ascertained, in my further travels through the country, that there is scarcely a village, even at a distance from any Missionary settlement, whose inhabitants fail to perform their morning and evening devotions."

This and other similar visits enabled the ingenuous mind of Mr. Jamieson to estimate at their true value, and to trace to their real source, the calumnies with which at this time the Missionaries and their work were assailed. Were it needful, we could quote from other pages of his book, but the following passage will suffice. Referring again to Waimate he says, "It was not without emotion that I beheld this focus of civilization in the heart of New Zealand. Its very existence spoke strongly in favour of the native character; here was no fear, distrust, or animosity; but, on the contrary, the most convincing proofs of the amicable intercourse that had for years subsisted between the natives and the Missionaries. "Between those who receive the advantages of instruction, and those who confer that blessing, it is reasonable to look for a feeling of gratitude on the one hand, and a kind of paternal interest on the other; and such, after an extensive practical observation among the New Zealanders, appeared to me to be the kind of relationship subsisting between them and the Missionaries, wherever the [162/163] native character has not been deteriorated by the temptations to which they are too often exposed by European settlers."

Of these European settlers we shall have more to say on a future page.

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