Chapter XIV. Stations in the Bay of Islands, from 1830 to 1840
We must now go back to the Bay of Islands, and trace the progress of events in the three settlements upon its shores, from the year 1830, when we last spoke of them, up to the period of our taking leave of Waimate, viz. 1840.
Since the death of Hongi, the love of war in this part of the country had appeared to be gradually dying away; but the sad affair at Kororarika, in 1830, had revived it; nor had it yet been again entirely extinguished. A spirit of revenge still burnt in the breasts of those chiefs who had found themselves the weakest; and, afraid to make war on their more powerful neighbours, they resolved to quench their thirst for vengeance, by an unjustifiable attack on the tribes towards the south. Even Tohi-tapu and Titore, lately so desirous for peace, were induced to join the fight. The Missionaries, finding it impossible to prevent this expedition, took the bold step of accompanying it, in the hope of at least mitigating the horrors of the war; and in January, 1832, Mr. H. Williams, Mr. Kemp, and Mr. Fairburn embarked in the "Karere" for the Bay of Plenty. Fearlessly did the little vessel pursue her way, [164/165] surrounded by a fleet of a hundred war-canoes, each one filled with well-armed and angry natives; and as the light of heaven caught her swelling sails, we might have fancied we could see inscribed upon them, "Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God."
The brethren remained for several weeks at Tauranga, softening, though not subduing, the fury of the combatants; and the following year, accompanied by Mr. Chapman, Mr. Williams again proceeded to the scene of strife, where, though, as before, they failed in their endeavours at reconciliation, they won the esteem and affection of many of the southern chiefs.
After some months of uncertain success, the chiefs of the Bay returned disappointed and discontented; the presence of the Missionaries had, they said, made their arms so weak that they could not fire straight. [Human heads were again seen in the neighbourhood of Paihia, but no scenes of cannibalism are known to have taken place.]
And now the notes of war were once more hushed along the shores of this favoured Bay; the war-dance and the yell of triumph were scarcely known, and the word of God would, humanly speaking, have had free course, and have prevailed, had not serious hindrances arisen from other sources; but as we shall have occasion to refer more particularly to these hereafter, we shall pass them over for the present, and proceed to take a cursory view of the settlements themselves.
All were still progressing; the number of converts still increased; and the baptized, with few exceptions, walked consistently, as far as their light and knowledge led them. Yet we must ever bear in mind that [165/166] it was still but early days with these native believers; that even those who were most sincere and earnest, and whose hearts were really given to God, were many of them but babes in Christ, and required much anxious watching, and prayer, and guidance, and reproof. To quote the words of one of the brethren, "When a native begins to think about his soul, and to seek salvation in Jesus, he finds himself ignorant of every good thing, and knows not how to proceed. He does not cast off his ignorance and sin in a day, and become at once an enlightened and civilized Christian. If even in civilized life, where a man has been brought up under the sound of the gospel, and under the laws of his country, that forbid him to steal, to murder, &c.--if even in this case it requires a course of time before an inquirer can be brought to a clear knowledge and an established faith and hope in Christ, what must be the case of a New Zealander who has been from his childhood trained to the commission of every sin? Even when brought to a little knowledge of Divine things, their ideas of truth, honesty, &c, for a long time continue very low."
Quiet progress does not afford much of stirring incident, and yet there are points in each of the three settlements in the Bay, that well deserve a separate notice. Reversing the order of their first establishment, we will begin with
And we cannot present a more graphic picture of this station, than by again referring to Colonel Jacob. "I landed," he says, "late on Saturday evening, February 9th, 1833, at Paihia. An aged chief, surrounded [166/167] by his tribe, was seated on the shore, having rowed from Whangaroa, a distance of some forty miles, on purpose to be present at the Mission services on the Sunday. The next morning, judge of what my feelings were, when in this savage land, once resounding with the cry of human suffering, I was awakened by the early church bell, calling me to one of the most interesting, most solemn services that can be imagined. At eight o'clock the church was filled to overflowing, the men on one side, and the women on the other;--the men carrying their children on their backs in New Zealand style;--and numbers besides, unable to find admission, crowded the windows and the doors. Yet all was quietude and order, and you might have heard a pin drop whilst the preacher was addressing them. The service was commenced by that beautiful hymn of Kelly's translated into Maori, but with Kelly's tune; and the organ was almost drowned by the harmonious voices of the congregation as they sang,
'From Egypt lately come,
Where death and darkness reign,
We seek our new, our better home,
Where we our rest shall gain:
Hallelujah? we are on our way to God.
We hope to join the throng,
Whose pleasures we shall share,
And sing the everlasting song
With all the ransomed there:
Hallelujah! we are on our way to God.'
I could scarcely repress my feelings while I listened to these once savage cannibals now uniting in the praises of God.
"Between the services I accompanied Mr. Brown [167/168] to Kororarika, where a congregation of about seventy soon assembled. Hero also I was astonished to see these apparently savage natives take out their books from under their mats, and turn to the various parts of the service, singing, and joining in the responses with much solemnity and propriety."
The Missionary work at Paihia continued to increase; and sometimes the brethren scarcely found time for anything but conversation with inquirers. The natives in several places, even at Kororarika, established schools of their own; and you might not un-frequently see a chief sitting under a tree and reading the Word of God, or observe a copy of the New Testament half hidden in his mat.
One event that occurred during this time was the occasion of much sorrow to our friends; it was the death of Tohi-tapu. We have often mentioned this chief, and related how, after being the first and fiercest of the assailants of the Missionaries at Paihia, he had become their stedfast friend; and how often, laying aside his former love for war, he had striven to reconcile contending parties. The influence that Mr. H. Williams had over him was quite extraordinary. At his persuasion he would give up a favourite project, or rescue captives from a chief who had unlawfully detained them; and there is one instance so curious, and so painfully characteristic, that we must insert it. It was in March, 1828, that Tohi-tapu one day came to Mr. Williams much excited, and in great distress of mind. One of his wives had misconducted herself, and proved herself unworthy of his affection. The poor man was miserable, he talked of killing himself, for he could not eat, and was sure he should be [168/169] starved. In a reproachful tone, he said, that had it not been for the Missionaries, all would now be well, for he should have killed and eaten a slave, and his heart would have been at ease. Mr. Williams tried to soothe him, and after a time Tohi-tapu departed, apparently much quieted. But the next morning he rushed in again, while the family were at breakfast, in still greater agitation than on the preceding day, exclaiming he should die of hunger. Mr. and Mrs. Williams, knowing his fondness for English food, pressed him to partake of theirs; but he refused, and brandishing a hatchet he carried in his hand, and with which he had, he said, on previous occasions sent sixteen persons to Reinga, declared that nothing should stop him from satisfying his hunger by again killing and eating some one. [Reinga, a place of departed spirits.] Mr. Williams made him sit down by him, spoke plainly to him of the wickedness of such an act; told him that Satan was trying to get him for himself; till at last the conquered chief threw his hatchet from him, exclaiming he would never again use it for such a purpose. And we believe he kept his word. Poor Tohi-tapu! there was much in him that was hopeful; he kept the Sabbath day, he regularly attended the means of grace, he had learned to control his fiery passions, and when the natives of Kororarika repeatedly urged him to become their chief, offered him pecuniary advantages, and promised to send him muskets, he steadily refused to leave the neighbourhood of the Missionaries. He told them he cared not for muskets, and if they sent him any he should make them into rafters for his house. Sometimes he even fancied [169/170] himself a Christian, hut those who knew him better than he knew himself, could trace no evidence of a work of grace in him.
At the affray at Kororarika in 1830, he had been one of the most active fellow-workers with Mr. Mars-den in promoting peace; but soon after, he fell under the influence of the ungodly traders at Kororarika, who embittered his mind against the Missionaries, and he began to treat even Mr. H. Williams with rudeness and neglect. He joined the war expedition of 1832 and 1833, against Tauranga, and was after his return taken seriously ill. The brethren frequently visited him, and endeavoured to make some impression on his heart, but in vain, and Tohi-tapu died, as he had lived, a heathen!
Thanks be to God, many a bright picture at Paihia might be put in contrast with poor Tohi-tapu's life and death; but we shall select an instance from another station.
Here, as elsewhere, consumption, that bane of the Maori race, had found many victims. One of these was Anne Waiapu, a young woman of much promise. When quite a little girl, she had, at her own request, been taken into the household of Mr. Kemp, where she lived for several years, as a faithful, affectionate, and industrious servant. But her attachment to her master's family did not incline her towards their religion, and she continued to cling with such "frightful eagerness" to her native superstitions, that it seemed [170/171] as though all the Christian instruction she received would only prove to her a savour of death. In 1828 she married a very steady young man named Waiapu; and her conduct as a wife and mother was very exemplary, though neither she nor her husband gave any evidence of a change of heart. In 1830, Waiapu was enticed to join in the fighting at Kororarika, and was mercifully preserved in safety. His conscience was struck with the guilt of engaging in this unholy strife, and with the goodness of God in sparing him; and he could find neither rest nor peace, till, after some time, it pleased God to reveal to him His love in Christ Jesus. It now appeared that his wife's mind had for a good while been gradually undergoing the same transformation; and before long they both became candidates for baptism. Soon after their admission to the holy ordinance, Anne showed symptoms of consumption; and though at first she felt confident of her recovery, her illness led her to a stricter self-examination, and a deeper abasement before God and man; and faithful as she had been in her earthly service, she was now distressed at her many shortcomings, ashamed, as she said, that she had done so little for her kind mistress, from, whom she had received so much. As the conviction of the real state of her health broke in upon her mind, she still remained calm and peaceful, only becoming more earnest in her conversation and in her prayers. The eternal welfare of her husband and children lay very much upon her heart. "James," she would say with great earnestness, "I think now I shall die, do not keep my children from going to heaven; lead them to God, the great and the good." As her [171/172] illness increased, her mouth was filled with praise. "Ah, my mother," she said one day to Mrs. Kemp, who was tenderly soothing her pain, "Ah, good-bye, I am going to Jesus, who greatly loves me: I shall see Him now. I have seen Him with my heart, and I love Him with my heart; it is not my lips only that believe in Him." She was very anxious to partake of the Lord's supper. "Tell me," said she to the Missionary, "may I be carried to the house of prayer the next Lord's day, and will you let James and me eat of the bread and drink of the cup of which our Lord said, 'Do tin's in remembrance of me?'" Her request was complied with, and the next Sunday she was taken in a litter into the house of God, and laid down near the Communion table. It was a very affecting service; no New Zealander had yet been admitted to the table of the Lord; and here was the first native communicant eating the bread and drinking the cup, just before she was passing into the presence of Him who had given His body and shed His blood for her. Her end was now fast approaching; and as it drew more near, her love for her husband and children became more intense, and her joy and faith more bright. "Jesus Cubist is mine, and I am Jesus Christ's," she one day exclaimed; "I know Him now, I know Him now, He is come here," laying her hand upon her heart, "and He will not go away any more." Do you not wish to recover? she was asked. "What! "she answered, "and Jesus the Saviour to be sometimes with me, and sometimes not; and I sometimes thinking evil, and sometimes thinking good! No, no, Mrs. Kemp will be a better mother to my children than I should be; [172/173] I will go." She had become insensible for several days; but recovering her senses for a short time before her death, she called her children to her, and commending them to her God and Saviour, wept over them and delivered them to her sorrowing husband. "Oh my husband!" cried she, "but I have two husbands, Jests is one. Poor James, poor James, my husband in heaven calls me and I must leave you. "Will you come too? Yes, and we shall be happy, happy, happy." The scene was very affecting; the dying woman's head rested on Mary Taua, who had been baptized with her, and who in health and in sickness had been her constant companion and friend. At her feet sat her disconsolate husband, soothing and weeping over his infant children; by her side was her widowed, and soon to become her childless, father, his cheek resting upon hers; while all the natives round were in tears for the loss of one they so much loved.
Colonel Jacob visited also the settlement at Keri-keri, with the same pleasure and satisfaction he had experienced at Paihia. "In the room in which I slept," he says, "marks of window bars were still visible. All now was quiet, but only a few years before all had been violence and plunder. The inmates had not unfrequently been put in fear of their lives; and the ovens, in which human captives had not long before been cooked and eaten, were still visible from my window. How changed was the station of Keri-keri! At nine o'clock at night resounded the voice of prayer and the hymn of praise from many a New Zealander's hut around me; and this family worship was general through the settlement, in addition to the well-attended daily morning and evening services in the station [173/174] church. I do not say that all this community were spiritually enlightened, but very many were, and very many were devout communicants; and all desired to know and feel more deeply the influence of that gospel which had done so much for those around them.
"Numbers came here to learn to read and write, and here they laid aside their antipathies and border quarrels. Some who had long been separated by blood-tends were here to be seen in the same class, learning together as friends; and when able to read, they not unfrequently departed taking with them books to instruct their friends at home. In this way many instances have occurred in which the public services of the church have been held, and the Sabbath day kept holy, only in consequence of these instructions; and thus a way has been prepared for the Missionary of Christ."
Since the death of Hongi, the outward circumstances of Keri-keri had been much changed. Bands of fighting men no longer gathered round to fill the Missionaries' hearts with anxiety and alarm; but then they had lost these opportunities of speaking a word in season; and as nearly all the neighbouring population had migrated to other places, the brethren had time to spare from the instruction of their own natives, to visit those in distant districts.
Some of the most encouraging of these visits were paid to Whangaroa Bay, where a spirit of inquiry had been awakened, and where the shores, that had witnessed the massacre of the Boyd, and the flames of the Wesleyan settlement, were now often heard to [174/175] resound with prayer and praise. The means that God used to awaken this spirit are worth recording.
Several years before, some lads from Whangaroa had been in the school at Keri-keri; and three or four of these, who were the least promising, after a while grew restless, and returned to their own friends and former ways. For a long time, the instruction they had received lay, as it were, dead within their hearts, till Porotene Ripi, who was related to some of the chiefs, and who, as we have seen, left no means untried to win souls to the Saviour whom he loved, paid a visit to these villages, and urged his friends to attend to the things of eternity. The lads were roused, and, recalling what they had learnt, endeavoured to communicate it to others. A general desire for instruction was kindled; Tupe, a chief of some distinction, built a commodious chapel, and, together with a son of Hongi's, to whom had been given a better spirit than his father's, was urgent with the Missionaries of Keri-keri to come and settle there. Besides the many applications by word of mouth, Hongi wrote the following letter to Mr. Kemp. "Mr. Kemp, this is my saying to you, I am sick for you to be a father to me. I am very sick for a white man to preach to me; 1 will never cease contending with you. I am very good for you, Mr. Kemp, to be a father to me, and to Rewa-Bewa, and to Tupe. This is all my speech. By Hongi." "Nothing good will stick by us," wrote another chief, "because there is no one to take care of us, there is no one to take care of us. Come here, and be a father to us. "What shall we do that is good, if we have none to take care of us?"
 These earnest entreaties were complied with, as soon as circumstances permitted, and in 1839, Mr. Shepherd took up his permanent abode at Whangaroa. Several of the chiefs had already been baptized, among whom Tupe is especially noticed, as "a Christian indeed."
This, the earliest of all the stations, and which was, as will be remembered, on the northern shore of the Bay, continued under the charge of Mr. King, whose actual residence was however removed to Tepuna, a village about two miles distant. Hero he laboured, as he ever had done, diligently and anxiously in his Master's service, and here he had the comfort of seeing a gradual and steady improvement. Some of his baptized young men became teachers of others, and went into the villages round to offer to their heathen neighbours the salvation ill which they were themselves rejoicing. Warepoaka also had emancipated himself from the influence of evil-minded Europeans, and not only returned to his early friendliness, but rejoiced the heart of Mr. King by his reception of Christianity; and died, as there was every reason to hope, a real believer in Cueist Jesus.
Mr. King was sometimes assisted by some of the other brethren; and on one occasion, Mr. Brown accidentally met with a sort of meditation written in the blank leaf of a book belonging to one of the lads, a translation of which will interest our readers. "Oh Jesus," it begins, "we cannot perfectly believe in Thee. Bound by the evil spirit, he will not let our hearts go, [176/177] lest we believe in Thee, O Christ! lest we also be saved by Thee, O Jesus, Thou Son of God! O Jesus, how great is thy love to us! Thou earnest down from heaven, when Thou didst understand the anger of Thy Father to all mankind. They were going to the place of torment, they were not going to Him. Thou saidst, I go to the natural world to be slain as a payment for this sin. I will purchase them with my blood "