Project Canterbury

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

By Miss Tucker

New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1866.

Chapter XVII. Waikato--East Cape--Kapiti--Tamahana Rauparaha

"As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me." Psalm xviii. 44.

We have not yet completed our list of the southern stations established about this time, nor the instances they afford of the wonder-working power of Divine grace upon the native heart: the next we shall mention is


This station, situated on the western coast, and having Manakan for its out-station, was commenced by the Rev. R. Maunsell and Mr. Hamlin in the year 1837; and being happily removed from the immediate seat of the war that was then desolating the country to the cast and south, was preserved from any serious interruption.

We shall pass over the first three years of its existence till we come to 1840; and well may we give praise to God for the blessing He bestowed on the labours of His servants, when we find that during that short period no fewer than three hundred and forty adults had been baptized, besides many children. Above a hundred of these had at this time become communicants, and the whole number of attendants at [204/205] Divine worship throughout the district was computed at fifteen hundred.

There were several cases that called forth Mr. Maunsell's peculiar interest. One of these was a lad, who, when dying of consumption, employed his last breath in urging his half-awakened father, of whom he was very fond, to be "strong in prayer." "Pray," he would say to him, "as you used to do when you stirred up your people to the fight. Cleave to Christ, cleave to Christ, and oh! that we may live together for ever!"

Another was a young "Ariki" or head chief, of the name of Ngataru. He was a stranger to the Missionaries, and lived at some distance from the settlement; but Mr. Maunsell, hearing he was ill, determined to go and see him, expecting however that "tapu" would prevent his being admitted. To his surprise he was received with a hearty welcome, and to his still greater astonishment and joy, he found both Ngataru and his wife anxious to speak on the subject of religion. A New Testament had somehow or another fallen in be their hands; they had learnt to read it; and though they had neither of them ever attended any religious instruction, nor, as it would seem, had ever seen a Christian teacher, yet God himself must have taught them, for many of the truths contained in their well-worn little volume had entered into their hearts. They spoke of the salvation of their souls: "On what," asked Mr. Maunsell, "do you rest for salvation?" "On the cross of Christ." "What good thing have you to bring you to God?" "Nothing but the death of Christ." "Do you not think the tapu will restore [205/206] you to health?" "Oh no, it is all 'heri-heri'" (mere nonsense).

Of their own accord they moved into the settlement that; they might receive regular instruction, and after some time Mr. Maunsell spoke to them of baptism. There was an evident hanging back, and Mr. Maunsell was discouraged. By degrees he discovered the cause. Being of the highest rank, Ngataru's clothes were considered peculiarly sacred, and should they be desecrated by being worn when he was baptized, his relations would fall upon him, and plunder him of all his small possessions. He was himself willing to run the risk, and so was his wife, as far as temporal losses might ensue; but she feared lest her husband's mind should be again brought into bondage by the mere possession of what he had once held in so much veneration. She joined with Mr. Maunsell in advising him to follow the example of those who used curious arts among the Ephesians; and when Mr. Maunsell rose on the morning of their baptism, he saw the smoke of Ngataru's burning wardrobe ascending from before his hut. The whole consisted only of two blankets and a mat; but He who accepted "a turtle dove or two young pigeons," where a costlier offering could not be procured, did not, we are persuaded, disdain the sacrifice of the young chiefs all.


And now if our readers will turn to the map prefixed to this volume, and recross the Island towards the east, they will, after passing Lake Taupo and Roto-rua, come to a large district to which we have hitherto [206/207] made no allusion, viz. the country to the south and west of the East Gape.

Here a more extensive work was carried on than any we have yet related; and we shall give the account of it nearly in Archdeacon W. Williams' own words.

"We had as yet," said the Archdeacon, "had no intercourse with the populous districts to the south of the East Cape, but in the course of 1833 about twenty of these natives were, against their own will, landed at the Bay of Islands, 300 miles from their home, by the master of a whaling vessel." [See C.M.S. Intelligencer for February, 1852. "Address delivered in Magdalen Hall, Oxford."] Some of the people wished to detain them as slaves, but the Missionaries interfered, and they were removed to Paihia. Here they were accidentally, or rather providentially, detained for some months; and received the same advantages of instruction as the other natives residing at the settlement. In January, 1834, Mr. W. Williams carried them back to their own country, and, again quoting his own words, "Much joy was evinced by the people at the return of their relatives, of whom they had heard nothing since their departure. It was Saturday, and we reached the village of Rangitukia late in the afternoon. Rukuata, the chief of our party, gave out to the natives that the following day was to be a day of rest, when they were to assemble, and listen to the worship the white people pay to the God of Heaven. After our prayers that same evening, which were held in the open air in the midst of a large concourse of wondering savages, our chief gave them a long account of what he had heard and seen in the Bay of Islands. On the following day the people came [207/208] together as directed, preparations were made by Rukuata in a large open space within the Pa; and there the congregation assembled. I never saw a more orderly body of people. By the direction of Rukuata, they stood when we stood, and knelt when we knelt, and listened during the whole time of service with extreme attention, (there were from 800 to 1000 present). It was but a transient visit we could pay them, for we had to continue our voyage. Our attention soon after this was engaged with the new settlements in the South, then struggling for their existence; [See Chapter xvi.] and we heard no more of Rukuata and his party till three years afterwards, when a Waimate chief returned from a visit to the Rast Cape, and told us that the natives there were become a Christian people, strictly observing the Sabbath day, and meeting together for religious worship. He said that this change had taken place ever since the return of Rukuata, and that Taumatakara, a. slave who had lived some years in the Mission station at Waimate, had regularly taught the people, many of whom could read. This native had obtained the more influence, because, having lately accompanied them in an attack upon the Pa of their enemies, he had voluntarily exposed himself to great danger, with his book in one hand and his musket in the other; and escaping unhurt,- they ascribed his safety and their own success to the protection and favour of the God of Christians. Thus, with a remarkable mixture of superstition on the one hand, and of an honest desire, on the other, to communicate the little knowledge he possessed, an effect was produced by this man that reached to the distant villages; and the minds of the people were [208/209] prepared for further instruction. It now became an imperative duty to take effectual steps for the improvement of this favourable opening. As a preparatory measure, we selected from among our own Christian natives those of the most steady character, who were willing to become teachers; [One of these was from Ripi's village of Mawi, and thus that good man's influence was brought to bear on these distant tribes.] these being for the most part some of the captives who had in former wars been brought from this very country. They were provided with books and slates, and towards the end of 1838 were located at different villages along the coast. The teachers applied themselves with great diligence to their appointed work, and the natives came forward as with one consent. They were evidently a people made ready by God in the day of His power; so that when at length these places were taken up as Missionary stations, we found large congregations assembling, schools in active operation, and many candidates in a state of forward preparation for baptism."

In January, 1840, the Rev. W. Williams undertook the charge of this whole district; no other European could be spared to assist him in what he calls his "parish of two degrees and a half in length, and containing 36,000 souls;"--and he was obliged to content himself with the help of his twenty native teachers. Throughout the district, at this time, there were more than 8000 assembling regularly for worship, and at Turanga, where Mr. Williams fixed his residence, the natives at their own expense built a large church 90 feet by 44. [Mr. Williams was appointed Archdeacon in 1813.]

[210] The work steadily advanced, and "the number of communicants in the year 1849 amounted to 2893." Well might the favoured Missionary say, that "God had blessed His vineyard with increase!" [Among the other encouragements that Mr. Williams had in his work, he mentions two youths who came to him from a hundred miles off.]


But of all the more southern stations formed about this time, that of Kapiti, in the neighbourhood of Cook's Straits, was established under circumstances perhaps more remarkable than any.

It seems that in the year 1838, Matahau, a native of this tribe, having obtained his freedom, left the Bay of Islands where he had been living for several years, and set off for the South in quest of his relations. He had spent some time at Paihia, and had received much instruction, but it had made no impression on him, and when he left the settlement he did not even take his books with him. On his way he passed through Roto-rua, and in company with, some of these people he proceeded to Otaki, where Rauparaha, the fiercest chief of the southern tribes, was then residing. The son of Rauparaha, a very intelligent young man, was inquisitive to hear the news from the North. Matahau gave him a long account of the former wars of the Ngapuis, and of their now being tired of fighting; and then spoke of the white men and their religion, of their books and their teaching the natives to read. The new idea of books seized on the mind of young Rauparaha; he desired to know what the white men's [210/211] religion was, and passionately longed to acquire the mysterious art of reading. [From the young chief's own account, his mind had long been led to see the emptiness of the Maori superstitions.] He entreated Matahau to instruct him; but Matahau had no books, and none were to be procured at Otaki. At last Matahau remembered that some of his travelling companions from Roto-rua had spoken of some books they had with them. Young Rauparaha eagerly caught at this, and with some difficulty and at considerable price he succeeded in obtaining the desired treasures. There was a Common Prayer Book, an Elementary Catechism, and the remains of a torn Gospel of St. Luke, of which the rest had been used for cartridges. In the opening page of this Gospel was the name of Ngahuhu; so wonderfully had God ordered it, that this portion of the spoil taken from that chief and his friends, two years before, should thus have been preserved, and brought, so to speak, accidentally to Otaki, that from it the son of the savage Rauparaha might learn the way of salvation!

"We will now take the young chief's own account "I and Te Whiwhi (his cousin) and ten young men asked Matahau to teach us to read the book. Then some of the people said, 'Why do you want to read the book?' others said, 'It is a bad book.' I said to Whiwhi, 'Never mind their words, let us read.' My heart and Whiwhi's, and the other young men's, longed to hear the new talk. Matahau read the Catechism first to us; then I spoke out loud to the ten young men, and said, 'Those words are good words, I believe all.' Whiwhi said so too, and Uremutu, but the [211/212] others did not believe; they said, 'It is not true.' Te Whiwhi said, 'If you do not believe, I do;' and he and I said we would take Matahau to teach us the book. We took him to Kapiti, that we might be quiet. [An island off that part of the coast belonging to the young chief's father.] We gave him food, and clothes, and everything. We were in Kapiti with Matahau near six months. We learnt every day, every night. We did not lie down to sleep. We sat at night in the hut all round tin) iirc in the middle. Whiwhi had part of the book, and I part. Sometimes we went to sleep upon the book, then woke up and read again. After we had been there six months, we could read a little, very slowly."

After this the two young chiefs took Matahau with them to some villages en the mainland to teach the people "about the book." "These people," proceeds the narrative, "liked it very much; they believed, and they all wanted the book. I told them I could not give them my part of it, but I told Matahau to write for them on paper, Our Father, &e. He wrote it for them all, and they learnt it. Before, Matahau had not believed, but now his heart began to grow. We talked to him, and he believed."

The narrative then goes on to tell of these two interesting and earnest young men, desirous to "hear the words straight from a white man's mouth," setting off for the Bay of Islands. Rauparaha, the father, strongly objected to their going; aid endeavoured to prevail on the captain of the ship in which they had taken their passage to put them ashore on the territories of a friend of his, Hangihaeta, where ho knew they would [212/213] be safe from Christian influence. But neither his remonstrances nor his schemes succeeded, and in due time they reached the Bay.

We must omit many particulars of this visit, noi may we dwell on the surprise and sorrow of young Rauparaha at finding the chief Pomare, who had so long had the Missionaries living near him, speak of them as "bad men, for they do not drink or fight, nor give vis muskets and grog, like the whaling men." He had long conversations with Mr. H. Williams, and his brother, who was then at the Waimate, and strengthened his urgent entreaty for a Missionary by repeating those words from St. Matt. v. 14, which he had learnt from Matahau, "Ye are the light of the world." "The light of the gospel," said he, "has come to the Bay of Islands, it is light, why not send the light further,--to all?" But he was told to his great distress that no Missionary could be spared to return with him. 'Oh dark, very dark, our hearts were, we said, we have left our homes, our wives, and our people, we have come this long way, and now we do not hear good talk. Then we went to our ship, very dark. We stayed in our cabin two weeks. One day a sailor called out that the Missionary's boat had come, and they were calling for me. We ran quickly, for my heart was happy. Mr. Williams said, 'Friends, do not be angry with mo any more; here is your Missionary.' His name was the Rev. O. Hadfield. He had heard us speak to Mr. Williams at Waimate, but he did not understand what we said. When we were gone, he said to Mr. Williams, 'What did those Maoris say?' Mr. Williams told him that we wanted a Missionary; and God put it into his heart to come with us. We [213/214] said, 'we are very much obliged to you, and we were very happy.'" Mr. H. Williams accompanied Mr. Hadfield and the two young chiefs to the proposed new station; they landed at Port Nicholson, and walked overland to the part of the coast opposite Kapiti. At several places the people came out to welcome them, inviting them to remain and partake of their hospitality; nor would they allow them to depart without a few words of instruction, as they said they also were believers in Jesus Christ. When they arrived at Waikanae, opposite to Kapiti, they were conducted into a spacious area within the Pa, where about 1200 were assembled to greet them. There was just time to hold service before sunset, in the course of which two hymns were sung, the tunes of which were original, and purely native. Matahau, it appeared, since his own heart had boon changed, had been labouring here in instructing others. Many were in a very inquiring frame of mind; they had even erected a neat church, lined with tall reeds, ready for the expected Missionary.

It was in 1839 that Mr. Hadfield was thus led to take up his abode at Kapiti; in about six months he had the satisfaction of baptizing about twenty natives, among whom were Matahau, and the two young chiefs who had been so zealous and so active in obtaining for themselves and their tribe the privileges and blessings of Christian instruction. Young Rauparaha took the name of Tamahana, (or Thompson,) Matahau that of Joseph, and Te Whiwhi was called Henera Matene (or Henry Martyn). "We were all very happy that day," wrote Tamahana; "our hearts cried, we were very happy."

[215] Since that time Tamahana has become well known to friends in England. He accompanied Archdeacon W. Williams on his visit to this country in 1851, and returned with him to his native land, carrying with him the affectionate interest and esteem of all who knew him.

Fair are New Zealand's wooded mountains,
Deep glens, blue lakes, and dizzy steeps:
But, sweeter than the murmuring fountains,
Rises the song from holy lips.
"By blood did Jesus come to save us,
So deeply stained with brothers' blood:
Our hearts we'll give to Him who gave us
Deliverance from the fiery flood." [Jubilee Hymn, by the late Rev. H. W. Fox.]

Project Canterbury