Chapter XIX. Arrival of the Bishop--Waimate--Statistics of Missions in 1854
"I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together."--Isaiah xli. 19.
IT was well that, before we began our work, we had fixed on the year 1840 as the limit of out connected history of this Mission; for the stations now became so multiplied, and the details necessarily so complicated, that though the subsequent period abounds in facts of the deepest interest, we should in vain have attempted to convey any distinct idea of them in a single volume.
Our intention therefore is, after very slightly glancing at some of the intervening events, to occupy this and the following chapter with a statistical account of the New Zealand stations connected with the Church Missionary Society, in 1854.
The year 1842 was marked by the arrival of the Bishop: he was cordially welcomed by the Missionaries; and for some days took up his abode with Mr. H. Williams at Paihia. He subsequently removed to the Waimate, and was so pleased with the locality and all the attendant circumstances of the settlement, that he there fixed his family and whole establishment, while he himself set out on a visit to his large and interesting diocese. The Bishop's active habits and [230/231] powers of walking gave him a remarkable advantage in this tour; as they enabled him to penetrate into parts of the country otherwise inaccessible, and brought before him scenes which he would scarcely otherwise have witnessed. One of these was in the eastern district of the Island. The Bishop and his party had crossed the Island on foot or in canoes from Munawatu, had been to Ahuriri, where was already "a very numerous Christian community, though they had only once been visited by a Missionary;" and after a toilsome walk through the whole day, over sandstone hills, they pitched their tents on Saturday night for the day of rest. "On Sunday, November 20," wrote the Bishop, "we enjoyed another peaceful Sunday. The morning opened, as usual, with the morning hymn of the birds, which Captain Cook compares to a concert of silver bells, beginning an hour before the sun rises, and ceasing as soon as it appears above the horizon. When the song of the birds was ended, the sound of native voices round our tents carried on the same tribute of praise and thanksgiving; while audible murmurs on every side brought to our ears the passages of the Bible which others were reading to themselves. I have never felt the full blessing of the Lord's day, as a day of rest, more than in New Zealand, when, after encamping late on Saturday night with a weary party, you will find them, early on the Sunday morning, seated quietly round their fires, with their New Testaments in their hands."
Many incidents of interest occurred to the Bishop on his journeys, but we shall content ourselves with one more. He was intending, in company with some of the Missionaries, to row down the Wanganui to the [231/232] western coast, but when the party reached the river there were there no canoes ready for them; arid it was impossible to make their way by land along its beautifully wooded banks, as in many places the stream is enclosed in walls of rock, leaving no footing on cither side. To retrace their steps would have caused a too long delay; and, as provisions were running short, they could not remain for the uncertain arrival of the expected canoes. An air-bed, which the Bishop carried with him, was therefore fastened to a rude frame of sticks, and on it two natives paddled down the stream to the nearest village at which a canoe could be procured. A very small one was brought back; and in it the Bishop, and three natives on whom he could depend, started for a row of 150 miles down the river, leaving the others to follow the circuitous route by land. We now quote the journal itself: "November 19th, 1843, Sunday. Having ascertained the distances of some of the principal Pas on the river, I resolved to take a service at each, in order to see the greatest possible number of natives; being disappointed by the delay of the canoes, in my hopes of spending the week on the river. We started at day-break; and at a quarter to nine, the usual time for morning service, arrived at Utapu, where I found a congregation of more than one hundred preparing for Divine worship, in a very neat native chapel. After spending two hours with them, I went on a short distance to Riri-a-te Pa, where I superintended the usual mid-day school, at which the natives read the New Testament and repeat the Catechism, ending with singing and prayer. Two hours more brought me to Piperiki, where I gave a short address to about two hundred natives, and inspected a new [232/233] chapel which they had lately opened; a most creditable piece of native workmanship. From thence we proceeded to Pukekika, the most populous of the river Pas, where I assembled, at the evening service, a congregation of three or four hundred natives. A quiet row of an hour brought us at sunset to Ikurangi, where we slept. A more lovely day in respect of weather, or one more full of interest in respect of its moral circumstances, or of pleasure from the beauty of the scenery through which I passed, I never remember to have spent. It was a day of intense delight from beginning to end--from the earliest song of the birds, who awakened me in the morning, to the evening hymn of the natives, which was just concluded when I reached the door of the native chapel at Ikurangi."
The view taken by the Bishop of the general work of the Mission, will best appear by inserting an extract from a sermon he preached at Paihia in June, 1842. "CHRIST has blessed the work of His ministers in a wonderful manner. We see here a whole nation of pagans converted to the faith. God has given a new heart and a new spirit to thousands after thousands of our fellow-creatures in this distant quarter of the earth. A few faithful men, by the power of the Spirit of God, have been the instruments of adding another Christian people to the family of God. Young men and maidens, old men and children, all with one heart and with one voice praising God; all offering up daily their morning and evening prayers; all searching the Scriptures to find the way of eternal life; all valuing the Word of God above every other gift; all, in a greater or less degree, bringing forth and visibly displaying in their outward lives some fruits of the [233/234] influences of the Spirit. Where will you find throughout the Christian world more signal manifestations of the presence of the Spirit, or more living evidences of the kingdom of CHRIST?"
How honoured was the Church Missionary Society in having been God's privileged instrument in this great, this blessed work! For it will doubtless be remembered, that although there are now other clergymen labouring in the country, yet that, before the arrival of the Bishop, the only ministers and teachers of the Gospel throughout the whole Island, except those sent out by the Wesleyan Missionary Society, who were chiefly located on the western coast, wore the Missionaries and Catechists of our own Society.
In 1843, the Bishop admitted to holy orders the long-tried and earnest Christian teacher, Mr. E. Davis; and in the course of the following year, Messrs. Chapman, Davies, Hamlin, and Matthews were also ordained; and the Revs. W. Williams, H. Williams, A. N. Brown, and O. Hadfield were appointed Archdeacons.
In November, 1844, the Bishop removed with his family and establishment from the Waimate to Auckland; and the Rev. R. Burrows, who since his arrival in 1840 had resided at Kororarika, took charge of this hitherto peaceful and flourishing station. Alas! its peace and prosperity were now to suffer a sad interruption; the Waimate was in the centre of the disturbed districts; and Heki used every means in his power to draw the Christian natives over to his side. Can we wonder that with all their love for their country, and with all the jealousy of Europeans that had been so industriously infused into their minds, many [234/235] even at Waimate should for a time have been drawn aside? The congregations were reduced, children were withdrawn from the schools; and the occupation of the settlement as a military post by our own soldiers completed the change at Waimate.
But Mr. and Mrs. Burrows did not move; a few faithful people still remained, and their minister would not forsake them; his influence also tended to restrain, in some measure, any disorderly conduct of the soldiers; and he found that his continual visits to and from the hostile parties were very useful in softening the asperities on both sides, as well as in prevailing on many to refrain from taking part with Heki, and to remain quiet and neutral.
How thankful was our Missionary when peace was again restored! It was some time however before the settlement returned to its former state. The houses had been roughly used by their military occupants, two had been burnt to the ground, many trees- had been cut down, and the gardens and fields had run to waste; and though, as one of the Christian natives remarked, Waimate was still "the bright spot of blue sky, which, while the heavens were black around them, gave hopes that the storm would soon pass away," yet it was long before the native mind recovered from the blighting effects of war and bloodshed.
No amount however of discouragement prevented Mr. Burrows from steadily persevering in his work; and the state of the settlement soon improved. The faithful few whom we have already mentioned still cheered him by their stedfastness, and some of those who had been drawn aside gradually resumed their former habits, and the congregation again increased.
 One of the first employments of our Missionary was to re-establish the schools which had been broken up by the war; and ninety girls were soon collected to be fed, and clothed, and taught. The education of the boys was as important as that of the girls; but Mr. Burrows had no funds, and he therefore proposed to open a school in which the boys should be instructed for half the day, on condition of their cultivating the land for their own support during the remaining hours. This was acceded to, and about thirty lads were soon established at the Waimate. They worked well, and in the course of the second year raised more potatoes than were required for their own consumption. Naturally enough, Mr. Burrows proposed that the surplus should be made over to the girls' school; but the Maori pride was roused at the idea of the lords of the creation labouring for women; and a deputation from the boys went to Mr. Burrows to remonstrate. The agreement, they said, had been that they should work for themselves, and this they had done; but no mention had been made of supplying the girls. Mr. Burrows put his hand on one of their jackets which had been made at the girls' school, and quietly asked: "And when the agreement was made between us, was any mention made of the girls making your jackets for you?" The boys hung down their heads, walked away in silence, and no difficulty was in future raised on this important point.
There were several interesting circumstances connected with these schools. One of the girls was an orphan, the god-daughter of an aged chief who was exceedingly fond of her; and when he brought her to school, committed her with affectionate earnestness to [236/237] the special care of the Missionary and the teacher. This man had been one of the most savage of New Zealand's warriors, and a strong opposer of the Missionaries. They had often spoken to him of eternal things, but without effect; and the only answer they often received was a look of contemptuous defiance, accompanied by that hideous expression of Maori dislike, the protruding the tongue till it reached the top of the chin. But he had now been made a new creature in Christ Jesus, his passions were subdued, and he had become as earnest for the salvation of others as he had once been foremost in war and cannibalism. The soul of his god-daughter was a chief subject of his anxious cave, and he watched her progress with interest and hope. She had been three years at school when she was taken very ill, and the god-father was sent for. At first her state of mind did not satisfy the good chief's anxious heart; but he talked to her, read with her, and prayed with her; he led her to the Saviour; and at the end of three weeks of patient, watchful attendance, he saw her depart in peace, and received from her dying lips the assurance that she was happy and going to Jesus. He felt her death deeply, but could say, "Do not suppose I want her back again; in her lifetime I had many anxious thoughts about her; but now she has fallen asleep in Jesus, and is beyond the reach of every temptation."
Another case was that of a little boy of five years old, in the Infant School. He was taken ill, and was sent to the sick-house that he might be properly nursed. The poor child begged that his sister, a little older than himself, and also in the school, might come to see him. When she entered the room, he anxiously looked [237/238] to see if she had anything in her hand, but finding she had not, exclaimed, "Have you not brought me any. thing?" "What did you wish me to bring you?" inquired the sister. "I hoped you would have brought your New Testament, I want you to read it to me." The Testament was soon fetched; and it was a sweet sight to see the two dear children, the one reading, the other eagerly drinking in the words of eternal life. The little girl constantly visited and read to her suffering brother; some passages seemed peculiarly to interest him, and "Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven," was one he specially delighted in. So fearful was he of the precious volume being mislaid or carried away, that as soon as his sister had finished reading, he would take it from her, and put it under his pillow, till one morning, which proved to be the last morning of his short life, instead of placing it then as usual, he retained it in his hand, where after his death it was found, too tightly grasped to be removed without force, and it was buried with him. "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou perfected praise."
But we must proceed to the statistics of the Mission.
Stations. Missionaries and European Catechists.
Kaitaia. Rev. J. Matthews, Mr. W. C. Puckey.
Kaikohi. Rev. R. Davis.
Waimate and Paihia. Rev. R. Burrows, Rev. W. C. Dudley, Mr. E. Williams.
Mr. Burrows and Mr. Dudley are at present in England on account of health. Mr. Matthews is in charge of Waimate. Archdeacon H. Williams resides at Pakaraka, about 6 miles from Waimate.
Has been relinquished as a regular station for the last three or four years; and in May, 1854, Mr. King, of whom we have so often spoken, peacefully entered into his rest, after nearly forty years of patient labour in the service of his Lord. He had been permitted, in addition to the other fruits of his labour, to see the conversion of the sister of his first friend, the chief Ruatara. Kahurere, for such was her native name, had long been a steady friend to the Missionaries; she was peaceable and industrious, but many yean; passed before she showed any signs of spiritual life. At length it pleased God to open her eyes, and quicken her soul; and in 1810 she was baptized. In 1846, she died at an advanced age, but with her mind clear, calm, and intelligent to the last, and resting on Jesus Christ, who, as she would say, "died for sinners like me."
Has also been given up, on account of the rapid diminution of the population.
Continues under the faithful and active care of the Rev. J. Matthews and Mr. Puckey, and is making progress in every respect.
The Rev. R. Davis took the charge of this station in a time of great difficulty and peril, viz. at the first breaking out of the war with Heki. The place itself [239/240] was endeared to him by many pleasant associations; and his residence there during the war proved to be of the most important service. His presence served to confirm the wavering, and to shelter the peaceably disposed from the anger of Heki, whose own Pa was but a few miles off; who, while he spared neither persuasions nor threats to induce his neighbours to join him, always treated the Missionary with respect and kindness. Mr. Davis mourns over the want of more spiritual life in his people, yet if we take the many proofs he incidentally relates of tenderness of conscience, desire for instruction, resignation under afflictive dispensations, anxiety for the salvation of others, and holy joy and peace on a dying-bed, we fear he would find much more cause for mourning in many of our English parishes. We cannot forbear to mention, that among; those who proved faithful unto death, was Mary the widow of our old friend Porotene Ripu; who was laid beside her husband in that rich burial-ground at Mawi.
We are not able to give the numbers at each of these stations separately; but taking the whole Northern District, we find by the last accounts, that there were 30 native catechists and 741 communicants; and that it contained ten chapels built with boards, and between thirty and forty raupo chapels.
Stations. Missionaries and European Catechists.
Auckland, Rev. G. A. Kissling, Mr. Vidal, Lay Secretary, Mr. J. Telford.
Hauraki, Rev. T. Lanfear.
Kaitoteke, Rev. B. Ashwell.
Otawhao, Rev. J. Morgan, Mr. H. Ireland, Schoolmaster.
Waikato, Rev. R. Maunsell, Mr. J. Stack, School Assistant.
Tauranga, Ven. Archdeacon Brown, Rev. C. P. Davies.
Roto-rua, Rev. T. Chapman, Rev. S. M. Spencer.
Opitiki, Rev J. A. Wilson.
Ahikereru, Mr. J. Preece.
The last returns of this district give the number of communicants as 1489, native teachers 226, children and adults under instruction 5220; and there were a hundred native-built chapels.
If our readers will turn to the 10th and 17th chapters of this volume, they will sec how much of interest was attached to the commencement of Missionary work in this part of the Island; and this interest did not diminish, though its character was changed, during the succeeding years. The same desire for the Word of God continued to be manifested; and among other instances, we are told of a young "ariki," of not more than seventeen years of age, who, for the sake of obtaining a New Testament and a few Common Prayer Books, accompanied Mr. Wilson from Opotiki to and from Otawhao, altogether a journey of 350 miles.
But the only station we shall linger at is Otawhao. The people here had first heard the gospel from Mr. Hamlin before he was driven from Mangapouri. Other Missionaries visited the place, and at length it 241/242] became a regular out-station of Waikato, under Mr. Maunsell. The people very early showed the same decision of purpose as those at Mata-mata had done; they came out from the heathen and built themselves a new village. It is now a separate station under the care of the Rev. J. Morgan, who has resided there since 1840.
The first thing we shall notice is the chapel, and we cannot give a better description of it than by quoting from the pages of Mr. Angas, who visited this station a few years ago, and was very much interested in it. [Life and Scenes in Australia and New Zealand, by G. F. Angas, Esq. In November, 1844.] After speaking of the natives having formerly built one which was blown down, Mr. Angas continues: "They then erected their present commodious place of worship, which will comfortably contain a thousand natives. It measures eighty-six feet by forty-two. The ridgepole is the stem of a single tree, eighty-six feet in length; and was dragged, together with the rest of the timber, a distance of three miles from the woods. the rafters are all detached, and most of the wood-work is fastened together with flax. The sides are beautifully worked with fern-stalks tied together with aku, a species of wild climber, which gives it a rich and finished appearance. The entire design originated with the natives, who formed this spacious building without rule or scale, and with no other tools than their adzes, a few chisels, and a couple of saws. After the erection of the framework, the season was so far advanced that, fearing they should not be able to complete it in time, the Otawhao people requested a party of 100 Maungatautari natives to assist them in its completion; to whom they gave the entire sum that had been granted them by the Church Missionary Society, amounting to about £23. They also killed two hundred pigs, that their friends might live well while they were assisting them. There are thirteen windows of a Gothic shape, and these were fetched from Tauranga on the coast,--a distance of seventy-five miles,--by fourteen men, who carried them on their backs, over mountains and through forests, without any payment whatever."
But it is not this material building, interesting as the account is, that has induced us to pause at Otawhao; it is a far nobler work, a work not of man, but of God Himself. It is "Blind Solomon" one of the "lively stones" in God's "spiritual house," that has arrested our attention. And here too we are indebted to Mr. Angas for much information. Solomon's heathen name was Marahau; from the time when he was quite a boy he used to accompany his father in all his fighting expeditions, and join with him in the horrible feasts that followed. Generally Marahau's party was successful, but when Hongi and his Ngapuis, with their newly introduced fire-arms, poured down upon them, they could no longer maintain their ground. On one occasion, two thousand of them were slain; 1heir bones still whiten on the plain, and the ovens may still be seen in which the bodies were cooked for the dreadful banquet. Marahau himself was taken prisoner; but happily escaped and fled to the mountains. Still however a captive to sin and Satan, the first use that Marahau made of his recovered liberty was to collect together his own tribe, and, according to New Zealand custom, to revenge himself upon Hongi and the Ngapuis, by [243/244] carrying war and desolation to a tribe wholly unconnected with them. He led his people to Poverty Bay, where six hundred of the unoffending inhabitants were killed and devoured by them.
Soon after this, Marahau became blind: he still lived at Otawhao, but one day, being at Mata-mata, he was arrested by the preaching of Mr. H. Williams. In due time he was baptized by the name of Solomon, or Horomona; and soon after Mr. Morgan's arrival at Otawhao, he found him sufficiently advanced to become a teacher. Mr. Angas was much interested in blind Horomona, and it was to him that the chief related the incidents of his former life which we have just repeated. One day he accompanied Mr. Angas and Mr. Morgan to a distant village, where the funeral of a native child took place. After the service Horomona gave an address to several hundred natives who had assembled round the grave; and Mr. Angas proceeds, "this address, which was translated to me by Mr. Morgan as it was uttered, was one of the finest and most impassioned pieces of eloquence I ever heard."
In December, 1845, Mr. Morgan thus writes of Horomona: "I sent for blind Horomona Marahau, to converse with him about going to Wawarua as a teacher. He said he was very willing to go and preach the word of God, but that I must provide him with a companion; for, being blind, he should not be able to tell whether the people were mocking or attending to his instructions. I proposed that his wife should accompany him; and engaged that their plantations should not be neglected during their absence. Horomona is a chief of some importance; and I believe him [244/245] to be a decided as well as a most consistent Christian. He is a regular communicant, and was confirmed by the Bishop in December last. Every Lord's day he may be seen at school, standing with his class round him, instructing the old men in the things of God. His knowledge of the Scriptures is very great, and his memory very retentive. I occasionally send him to visit the outposts, as he is everywhere very much respected. He commences the morning or evening service, as the case may be, (omitting the Psalms,) repeats the chapters he selects as lessons, and then addresses the congregation. To-day he applied to me for a copy of the Psalms, as he wished to learn them. He manages to find his way alone to places within three miles round the station; but when going beyond that distance, he requires a guide." On the 31st, Horomona and his wife took their departure for Wawarua, a distance of thirty-seven miles, crossing rivers and swamps, and sat down in the midst of their enemies, to make known to them the gospel of Christ.
Horomona might well have adopted the words of our own blind Milton;
"Seasons return, but not to me return
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surround me! from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off; and, for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature's works, to me expunged and razed;
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather, thou celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate. There plant eyes; all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight."
And God was pleased to grant him this sight of things invisible. His own expression one day was, that "he was all light within, that the people of the world could not discern the light he possessed."
In 1849 the Governor, Sir G. Grey, visited Otawhao, and was very much struck with Horomona and his appearance and manner, to which his blindness added a peculiar and calm dignity. He conversed with him, kindly presented him with some articles of clothing from his own stock, and promised to send him an annual supply from Auckland.
Horomona is still alive, but the last time he was particularly mentioned was in February, 1850, when he was walking stedfastly and consistently.