Polynesia; A popular description of the physical features, inhabitants, natural history, and productions of the islands of the Pacific. With an account of their discovery, and the progress of civilisation and christianity amongst them.
Chapter XXIII. — History and Progress of Missionary Labours in Polynesia, in connection with the Church of England; and the Present State of the Church in the New Zealand Colonies
History and Progress of
Missionary Labours in Polynesia, in connection with the Church of England;
and the Present State of the Church in the New Zealand Colonies.
Whilst the London Missionary Society has for many years past been engaged in evangelizing the islanders of the Eastern and Central Pacific, and page 428the Wesleyans have established their missions also amongst the Tonguese and Figians, the labours of the Church of England have been principally directed to New Zealand, and, more recently, to those islands in the western portion of the South Pacific, including the Loyalty, New Hebrides, Santa Cruz, and Solomon groups, which are known by many as "Melanesia."
In the year 1810 the Rev. Mr. Marsden proposed to the Church Missionary Society to extend their operations to the north island of New Zealand, being encouraged to do so by promises of protection from several powerful chiefs at the Bay of Islands, who had visited him in New South Wales, and who guaranteed, should a missionary establishment be formed amongst them, hospitality and kindness from their own tribes, and protection from the attacks of others who were hostile to them. Acting upon this proposition, the Society sent out three lay agents, accompanied by their wives and families, who, with the Rev. Mr. Marsden, landed on the 20th December, 1814, at Wangaroa, the scene of the then recent catastrophe of the massacre of the crew of the "Boyd," spending their first night upon the shores of New Zealand on the spot which had been stained with the blood of their countrymen. They then proceeded to the Bay of Islands, where they formed a settlement at Rangihoua, the residence or "pah" of Tuaterra, one of the friendly chiefs. Having thus successfully planted the first missionary establishment in New Zealand, Mr. Marsden returned to Sydney in March, 1815. In 1819 two other lay page 429agents arrived, and were stationed at Keri-Keri, a beautiful spot on a navigable river falling into the Bay of Islands, where a wharf was formed by the missionaries; who also erected a substantial public store of whinstone close to the banks of the stream.
Much of the security and success of these early labourers in the cause of Christianity was owing to the protection of E. Hongi, the great chief of the Nga Pui tribe, who, having visited England and been most hospitably received there, became the firm friend of the English, and uniformly defended those who placed themselves under his protection. On rumours of invasion from other tribes, Hongi watched day and night to prevent any injury being done either to the missionaries or their property; and nearly his last words before his death were, "Let the missionaries sit in peace; they have done much good, and no harm."
In August, 1823, the first ordained missionary of New Zealand, the Rev. Henry Williams, now Archdeacon of Waimate, established another station at Pahia; he was assisted by Mr. Fairburn, a clever carpenter as well as an excellent teacher. In the following year they were joined by two other catechists, and in 1825 by Mr. Williams's brother, the Rev. W. Williams (now Bishop of Waiapu), and his wife. In 1829 Mr. and Mrs. Brown arrived, to undertake the charge of the education of the children of the missionaries, who were now becoming numerous.
In the following year the farm station of Waimate was formed, with a view to render the mission inde-page 430pendent of New South Wales for its supply of provisions, which hitherto had to be brought at great expense from that colony; and also to induce the natives to adopt European implements and modes of cultivation. The Waimate is situated seven miles inland from the Keri-Keri, between which two stations a road was made with much difficulty, and the whole work of the new settlement performed by the natives under the direction of Messrs. Clarke, Davis, and Hamlin. Three weather-board houses were erected, with stables for twelve or fourteen horses, stores, carpenters' and blacksmiths' shops, out-houses, eight or ten cottages, and lastly a spacious chapel, capable of holding 400 persons. Ploughs and harrows were made at the station, and plentiful crops rewarded the toil of these early pioneers of civilization. Schools for both boys and girls, as well as an infant school, and one for the adult population, were also established at Waimate; and the translation of the Holy Scriptures, and of the Liturgy of the Church of England, into the New Zealand language was commenced in the year 1830 by the Rev. W. Williams, assisted by Mr. Shepherd, Mr. Puckey, and Mr. Brown. During this year the mission was again visited by the Rev. Mr. Marsden, who found the attendance of the natives at public worship and in the schools continued to increase, and that the progress of Christianity amongst them was such as to encourage the missionaries in their self-denying labours.
In 1833 a fifth station was formed at Kaitaia, to the northward of the Bay of Islands, and two lay page 431agents established there; about the same time also, another station was formed at Puriri, on the banks of the Waikate, but it was afterwards abandoned, and the missionaries removed to Koweranga and Marietai.
In 1834 a printing-press was sent out for the use of the mission, and in 1838 the whole of the New Testament and a second edition of the Prayer Book, were issued in the Maori or New Zealand language. Until the death of Mr. Marsden in 1838 the mission remained under his general superintendence. He often visited it, and gave the missionaries the benefit of his advice and sympathy. On his seventh and last visit, at the age of seventy-two, he gave his parting benediction to the missionaries and their native converts. In a letter to the Church Missionary Society he thus speaks of them:—"I have visited many of the stations within the compass of one hundred miles, and have observed the wonderful change that has taken place. I am at present at Waimate, which was formerly one of the most warlike districts in the island, but it is now the most moral and orderly place I ever was in. A great number of the natives, for some miles, have been baptized, and live like Christians. There are neither riots nor drunkenness, neither swearing nor quarrels, but all is order and peace. The same effects I have observed to be produced by the Scriptures, and by the labour of the missionaries in other districts. I consider the missionaries, as a body, very pious, prudent, and laborious men; and that they and their children are walking in the admonition of the Lord, so as to make page 432them a national blessing when they have finished their labours." On the 12th March, 1838, this venerable servant of God was called to his eternal rest, having nearly reached the age of seventy-three, and having performed the duties of chaplain at Sydney, in New South Wales, for upwards of forty-five years.
New Zealand was at this period a dependency of New South Wales, and therefore within the diocese of the Bishop of Australia. It was accordingly visited by Bishop Broughton in December, 1838, who held two confirmations, consecrated two burialgrounds, and admitted to the order of priesthood the Rev. O. Hadfield, now archdeacon of Kapiti, who had accompanied him from Sydney.
In 1840 the sovereignty of Great Britain over New Zealand was established by treaty, and at the same time it was proclaimed an independent colony, to which settlers from the mother-country rapidly emigrated in large numbers. The increasing urgency of its need of episcopal supervision led to its being constituted a colonial bishopric, and, consequently, on the 17th October, 1841, the Rev.. George A. Selwyn was consecrated the first Bishop of New Zealand.
On the 29th May, 1842, the bishop arrived at Auckland, and at once commenced his labours both amongst the European and the native population. From this time forward, a recent writer says "the history of the Church in New Zealand, and of its missions, are one with the history of its single-hearted and everactive bishop."page 433
One of the bishop's first cares was to select sites at Auckland for an additional cemetery, another church, and for parsonage-houses contiguous. He also gave directions for the purchase of land for the site of the cathedral, and for a cathedral close. He rejected the proffered State grant towards the support of the clergy and erection of churches, certain conditions being attached to their reception of which he did not approve; preferring "to maintain the independence of the Church, and to commit her support to the free charities of the servants of God."
In 1852, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel granted the sums of l000l. for St. John's College at Auckland, and 1000l. for the projected College at Porirua in Cook's Straits, the land for which had been given by the sons of the celebrated chief Te Rauparaha. These sums were invested, and the interest applied for the education of poor students as missionaries. In 1854 the bishop visited England on matters of business connected with the welfare of his diocese; and in 1855, on his return, he set out on a visitation tour, in the course of which he walked 550 miles and rode 450, examining and confirming 1500 persons.
In 1856 the Bishop of Christchurch was consecrated for the new Colony of Canterbury, which had been established on the eastern coast of the Middle Island of New Zealand.
In 1858 the charge of the Bishop of New Zealand was further diminished by the erection of the sees of Wellington and Nelson. At the same time Bishop Selwyn was appointed Metropolitan, and, in page 434the following year, with the assistance of the other bishops, he consecrated Archdeacon Williams to the Bishopric of Waiapu, which had been erected at Hawkes' Bay on the east coast.
In the year 1850 the Australasian Board of Missions was formed, and the special task of visiting the southern islands of the western pacific was entrusted to the Bishops of New Zealand and Newcastle N. S. W., New Zealand being selected as the head-quarters of the mission.
The Bishop of Newcastle, however, only accompanied the Bishop of New Zealand on one voyage to the islands, Dr. Selwyn from that time carrying on the mission alone. The plan pursued by the bishop was to visit, in a small vessel, annually, as many islands as he could, bestowing presents, and establishing friendly relations with the savage inhabitants, so as eventually to succeed in inducing some of the young men or lads to accompany him to New Zealand. There they were taught to read and write in their own languages, and were instructed in the doctrines of the Christian faith, and in social and civilized habits. Eventually they were conveyed back in the missionary schooner to their native islands, and other scholars brought to fill their places. In this manner as many as seventy-five scholars, from upwards of fifteen different islands, principally those of the Loyalty and New Hebrides groups, were received into the Melanesian school up to the close of 1857.
In 1861 the Metropolitan resigned this portion of his labours to the Rev. J. C. Patteson, who had page 435been his companion on so many of his island voyages, and who was consecrated Missionary Bishop of Melanesia on the 24th February in that year.
In 1862 a mission schooner was subscribed for and built in England for Bishop Patteson's use, at a cost of nearly 5000l., and was named the "Southern Cross." With this small vessel the bishop is assiduously and zealously carrying on his arduous labours amongst the more savage and littleknown islands of south-west Polynesia, in many of which, owing to the unhealthiness of the climate, it would be impracticable to form permanent missionary settlements. Altogether, the Melanesian Mission has, during the past ten or twelve years, visited about seventy islands; and nearly 200 youths, speaking twenty-five languages or dialects, have been taught in their school in New Zealand, and afterwards sent back to their respective homes; thus opening up the way for missionary work hereafter on a more extended scale.
The following list will show the number of clergy at present labouring in the various dioceses of New Zealand, and in that of Melanesia:—
diocese of new zealand.
|Bishop, and Metropolitan—||The Right Rev. George Augustus Selwyn, D.D., 1841.|
|Archdeacons—||Ven. G. A. Kissling, Waitemata; Ven. H. Govett, Taranaki; Ven. H. Williams, Waimate; and thirty-seven clergy and native catechists.|
diocese of waiapu
|Bishop—||Right Rev. W. Williams, D.C.L., 1859.|
|Archdeacons—||Ven. A. N. Brown, Tauranga; Ven. W. L. Williams, Waiapu; with eleven clergy and native catechists.|
diocese of wellington.
|Bishop—||Right Rev. C. J. Abraham, D.D., 1858.|
|Archdeacon—||Ven. O. Hadfield, Kapiti; with fifteen clergy and native catechists.|
diocese of nelson.
|Bishop (Designate)—||Right Rev. A. B. Suter, D.D., 1865; with eight clergy.|
diocese of christchurch.
|Bishop—||Right Rev. H. J. C. Harper, D.D., 1856.|
|Archdeacon—||Ven. H. Jacobs; and thirty-three clergy.|
diocese of melanesia.
|Missionary Bishop—||Right Rev. J. C. Patteson, D.D., 1861; with three assistant clergymen, one lay-agent, and several native teachers.|