The Rev. Thomas Buddle,
Wesleyan Missionary, was a native of Durham, England. His parents belonged to the Established
Church, but he, while in business at Barnard Castle, joined the Methodist Church, and became a local preacher. He soon offered himself to the English Conference for service in the mission field, and was appointed to Africa. This, however, was altered and he was sent to New Zealand. In August, 1839, Mr. Buddle was married to Miss Dixon, daughter of Mr. William Dixon, of Barnard Castle, and in September of the same year they embarked with several other missionaries on the schooner “Triton.” After an eventful voyage of eight months they arrived at Hokianga, in May, 1840. Mr. Buddle's first circuit was in the Waikato district; his station was at Te Kopua, Waipa, and his work was exclusively among the Maoris. In 1844 he removed to Auckland, where he ministered to both colonists and natives, and had under his charge a training institution for native students, many of whom became missionaries to their own people. While in Auckland he held the office of general secretary to the Polynesian Missionary Society. After a residence of twenty-two years in Auckland and the adjacent circuits, Mr. Buddle removed to the south, and spent ten years in Christchurch, Wellington and Nelson. He returned to Auckland to become Principal of Wesley College, at Three Kings, a training college for European and native students. Here he finished his public ministry and retired from active work in 1882, after forty-two years of devoted and self-denying labour in New Zealand. He lived but a short time to enjoy his well-earned rest, as he died suddenly on the 26th of June, 1883. Mr. Buddle filled the highest offices in connection with the Methodist Church in New Zealand; he was president of the first New Zealand Conference in 1874, and was also president of the Australasian General Conference in 1863. Being an excellent Maori scholar, he was one of those appointed by the Bible Society to translate the Bible into the Maori language. Mr. Buddle's knowledge of the natives, and the esteem in which he was held by both them and the Government, enabled him to be of great assistance to the authorities during the Maori war; and he wrote a pamphlet on the Maori King movement, which is considered to be a valuable work of authority on the subject. He was a man of sterling worth, and greatly respected by all classes of the community. Mrs. Buddle survived her husband only a few months. They had a family of ten children, five sons and five daughters, all of whom married and settled in New Zealand.