The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 6 (September 1, 1934)
The subject of this historical sketch cannot, perhaps, be described as famous, strictly speaking. The Rev. Benjamin Yate Ashwell, pioneer of missionary work in the Waikato, was not so well known or so much written about as the great Williams brothers of North New Zealand, and Bishop Selwin and Bishop Pompallier, John Hobbs and James Buller. But his courage and devotion to duty, and his strenuous efforts for peace and civilisation in a savage land entitle him to the remembrance and gratitude of both races in the country he helped to redeem from barbarism. It is appropriate that his life and labours should be recalled just now when the centenary of mission enterprise in the Waipa district is being celebrated. The first missionary visitors established a post on the Waipa in 1834, and Mr. Ashwell founded Te Awamutu station in 1839.
The station, with its boarding-school for Maori boys and girls, has long since disappeared; the Waikato War brought ruin to all this benevolent enterprise; but among the very old people who live on the historic banks of Waikato-taniwharau, the name of “Te Ahiwera” lingers in reverent memory. Here and there survives an ancient of the race who was taught in the mission school by Ashwell and his wife in the days when all this good land of Waikato was purely Maori, and when flotillas of great canoes plied up and down the broad shining river.