Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to his family August 30, 1842
Aug. 30, 1842.
To his family.
I go on much as usual here; I have however been moving about lately. I was at Wanganui (Mason's station) about five weeks ago. I saw the Dawsons there, who were quite well and very kind and civil to me. On my return from that place I went to Port Nicholson and then went about 50 miles beyond it to a place called Wairarapa, which I had never visited before. The residents there are newcomers who, having been beaten formerly in their wars had deserted their land, but who have lately returned. I did not see many of them as they were in the woods looking for food, having not yet any regular plantations. I had an uncomfortable trip as there was cold rain every day and some of the cliffs could only be passed by wading into the sea up to my waist. I passed another week at Port Nicholson. I baptised about 30 natives there with whom I was much pleased. I officiated there as usual to an English congregation to whom notice was given in the public papers. People came to hear me preach though I hear that many consider me an enthusiast. Christ's little flock however must profit. I am happy to say that I am relieved of the charge now as Mr. Cole is appointed there. The Bishop has arrived here, though I have not seen him as he was obliged to go to Nelson. I expect to see him on his return in a week or two. I do not know what he will do with me, or whether I shall remain where I am or not.page 177
The Bishop I hear is much interested in the natives and has already some knowledge of the language. Maunsell has published a grammar, which however I have not seen; he is a clever fellow, the only man we have who knows the language well. Many of our good friends here fancy that William Williams knows the language and they leave the translations for him, while they underrate Maunsell's ability which annoys me. Our N.Z. New Testament is a poor thing, which is vexatious when we have Maunsell here. The natives around me continue to give me satisfaction and give me comfort though some serve the devil and give me pain at times. I am sorry to say that they monopolise all my thoughts and the rest of the world engages but little of my attention. Such a creature am I! I would however I think, like to work among the Chinese. I am very comfortable here, everybody without exception is civil and kind to me wherever I go, and my friends, the St. Hills are particularly so. I now keep a goat and a great many fowls so that I have milk and eggs in abundance. I am able also to eat potatoes which I have not tasted for years. So you see that I take care of myself, though I be absent from you, who used to take care of me.