Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to his family November 19, 1842
Nov. 19, 1842.
To his family.
I have two clergymen now come into my part of the country, one is at Wellington, the Revd. R. Cole, the other is at Nelson, the Revd. C. L. Reay, belonging to our Society—him I have not seen, but trust that he is an active person who will do good. I am not however much relieved by them at present, as the former is still quite ignorant of the language and the latter at too great a distance from Queen Charlotte Sound to take charge of the natives there. In September while I was at Wellington with Mr. Mason the Bishop ordained him. Mr. Cole and I assisted in the service. This ordination took place before a large congregation of natives and was performed in the native language, I having translated that service into the native for the occasion. It was highly interesting to me as well as to the natives. The Bishop will admit several of the catechists to deacons orders, thus we may expect something like a church here in the wilderness.page 178
I have had much conversation with the Bishop. He is a man I think well suited for the work to which he is appointed. He is devoted to his work and is a pattern of self-denial, diligence and activity. His great talent is too manifest to be questioned by anybody. He delights in being with natives and enters into all their concerns and wants with unwearied attention and patience. The knowledge which he has already attained of the native language is surprising. He has passed through my place twice on his way to Taranaki (New Plymouth) and then again on his road to Hawke's Bay. On this latter occasion he was accompanied by the Chief Justice. Mr. Martin. I went with them about a hundred miles up the river Mana-watu, and then having procured about 30 natives to accompany them to Archdeacon Williams at Hawke's Bay I took leave of them. I was with them a week and left them with regret, thankful however that I had enjoyed the society of the two most talented men in New Zealand for so long a time. They are both attached in a most extraordinary manner to the natives and seem determined to defend the natives interests, and as they have the power to do so, being joint trustees for all native property, etc., much good will no doubt be done by them. I cannot express how delighted I have been with them both.
I felt very much interest in my English congregation at Wellington on giving them up to their new pastor. Several of them wanted to know why I could not live there. There has been this last week a very disastrous fire at Wellington, 59 houses having been destroyed and many poor creatures consequently involved in misery and want. A considerable sum of money has already been raised for the relief of the sufferers, and I was gratified to learn that a small native congregation had given £4 towards the fund, thus showing a kindly feeling towards their white brethren. The Bishop has given me more work to do, but whether I shall obey him or not I have not yet determined. He wished me and Mr. Maunsell to go through all the Native New Testament and correct all the mistakes and then to have a large quantity printed by the Christian Knowledge Society. I endeavoured in vain to persuade him and the Judge that I knew but little of the language. Nothing would do but I must give myself to the work. I know however that I am unequal to the work and therefor shall leave it for Maunsell. A little fluency in speaking with a tolerable pronunciation is mistaken for a knowledge of the language, when in truth there is no real connexion between the two.