Maori and Missionary: Early Christian Missions in the South Island of New Zealand
Chapter Ten — Creed's Work in Dunedin
Creed's Work in Dunedin
To Charles Creed Belongs the Honour of Conducting The first Christian service and establishing the first church of “New Edinburgh”. Before recording in detail Mr. Creed's pastoral work in that area, it is necessary to glance back upon the early history of Dunedin.
The older generation of the Maori people used to speak about Otepoti,1 an area which extended along the foreshore or bay now covered by the Supreme Court Buildings, Railway Station, Exchange, Post Office, and towards what is now known as Manor Place and Maitland Street. The settlement or kaika was situated roughly between where Manor Place, Maclaggan and Rattray Streets are today.
The Toitu Creek2 flowed down what are now known as Maclaggan and Rattray Streets; under what is now the Grand Hotel, and across the present Princes Street. The Maori landing place was where the Cargill Monument now stands, and there they moored their canoes. The pebbly beach was a regular meeting place for the Maori people, and where many a korero took place in the days of long ago. In the dim past there were kaikas at Kaikorai, Mussel-burgh, and on the banks of the Leith. Traces of early occupation have been found at Andersons Bay (Puketai), Tomahawk, Hillside (Ko-ranga-a-ranga-te-rangi), and Logan's Point, known as Taurangapipipi.
1 The name Otepoti (O-te-poti), the Maoris claim, was given to describe the canoe landing-place centuries ago, and, therefore, cannot owe its origin to pakeha days, as some historians claim.
2 This stream is sometimes referred to as the “Kaituna” (eel-food) and sometimes as the Toitu stream. The latter name is correct and agrees with Maori tradition.
The senior Maori people have a tradition of a battle fought, probably between the Waitaha and the Kati-mamoe at Taputakinoe, a locality between what is now known as Halfway Bush and Whakaari.
What are known as Mornington, Roslyn and Maori Hill were bush covered areas where the weka, kiwi, pukeko and wild pigs (in pakeha days) roamed at will. The bush was vocal with the notes of the bell bird (korimako), the pigeon (kereru), the paroquet (kakariki), the tui, the fantail (piwakawaka), the large parrot (kaka), and the morepork (koukou).
Such was Otepoti and its surroundings in the far-off days, where lived and fought in turn the Raupuwai, Waitaha, Kati-mamoe and Kai-tahu tribes.
Mr. Creed made frequent visits to Otepoti and its surrounding area in his itinerary. Visits to Dunedin were made on foot, sometimes via Otakou and Koputai (Port Chalmers). At other times on foot by the old Maori tracks from Waikouaiti over the Whakaari Mountain (Flagstaff), through Halfway Bush (Taputakinoi) and on to Dunedin. Later he obtained a horse, which relieved him of much fatigue. He was able at intervals to journey by boat, which was most perilous of all.
The Rev. M. A. Rugby Pratt describes one of those visits via Port Chalmers and gives the date December 10th, 1845, and the quotation is as follows: “Mr. Creed crossed over the Port Chalmers hills and held a service at a small kainga called Tawhiroko, which was probably Taylor's Bay. From there he passed on to Koputai, ministering to Maori and pakeha, and then on to Otepoti.”
Creed's visits were not confined to preaching services, for his duties were various. He was requested to proceed on an errand of mercy on October 28th, 1846, which was the first European funeral in Dunedin.
“This morning (October 28th) at about 9 a.m. I received a letter from Dunedin, stating that one of the men had died suddenly. Mr. —– requested me to go over. Accordingly I started in the boat and reached there in the afternoon. In the evening I preached to a few who assembled, from ‘Be ye also ready, etc.’
“October 29th: In the forenoon I buried poor Campbell1 in the cemetery; this is the first burial in Dunedin. Most of the men attended, whom I addressed on the solemn occasion from ‘The sting of death is sin, but the gift of God is Eternal Life’. A deep solemnity rested upon us. In the afternoon I visited the poor, distressed widow; she is left with two fatherless children, one of them by a former husband who was drowned near Port Nicholson two or three years ago; the other the child by the deceased. May she prove the promise hers—that God is the ‘Father of the fatherless, and the husband of the widow’. At 5 p.m. I baptised the infant son of Mr Park, one of the surveyors; had a short service with them. In the evening I preached to a fairly good congregation from ‘Come unto Me all ye that labour, etc.’ The Word seemed to take effect on the people.”
Robert Park was a civil engineer. His son Patric was baptised as stated above, being born at Akaroa on August 2nd, 1846. This was the first baptism of a European in Dunedin, as shown by the Register.
In less than three months another pastoral visit is reported. Creed walked from Waikouaiti by way of Otakou and Koputai, ministered there and baptised John, son of Peter Crow (probably De Croix), and Eliza his wife.
1 I am indebted to Mr. A. Eccles for the following: A man of the name of James Campbell was buried in the York Place cemetery; his name appears on the obelisk erected on the site. No record now exists, so I have been given to understand, of the burials that were made in that locality. I think, however, that it can be safely assumed that this man was the Campbell referred to by the Rev. Charles Creed in his Journal under date October 29th. 1846. The Mary Catherine, bringing C. H. Kettle and wife, Robert Park and wife, several other surveyors and a staff of labourers, cast anchor in Otago Harbour on February 23rd, 1846. Her master was Captain Howlett, after whom presumably the point near the Heads was named. Among the labourers brought down in the vessel was a man of the name of James Campbell. Again, I think it can be safely assumed that it was this man that Mr. Creed referred to.
The following April (1847), Mr. Creed was in Dunedin in the performance of his duties, and on the 11th baptised John, son of John Anderson and of Isabella his wife. On the same day he baptised Elizabeth, daughter of Charles Henry 1 civil engineer, and of Amelia his wife. John Anderson had the distinction of being the first white child born in Dunedin (December 10th, 1846). Elizabeth Kettle has the distinction of being the first white girl born in Dunedin (March 3rd, 1847). She subsequently became the wife of Mr. James Macassey, a prominent solicitor. James 2 arrived at Koputai in 1844 and settled at the Bay which bears his name. He and his son John lived in a small cottage built of timber, with thatched roof. Upon the arrival of the surveyors, John was employed by them. In 1849 he opened a butcher's shop at Port Chalmers.
Another quotation from Creed's report to the Wesleyan Mission Board, London:
“November 9th, 1847: This morning I left home for Dunedin by way of the Whakaari mountain. On the highest range the clouds were dense, and it was difficult to find the way. I reached there in the afternoon; preached in the evening from Heb. 4:16, ‘The Lord add His blessing’.”
The old Maori track over the 3 mountains was difficult and hazardous. Dr. Hocken, in his Contributions to the Early History of New Zealand, writes: “This (track) was by no means free from the danger of descending fog, ravines, and mountain swamps, and the bones of many a lost traveller attested to the deviousness of the path.”
1 Charles Henry Kettle came to New Zealand when 19 years of age. Returned to England, but came back in 1846, and was appointed chief surveyor two years before the arrival of the immigrant ships. Provincial Auditor in 1862, member of General Assembly in 1861–62. One of the founders of the Y.M.C.A. and was a Sunday school teacher. Led the first Otago temperance movement. Died in June, 1862, aged 42.
Continuing Creed's references regarding the mountain track:
“November 10th, 1847: Today baptised Catherine, daughter of Donald and Mary Ross.
“November 11th: Left for home this morning accompanied by Mr. L…. After riding a few miles my horse was quite unable to carry me, consequently I had to walk a great deal. It was with difficulty we could get my horse home, which we did after twelve hours on the journey.”
To show the dangerous nature of the route by the Maori track over the Whakaari mountains, a quotation from the diary of Mr. T. Ferens (who arrived in 1848 on the John Wickliffe, and who became Creed's assistant and a student for the ministry) indicates the perilous aspect of the road:
“June 28th, 1849: Arose to prepare for off, very foggy, little prospect of getting through…. Left in a good state of mind. Got off and ascended Flagstaff. ‘Pompey’ would not face the snowy mountains and I was obliged to return.
“June 29th: The morning clearing, and the fog clouds have lifted on the mountain, determined to try again. Prayed with the people (hosts). Set off. ‘Pompey’ could scarcely be trusted to ascend Flagstaff at all. However, got on to the snowy mountain. The sun occasionally peeped through dimly. Wind strong and keen. Fog nestled thickly on the mountain, etc., kept well over. After getting over the lower snowy mountain, and in descending, ‘Pompey’ would not face the weather. I tried him twice, but could not make him descend on the Waikouaiti side. Left him to take me down as best he could. Unfortunately found myself far away to the right of the Waikouaiti range and on the way to Blueskin Bay (Waitati). Got into the shepherds' track and got down speedily and made for the shepherds' hut, but no one in, but the remains of wood still smouldering. Tied ‘Pompey’ up and took load off him. Made up a fire, trusting for someone to come. It was 1.30 p.m. About 4 p.m I espied the shepherd on the mountain. I had cooeyed several times before. It was the Maori shepherd with two assistants. Slept with my clothes on and kept a good fire burning all night. Slept but little. Good breakfast, pork and potatoes. The Maori said it was going to rain. Saddled ‘Pompey’ and engaged a man to put me through the bush and on to the cattle track. After praying with them, set off in the rain…. Got through the bush with difficulty but safely. The Maoris left me and off I set, fully expecting to get to the range of the Big Hill. Unfortunately the weather became cloudy and windy and the rain poured down. I turned back to the page 121 edge of the bush, unsaddled ‘Pompey’, tethered him in a sheltered spot, put the saddle and bags under the bushes, and set off again through the bush, one place nearly up to the waist in water, etc., etc.” The result was that Mr. Ferens was obliged to return to the shepherds' hut and wait for better weather.
The above statement shows how difficult and dangerous the mountain track was in those days.
There was a Maori hapu at Halfway Bush which the missionary had to pass on the way to the Whakaari mountains. These Maori people were visited and received Christian instruction. There were also several Europeans residing near the same locality whose spiritual needs were provided for. After the arrival of the John Wickliffe Mr. Ferens in his diary mentions the name of several families:
“Friday, June 8th: A fine morning. Went to Halfway Bush in the afternoon. At night preached from Gal. 6:9. Met the class, gave tickets; a wet night. Stayed at Kennards and 1
“Saturday, 9th: A cold, wet and unpleasant morning. Mountains covered with snow. Prayer with them, came to town, wet, usual walking.
“Sunday, June 10th: A furious night of wind and rain. It pelted down with equal fury during the day as it had done all night. Saw Maoris at Halfway Bush kaika and conversation on religious characters were the exercises of the day.
“Wednesday, June 13th: Went to Halfway Bush—had prayer with them and stayed the night.” Other residents in the same locality were Mr. and Mrs. Hepburn, J. Paterson, the Mosely family and Mr. Chalmers.
Early in 1848, before the arrival of the John Wickliffe and the emigrants, Mr. Creed suffered from a serious illness due to anxiety, difficult conditions and exacting duties. The story makes pathetic reading:
1 The Kennards and Glovers were among the party of agriculturists sent over from Sydney by John Jones in the Magnet in 1840.
Governor Grey visited Waikouaiti on February 18th, 1848, prior to the arrival of the Scottish settlers. Mr. Creed reported: “We were favoured with a visit from His Excellency Governor Grey, his lady and suite. I was much pleased with his condescending and affable manner; especially his kind attention to several subjects which I brought before him, and the settlement of these Mission premises.” The visit gave Mr. Creed the opportunity to discuss with the Governor the problems and the general welfare of the Maori people, in which the Governor himself was deeply interested.
The Rev. Charles Creed was the first minister of any church to conduct Christian services at the Molyneux. As early as 1847, and probably earlier, he conducted services. The Register shows that on April 16th, 1847, he baptised five persons and received them into church fellowship. The names of those who were baptised and received into fellowship on the above date were Kororaina Kiwi, adult New Zealander, Mari Toke, Erihapeti Wiki, Ripeka Kirikoko, adult New Zealanders, and Hana Wakena Tekau (young person)
The Maori people living in the Taieri district received considerable benefit from Mr. Creed's ministrations. He does not record the date of his first service, but on July 30th, 1847, he conducted a baptismal service for an adult Maori. In his controversy with. Captain Cargill, he claimed that among the places where he had performed the rites and ceremonies of worship was the Taieri, and that he was the first Christian minister to visit that district.
It is worthy of note that the Taieri has an important history. Away in the distant past, about the mid-sixteenth century, there were two separate kaikas of the Kati-mamoe tribe living near page 123 the Taieri Ferry district. Near Henley there lived a chief named Tuwiriroa and his followers. Another chief, Tukiauau, and his people, who had been driven from Marlborough by the Kai-tahu, lived towards Lake Waihola. Tuwiriroa had an attractive daughter named Hakitekura. Tukiauau had a strong-built son named Korakowhiti. It was the old story repeated, of love-making, and notwithstanding all the opposition from Tuwiriroa, the lovers could not be separated. Many a happy canoe trip they had together on the Taieri River and Lake Waihola. Tuwiriroa, the girl's father, was angry and made matters unbearable for Tukiauau and his hapu, so they decided to move to Rakiura (Stewart Island). As the canoe was sailing down the Taieri River gorge, having on board young Korakowhiti, his devoted lover sprang from the cliff to join him. Unfortunately, not making a wide enough jump, she fell on a protruding craggy rock and was killed, and her broken-hearted Korako was obliged to sail on. Tuwiriroa, according to Maori custom, held the whole of the Tukiauau's hapu responsible for his favourite daughter's death. At an opportune time, after much preparation, Tuwiriroa and his warriors sailed to Stewart Island and killed all Tukiauau's hapu, with the exception of two young men, Tuopioki and Kapetaua-he-whiti, who escaped.
The cliff on the south side of the Taieri River gorge, from which Hakitekura leaped and was killed, is known today as Rereka a Hakitekur1
The Taieri kaika today is situated on the right side of the road as you approach the Taieri River bridge going south. Several descendants of the early families are living there today.
Dr. E. Shortland, who visited the Taieri kaika in 1843, mentions the name of Te Raki as being the chief.
|Baptisms:||No. 498.||July 30th, 1847. Watene Korako, chief, adult New Zealander.|
|No. 633.||January 16th, 1851. Hakaraia Te Raki, chief, adult New Zealander.|
|No. 634.||January 16th, 1851. Katarina Pi, adult New Zealander.|
Watene Korako1 was said to be the last pure-blooded Kati-mamoe in the South. He was a person of intelligence and a diligent student of the “Way of Life”.
Wereta Tuara was a keen adherent of the Mission and attended the services with the utmost devotion. He formerly lived at Kaiapohia and came south, probably, to escape the clutches of Te Rauparaha.
Tiote Te Korihi was another interesting person, industrious, and of an enterprising disposition.
Martha Rimu, a relation of Te Raki, married a pakeha sealer of Codfish Island. She was a person of chiefly birth and was much respected. Her daughter Hera married Edward (Ned) Palmer. They had a son named Robert. After 1848 the population gradually declined.
1 Watene Korako died at the Maori kaika, Taieri, in 1896, aged 120 years. His age was confirmed by Hoani Matieu. He left a widow (his third wife) and two sons.
Creed's Report to the London Mission Board for 1849–50
July 13, 1850.
“The natives of Otago require more pastoral supervision than it is in my power to give them. In point of civilisation they are making great advancement…. They require great attention, lest we lose what we have already wrought amongst them. This district is rising in importance and presents claims on our attention of no ordinary character.
“Before the commencement of the New Edinburgh settlement, your missionary had paid his visits to the district, and every succeeding visit only the more fully impressed his mind with the necessity of immediate help in the neighbourhood. Many and incessant are their applications for ministerial duty. Tomorrow is the third Sabbath I have spent in Dunedin on this occasion. The police court so kindly proffered by A. C. Strode, Esq., Police Magistrate, in which the services are held, is crowded with attentive hearers. But how can they be attended to by one missionary?” Mr. Creed then writes page 125 regarding the difficulties of travelling over the Whakaari mountain range, which in winter is covered with snow and is often impassable, and urged a strong plea for an additional ordained minister who could administer all the ordinances of religion. The following pathetic incident is worth mentioning: “We were called upon to witness the last moments of a half-caste girl about fifteen years of age. I administered the Lord's Supper to her on Saturday. She died in peace. She was a Sunday school scholar and sought and found the Saviour.”
In his book, More Maoriland Adventures, Canon J. W. Stack gives an interesting picture of Otakou as he saw it in 1852:
“We got there (Otakou) late in the afternoon, and were received by the chiefs, Taiaroa, Karetai and Topi, and taken to a house close to the beach, where we remained for a few days…. When I looked round on my companions and noted their kindly and friendly behaviour to one another (Tamihana, Te Rauparaha's son, was present), I could not help thinking of the wonderful change that had taken place in the character of the New Zealanders. Twenty-five years before they were deadly enemies, and fought against one another at Kaiapohia…. The change in their attitude towards one another was due to their having embraced Christianity…. They had exchanged the vindictive heathen heart for the Christian heart—‘The new heart’, as the Maoris rightly called it. As we read, sang and prayed together that first night I spent with the Maoris on the shore of the Otago Heads, I realised what a bond of union and fellowship our Christian faith is between men of all ranks and races who accept it, and what transforming power it possesses when it can change ferocious cannibals into gentle and courteous Christians such as the people I was associating with.”
The above quotation shows how real and effective the teaching of Watkin and Creed had been, and how it had changed for good the character of the Maori people.
Early in 1853 Mr. Creed's ministry in Otago terminated and he was appointed to Wellington as a colleague of Mr. Watkin.
When Mr. Creed arrived in Otago he was a comparatively young man, 32 years of age. He had a strong physique and overflowed with energy, but the strain of the work, the constant travelling under difficult conditions, and the privations he endured, exhausted his vitality. Reluctant to leave the work he loved and for which he had given so much, his transference to Wellington was providential for his own sake.
As the time for removal drew near, Mr. Creed reported to London:
“From my past communications you have been informed of the widely dispersed and scattered state of the New Zealanders inhabiting the several districts of which this circuit is composed…. The page 126 natives are now in a transition state from heathenism to semicivilisation. A few are more advanced, but as a people, now is the difficult crisis with them. Will, then, incipient Christianity be able to withstand the insidious attacks of evil, disguised under a thousand forms?”
He continues: “In addition to the trying position in which the natives are placed by the great influx of Europeans to their various localities, there are men who call themselves Europeans and claim the name ‘Christian’ who themselves are deeply sunk in evil practices and most abominable wickedness. These men, reproved by the superior conduct of the New Zealander, strive to induce them to give up their religion, and live as they themselves are living. Not infrequently the seductive glass of grog is given as an additional motive to join them in their sins. This is not a solitary case … men of unsteady character are found in almost every native village…. I am not an alarmist, but wish to view things as they are. Christianity has indeed accomplished wonders amongst this people…. The musket and tomahawk have been laid aside for the spade and reaping hook … war songs have yielded to the songs of Zion, and assemblies for the purpose of worshipping the True God are established. The question is, not whether the Gospel has already been successful, but whether the precious seed sown, the springing plant of Grace, shall be destroyed by evil influences…. How great the work before your missionaries! … A circuit of above three hundred miles in length; running along the whole eastern coast of this island from the Kaikoura mountains to Foveaux Straits; intersected by rivers, harbours, etc., etc., make pastoral oversight extremely difficult.” He pleaded that “the great need was for larger staff of efficient Maori preachers and pastors.” At the same time, “the European settlers make constant appeals for the ordinances of the church.”
Mr. Creed's work was sadly hindered by the size of his charge, which made pastoral oversight difficult. There was not only the lack of additional missionaries, which was serious, but there was also the question of finance. The Wesleyan Mission Board had spent about £380,000 on Maori evangelisation in New Zealand, and then there were the claims of the South Sea Islands, Africa, the West Indies, India, and other fields. England was passing through a trade depression due to the Corn Laws of the forties; the famine and fever in Ireland, and the disturbed state of Europe generally. All this made the financial position of the Mission acute, but notwithstanding all impediments and difficulties, Charles Creed developed the work of his predecessor, and was able to pass on to his successor a well organised circuit. He “endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” His long, toilsome journeys, his having to sleep sometimes on the ground at night with no covering but his overcoat, the lack page 127 of proper food, wore down his iron constitution. He was a true pathfinder, worthy to take his place among the shining ranks of missionary heroes. It must be conceded by all candid minds open to conviction, that Creed and his predecessor, Watkin, paved the way more than has ever been recognised for the Scottish pioneers. The influence of these two missionaries, with their well balanced judgment, made possible the peaceable acquirement of valuable territory for European settlement. Watkin, whose influence with the Maori chiefs was very pronounced, several times prevented blood from being shed. Creed, and later Rev. G. Stannard, who had a forceful influence over Taiaroa, did much to prevent that chief (who was soured and dissatisfied with the land transaction) from attacking the early settlers, even though to attack them would mean disaster to himself.