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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

The Church

The Church.

When Mr Colenso's connection with the Church Missionary Society ceased in 1853 there was no Church in Napier. When he was asked to marry a couple of early residents in 1852 they had to go to the Native church in Petane for the ceremony. There was no church in Napier until the St. Paul's Presbyterian Church was built. The St. John's Anglican Church was built shortly after, but services had previously been read in a schoolhouse. Bishop Selwyn visited the town in 1856, when a committee was formed to secure a site and collect funds for building a church. The schoolhouse referred to was that built by the Rev. W. Marshall and opened in December, 1855, at Newton's corner. When the school opened it was not complete, calico taking the place of glass in the windows. ("Herald" August 8th, 1874). Mr Colenso Church at Ahuriri) says that Mr Marshall came in 1852. but soon left, returning in 1857, and that he did not page 53 start his school for borne yours after that. This is perhaps incorrect. In 1857 a proposal was made to establish a Wesleyan chapel in Napier. Mr Colenso wrote to the "Herald" (November 10th, 1857) urging some "less denominational, and more Christian," and othering his survives, "as the clergyman episcopally ordained as the clergyman of Ahuriri, although I regret to say now for live years suspended from fluty," not only to preach, but to give a scientific lecture once a month.

In 1853 the Rev. S. Williams, one of the most honoured names among the early settlers, first settled at To Aute. In the previous year Sir George Urey, then Governor of New Zealand, fooling that a largo English population would soon be flocking into the district before the natives were prepared to come into contact with them, and fearing that a collision might ensue, urged Mr Williams, then in charge of the Otaki district, to go to Hawke's Hay to stand between the two races. He promised to provide money for the purchase of sheep and for buildings and for carying on the school now famous all over New Zealand. Mr Williams proceeded overland by the Manawaru river, as many of the early settlers did. There were no roads in those days, only pig tracks. He men Sir George Grey und Bishop Selwyn at Waipukurau, and the site for the school was selected. In 1854 he brought his wife and infant daughter to Te Aute, where their first habitation was a Maori pataka, or storehouse, and subsequently a raupo whare of two rooms. It is interesting to know that so small was the value of land in those days that the main block of 4000 acres was leased for a few Years at an annual rental of £5, and that even at that price the tenant could not make it pay.