Through Ninety Years
1880–1888. Progress of Work. General Synods, 1880, 1883, 1886. Many Journeys. Te Rau College Started. Rev. H.W. Williams Returns to Join Te Rau. Te Aute and Hukarere Schools. St. John's Brick Cathedral Built and Consecrated.
On the death of Captain G. E. Read who had held large trading and landed interests in Poverty Bay, Archdeacon W. L. Williams found that he had been appointed an executor and for some time carried out his duties in this connection, but early in 1880 he found that they would encroach too much on his more important duties to the Maoris. He therefore decided to relinquish the post; this necessitated a voyage to Auckland to obtain the appointment of new executors. On March 30th Mr. J. Friar Clarke of Auckland presented him with a Supreme Court order which appointed Messrs. J. Friar Clarke and W. Coleman as Read's executors and trustees, and the Archdeacon at once handed over all documents and papers to them.
Mr. Goodyear arrived from his station on February 3rd and next day set out with Archdeacon Williams on a journey round the Mahia, on through Wairoa and up to Waikaremoana, where they held their usual services and classes at the various native settlements. At Waikaremoana on the 11th they met some of the Urewera natives from Ruatahuna whom they had visited from the Bay of Plenty at the end of the previous year. On February 13th when they returned to Wairoa, of which the Rev. J. S. Hill was then in charge, they found Bishop Stuart had arrived. The Archdeacon interpreted the Bishop's sermon to the Maoris there. On February 18th they left for Gisborne by way of Te Reinga Falls.
On Sunday, 22nd, Bishop Stuart admitted Mr. Goodyear to deacon's orders at the morning service in page 316 Holy Trinity Church, and held a confirmation of 22 candidates in the evening.
The Archdeacon left on April 2nd, 1880, to attend the meeting of General Synod in Christchurch, from which, he returned home on May 16th.
On June 9th he paid another short visit to Wairoa, and in July, August and September he paid similar week-end visits to hold services and classes at Uawa and other centres along the coast.
At the end of September he proceeded overland to Napier, taking the usual services at settlements on the way. He took his seat at the Diocesan Synod, and when that was completed returned north, reaching Gisborne on November 2nd. During the various periods that he was at home he regularly continued his usual home work and classes for native teachers and leaders.
He closed the year with his usual summer journey along the coast to the north as far as Kawakawa. This lasted from 3rd to 20th December.
The Bishop of Dunedin had asked Archdeacon Williams, with the approval of his own Bishop, to go to his diocese and visit the isolated Maori settlements there, that they might have the advantage of instruction from an English minister who could converse with them in their own language.
Leaving Gisborne on February 8th, 1881, with that object, the Archdeacon visited the various native settlements in the Dunedin diocese, including those near Invercargill and on Stewart Island. This occupied him until the end of March.
Early in October he went to Napier to attend a missionary conference and a meeting of the C.M.S. Land Board; on the 18th of that month assisted Bishop Stuart in a Maori ordination service at Omahu, when Hoani te Wainohu was admitted to priest's orders, and Manahi te Aro and Nerei Runga were ordained deacons.
Throughout the year the usual visits of direction and instruction to the ministers at the native settlements were carried out, and the classes at home continued. The page 317 Archdeacon also attended as usual the Diocesan Synod in Napier.
In January, 1882, he noted that he had completed his book “First Lessons in Maori.” Some legal business in Auckland necessitated a voyage there at the end of that month, and a week later he went to Napier to arrange some diocesan business with the Bishop. On February 14th, accompanied by Rev. Nerei Runga, he left for Taupo, then visited Orakei Korako, Ohinemutu, Rotoiti, Tauranga and Maketu, holding services and classes at the various Maori centres, and reaching home on March 20th.
On April 8th, 1882, the Archdeacon accepted a tender for £369 for a cottage to be erected on the section opposite his own house, to accommodate further his native students.
Rev. E. Williams, the vicar of Holy Trinity Church, resigned and left Gisborne on April 19th.
Several short journeys along the coast to Maori settlements north and south, for the purpose of holding services and giving instruction, were made throughout the year.
The Archdeacon also attended the usual session of Diocesan Synod held at Napier in October. At that time the Missionary Land Board also met, and at Omahu a meeting of the Native Church Board was held, when an old Maori Chief, Noa Huke, advocating the extension of the Bishopric Endowment Fund, placed a subscription of £10 on the table.
On January 7th, 1883, Rev. H. Hamilton came to Gisborne to take duty for a time at “Holy Trinity” Church. He was succeeded there later by Rev.W. Cocks who resigned and left at the beginning of the following year.
Archdeacon Williams went to Napier on February 3rd, 1883, to attend a meeting of Missionary Conference and Mission Land Board. At the same time he arranged for a printer to publish the Maori Hymnal.
This year the General Synod was held in Napier and the Archdeacon left for that place on April 3rd to attend page 318 it, and mentioned that several important and interesting matters were debated and dealt with which are fully recorded in the published report. The Session completed its business on April 20th and he was able to return home on the 26th.
He retired from the Hospital Committee on July 4th when the annual election took place.
On September 8th he went by steamer to Napier to attend to some Diocesan duties and assist the Bishop in conducting the Meeting of the Native Church Board of the District at Omahu which as usual was attended by the English Missionaries and the Native Clergy and lay representatives. During this, on September 18th, the Chief Renata Kawepo, following the example set by Noa Huke the year before, handed in £50 he had collected for the Bishopric Endowment Fund.
Archdeacon Williams remained in Napier for the Diocesan Synod, which lasted from 24th to 27th September.
While at home he regularly held classes with his native students, and was responsible for the Sunday Maori services at the Kaiti Church or one of the other accessible native settlements.
During the year 1883 he made several journeys from Gisborne, which aggregated nearly two months, when he paid no less than thirty-five separate visits to various settlements for the purpose of supervising, directing and assisting the ministers and teachers there.
In the course of these journeys along the coast he travelled southwards round Mahia to Wairoa as far as Mohaka, and inland to Waikaremoana. Northwards he went as far as Reporua, at which place he held a meeting of the District Native Church Board.
In January, 1884, the Archdeacon paid a short visit to Napier to attend a conference of Missionaries and a meeting of the C.M.S. Land Board.
About this time the trustees decided to use the money recovered from the insurance of the homestead at Waerenga-a-hika, which had lately been burned down, in rebuilding it there.page 319
A new edition of the Maori Bible was wanted, and Archdeacon Williams therefore now undertook to assist Dr. Maunsell of Auckland in the work of revision, in addition to carrying out his regular duties. The first instalment of the Doctor's revision notes came on June 13th. This work required many hours of careful and continued labour and a lengthy course of correspondence between himself and Dr. Maunsell during the next eighteen months. It also involved a visit to Auckland in September, 1884, when he spent a fortnight in personal conference with the Doctor and the Wesleyan missionaries who had joined in the work of revision.
Rev. J. E. Fox came to Gisborne on June 16th to take charge of Holy Trinity Church, and was the Archdeacon's guest for a few days.
Towards the end of September the Archdeacon attended the meetings of the Diocesan Synod, Native Church Board, and C.M.S. Land Board at Napier.
Throughout this year he made seven journeys round various parts of his district, which occupied in all fourteen weeks, when he paid seventy-two separate visits to Maori settlements and held the usual classes and services. To illustrate the interest of the Maoris in their Church, he recorded the receipt from a native of £40 towards the cost of material for a Maori Church at Waipare, and the collection at Anaura of £102 for a house for their minister. He opened a Maori Church at Whangara on August 24th, and before the “hui” (assembly) had dispersed a collection of £136 was taken up.
He heard that Archdeacon Brown of Tauranga had died on September 7th.
He held a meeting of the District Native Church Board at Gisborne on December 8th.
Te Rau College
Rev. A. O. Williams of Putiki, who had previously asked if he might join Archdeacon Williams in his work of training native students for the ministry, arrived in Gisborne on January 28th, 1883; when the natives page 320 reassembled he entered upon his duties as tutor. It was later decided to build a house for him to occupy. In due course timber was procured, and a contract was signed with Skeet the builder for its erection. The house was ready for occupation in February, 1884.
Timber for erecting the main building as quarters for the students then began to arrive, and Skeet's tender of £1,359 for building it was accepted on April 18th.
The College was ready for occupation and the students entered at the beginning of February, 1885. A meeting of the Missionary Conference, which was held in January of that year, decided that Rev. A. O. Williams should take charge of the Putiki Station, and that Rev. E. Jennings should take his place as tutor at Te Rau College. The latter arrived at Gisborne on April 5th.
Archdeacon Williams was able to record on July 7th, 1885, that the bedrooms at the College were all full.
In January, 1885, the Archdeacon visited Napier to attend meetings of the Missionary Conference and the Mission Land Board.
Bishop Stuart held a service in the Maori Church at Makaroro on September 21st, when the Archdeacon presented Edmund Leveson, who had been a student at the College, for ordination as deacon.
Following this was the annual session of the Diocesan Synod in Napier, which ended on October 2nd. After attending this and also the Native Church Board meeting at Waipatu, the Archdeacon returned home.
He was advised on October 15th that the County Council had elected him a Governor of the Gisborne High School.
The Archdeacon's inspections for this year covered a wider field, and his ten journeys required sixteen weeks to carry out. He made visits to ninety-four settlements including some in the Bay of Plenty area, where a meeting of the Native Church Board was held at Te Kaha. During some of these rides unsettled weather and muddy roads hampered his progress. On all these journeys he conducted services not only with the Maoris, but also with any groups of English settlers he met.page 321
The General Synod of 1886 was held towards the end of January in Auckland, and the annual Mission Conference at the same time. While this Synod was in progress, an ordination of native ministers was held on Friday, 1st February, at St. Mary's Church, when Hoeta was ordained deacon and Hemi Tautimu a priest in the presence of a large, interested congregation of both English and Maoris.
Some Samoan ambassadors then visiting Auckland were introduced to the Primate, Right Rev. Bishop Harper; he gave them a welcome in English, and one of their party replied in the same tongue.
Archdeacon Williams took his usual place at this Synod, and before he returned home he seized the opportunity, while he was so far north, of going on to Bay of Islands to visit friends whom he had not seen for some time.
Throughout this and the two following years he continued to carry on successfully his education of native students at Te Rau College, and maintained regularly his local Maori services. He also on suitable occasions made various journeys to the numerous Maori villages scattered round his wide district, that he might give the required supervision and direction to all the resident ministers and teachers.
Writing of a visit to Pakirikiri in February, 1887, he mentioned that the natives had collected £430 for a church, of which he had been handed £300 to bank, and the balance had been expended by the architect.
In May of the same year he had been able to arrange for the purchase of the section next to Holy Trinity Church in Gisborne, on which a deposit was paid. In the following month a fair, lasting several days, was held to raise funds for Church improvements; this resulted in £350 being obtained.
The Waerenga-a-hika Native School Trustees who held 594 acres, decided in October to register as an incorporated body. The original lease of their land had expired in March. It was then decided to further develop the work of the Trust and reserve the homestead area page 322 of 17½ acres for a school site, and cut up the balance in suitable farm and residential sites to be let to tenants. For the first, period an annual rental of over £869 was realised.
In August the Archdeacon mentions that Mrs. L. Williams's health had improved, and she was then able to give instruction to the wives of the married students attending Te Rau College.
It was reported in October that Te Kooti, with a party of sympathizers, proposed to pay a visit to the East Coast, which roused strenuous opposition and some anxiety.
During May and June, 1888, the health of the Archdeacon's mother gave the family some concern; he and his wife therefore went to Napier for a short visit. However, about the middle of June their mother improved, and during the following month their anxiety was relieved, and she was in a fair way to recovery.
On September 23rd, 1888, the Archdeacon arranged for a corrected survey of the Whakato Church site. Skeet's tender to build this church for £768 was accepted next day.
The ladies of Gisborne raised this year by a bazaar a further £90 for improvements to Holy Trinity Church.
Bishop Stuart, who had gone to England to attend the Pan Anglican Conference, wrote to the Archdeacon that he would return to Napier on December 15th and would then hold the Diocesan Synod. This the Archdeacon duly attended, also a meeting of the Native Church Board at Waipatu which followed it.
Rev. S. Williams of Te Aute was appointed Archdeacon of Hawke's Bay by Bishop Stuart in 1888.
Archdeacon W. L. Williams's second son, Herbert William Williams, who was born on October 10th, 1860, received his first school tuition at the Napier Grammar School; then, benefiting by the generosity of an uncle who had farmed successfully, he went to Christ's College, Christchurch, and later on to Canterbury College, where in 1880 he took his B.A. Degree. In November of that year he went to England, where he entered Jesus College, page 323 Cambridge. There in 1882 he won a College Scholarship of £40, and a Goldsmith's Exhibition of £50. In 1884 he took his B.A. Degree with Honours in Mathematics. To gain experience he then accepted a post as assistant mathematical master at Haileybury College, from which he retired in 1886. He took Holy Orders, being ordained deacon in 1886, and priest the following year. To assist in his father's Missionary work he returned to New Zealand at the end of 1888, arriving in Napier on December 15th.
The Diocesan Synod for 1888 met in Napier on December 18th and was followed by a meeting of the District Native Church Board at both of which the Archdeacon took his place.
The fine brick St. John's Cathedral, the foundation of which had been laid by Bishop Stuart on September 29th, 1886, and had been under construction since that date, was then just completed. It had been built in response to a long period of strenuous effort by the vicar, Rev. de Berdt Hovell.
On December 20th it was consecrated and opened by the Right Rev. E. C. Stuart in the presence of a congregation of upwards of one thousand worshippers.
Te Aute and Hukarere Schools
The Te Aute and Hukarere Schools of native boys and girls, in the opening of which Archdeacon W. L. Williams and the late Bishop had taken an active personal interest, had both been enlarged and developed since they were first mentioned in these pages.
At Te Aute Mr. John Thornton had succeeded Mr. James Reynolds in 1878, and during his thirty-four years of devoted and able control, a great many boys received a sound Christian education, and the school had maintained a good standard.
At Hukarere after the appointment of Mrs. Turner and her daughter as matron and teacher in September, 1876, the school was enlarged more than once, and was thus enabled to cope with the increased attendance which was forthcoming. Mrs. and Miss Turner resigned at the page 324 end of June, 1881. Their places were taken by Misses Hamilton and Evans, who retired at the end of 1883. They were succeeded by Misses Foster and Minton, and in September, 1885, Miss Foster's place was taken by Miss Shouls. During 1886 Miss A. Downs, who had been one of the school's original pupils, began her work as an assistant teacher. The Hukarere School was carried on under the personal supervision of the Misses Williams, sisters of the Archdeacon, and its work showed satisfactory examination results.
The Government gave an annual grant to each of these schools, and in return for this it had the privilege of nominating a fixed number of pupils, and the schools were visited and examined by the Government Inspectors.