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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]

Most Rev. The Primate Of New Zealand And Bishop Of Auckland, William Garden Cowie

Most Rev. The Primate Of New Zealand And Bishop Of Auckland, William Garden Cowie, M.A., D.D., Camb. and Oxon., was born in England in 1831, and is a son of Mr. Alexander Cowie, formerly of Auchterless. His lordship was a scholar of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 1852, where he gained the Latin and English essay prizes in that year, and also in 1854, as well as first class in the Law Tripos and in the Theological Examination; he took his page 215 B.A. degree in 1855 and his M.A. degree in 1865. In 1869, the degree of D.D. was conferred upon his lordship, and during his visit to the Old Country to attend the Pan-Anglican Conference held at Lambeth during the Jubilee year of 1897, the senate of Oxford University paid the distinguished visitor the honour of making him a D.D. He was ordained deacon in 1854, and priest in 1855, by Bishop Turton in Ely Cathedral. His first curacy was that of St. Clement's, Cambridge, in 1854, and subsequently he held a similar appointment at Moulton, Suffolk, from 1855 to 1857. Afterwards he acted as chaplain to Lord Clyde's army at the capture of Lucknow, to Sir Robert Walpole's column in pursuit of the Nana, and in 1863 to Sir Neville Chamberlain's column against the Afghans. He was also chaplain in 1863 to the camp of the Viceroy of India, domestic and examining chaplain to Bishop Cotton of Calcutta in 1864, chaplain of Cashmere in 1865, and rector of Stafford during 1867–9. Dr. Cowie holds the Lucknow and Afghan medals, with clasps. In 1869 the nomination of a successor to the late Bishop Selwyn in the bishopric of Auckland was entrusted by the Auckland Diocesan Synod and the General Synod of the Province, to Bishop Selwyn himself, and he offered the vacant see to the Rev. W. Garden Cowie, then rector of Stafford, who was duly conseerated in Westminster Abbey by the Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by the Bishops of Lichfield and Ely, and other Bishops. His lordship is also the visitor and a governor of St. John's College, Auckland, in which institution he takes the greatest interest and closely follows out the policy adopted by its founder, Bishop Selwyn. He is also a Fellow of the University of New Zealand and a member of the council of Auckland University College, besides holding numerous other public appointments. The Primate is the author of “Notes on the Temples of Cashmere,” “A visit to Norfolk Island,” and other literary brochures. Since his consecration to the see of Auckland, he has been instrumental in furthering the rapid progress of the Anglican Church in the diocese, and can be regarded as the founder of three most important Auckland institutions, viz., the Sailors' Home and the Institute for the Blind, both undenominational establishments, doing great and noble work; and also the Women's Home connected with the Church of England. This latter institution has likewise received the greatest assistance from Mrs. Cowie, the Primate's great supporter in the episcopal labours of his diocese. Mrs. Cowie, who has been indefatigable on behalf of the Home for fallen women, as well as other good works, is a sister of the present Bishop of Brisbane (Dr. Webber). Dr. Cowie is the fourth Primate of New Zealand. Bishop Selwyn, the first Primate, was consecrated Bishop of New Zealand on the 27th of October, 1841, and arrived in the Colony on the 30th of May, 1842. In 1869 Bishop Selwyn resigned from the Primacy, and went to England. Bishop Harper, of Christchurch, succeeded as Primate, and for many years carried on the work of the church. The next in succession was Bishop Hadfield, of Wellington, who was appointed to the Primacy in 1889, but age, and the effects of his arduous mission labours in the early days, necessitated his release from the onerous duties of the office in 1895. Bishop Cowie was then unanimously elected Primate by the General Diocesan Synod. He is a ruler of broad catholic views, and is deservedly esteemed by other religious denominations throughout the Colony.