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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 12 (March 2, 1936)

The Rev. John Hobbs at Whangaroa

The Rev. John Hobbs at Whangaroa.

It was in August, 1823, that John Hobbs and Nathaniel Turner came to Wesley Dale, at Kaeo, walking overland from the Bay of Islands; presently they were joined by their wives, brought by the Rev. Samuel Marsden, who always gave the Wesleyans a helping hand. Hobbs was the man for the rough life in the Whangaroa country. He was a competent man with his hands, he was a carpenter, a gardener, a bit of a doctor, a maker of anything from a table to a house or a boat. He and Turner soon had a comfortable timber cottage built, to replace the raupo hut of Leigh, and they fenced the place and made a vegetable garden. But the Kaeo station, which by 1825 was an attractive little oasis in the wilderness, was not left in peace. Intertribal wars blocked progress, and in 1827 the Ngapuhi raided and looted the place, and the missionaries sorrowfully gave up the struggle and with their families abandoned Wesley Dale. They walked across to that haven of refuge Kerikeri, where the Church mission people took them in and tended them in their everkindly way. The home at Kaeo was burned by the looters soon after they left it. On their way across to Kerikeri they met a war-party from Hokianga. It was the Maori way to sacrifice anyone they met when they were out on a blood expedition, but the benevolent Patuone, brother of Tamati Waka Nene, was the commander of the taua, and he stood protectively by them until the warrior band had passed on.