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Historical Records of New Zealand

Rev. S. Marsden to Rev. E. Bickersteth

Rev. S. Marsden to Rev. E. Bickersteth.

Parramatta, August 7th, 1830.

Revd. and dear Sir,—

I wrote to you from N. Zealand, and on my return to the colony laid all my observations before the corresponding committee. These documents will be transmitted to you thro’ the Secretary, the Revd. R. Hill. You will see from the papers that I have entered pretty fully into the concerns of the mission. page 711 I have stated my views of Rangihoua, Paihea, Kirikiri, Waimate, the water mill, and the school, as I was anxious to give your Committee all the information I could for their future guide. We have had the various subjects under consideration in our committee. The Archdeacon, the Colonial Secretary, and the other members fully accord with the views I have taken of the different subjects. Perhaps your Committee may see reasons to differ with us in some points; we shall leave the final decision of every thing to your Committee. I beg to make a few brief remarks upon the different subjects I have noticed.

1. Rangihoua: I would observe that the houses of the two catechists (King and Shepherd) are situated on the east side of the village. Tupona is situated on the west side, about one mile and a quarter higher up the harbour. Their houses stand at present on the side of a very high clay hill, not fit for cultivation. Tupona is situated on a flat piece of land, which is good, and fit for gardens, &c., &c., and a very eligible situation.

Here the catechists had begun to erect their houses. The burial-ground was marked out, the place for the chapel, &c., &c., a agreeable to a resolution of the local committee, and the land was purchased. Why they afterwards altered their intention I cannot say. I think it had been done without due consideration. I refer you to my letter on the subject.

In another statement you will find my views of Paihea, and my reasons why I conceive it would not be advisable to collect such a body of missionaries there. This station may be kept under some order during the residence of the Revd. H. Williams; but if he was removed, it would be likely to suffer greatly from the shipping. The shipping is an evil that cannot be remedied.

Kerikeri is a good station, being about 12 miles from the shipping, and the great high road passing through it gives the missionaries daily opportunities of conversing with the natives from the interior, as well as visiting the neighboring districts. One clergyman and two catechists are sufficient for this station. Waimate, on account of the goodness of the land, the abundance of timber for all purposes, and the numerous inhabitants, and distant so far from the ships, promises to be a very important station. Should the present catechists remain there a greater expense will be incurred in building the house at Kirikiri for those who have none than building them at Waimate, where the timber is on the spot. The object of raising their own supplies of grain on the spot will be of great importance to the general interest of the mission in every respect. Messrs. Clarke and Hamlin are well suited for this station—men of very strong minds, and great activity. I was astonished to find Mr. Hamlin speak the native language so well; he excells all in that respect; page 712 and he has a most amiable natural temper, which gives him much influence with the natives.

The next object is a water mill. Little can be done with the grain without this. At the present time there is the greatest abundance of maize, but they have no means of grinding it. This subject I have more fully stated…

I remain, &c.,

Saml. Marsden.

P.S.—When any missionary station it is of great importance to purchase the land from the natives. When this is done, the land becomes neutral ground, and natives from any part will come without hesitation to reside with the missionaries. The natives do not like to live from their own tribe, because they are liable to be insulted, but on neutral ground they can meet and unite together. This will tend greatly to reconcile the different tribes. I found chiefs’ sons and daughters living with the missionaries from different parts of New Zealand, some 140 miles from their own district. On the neutral ground they were at home, and were not liable to be offended. When these youths have learned to read the Scriptures, and write their own language, they may spread the knowledge far and wide amongst their own tribes.—S.M.