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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79

Missionary Work

Missionary Work.

Mr Colenso was called on to administer medicines and other relief to the sick natives of the neighborurhood. While building his house a native cut his hand. Colenso began to dress the wound and while he was doing so the native fainted "Look, he has killed him," said the man's friends. On the native being recovered by a dash of cold water, "See," they said, "he has made him alive again." (Journals, January 5th, 1845). The practica of the medical art must have been attended with considerable danger in those days. The chapel at Waitangi had been built before Mr Colenso's arrival hut had been allowed to get into disrepair. The natives even Kept pigs in it. (Journals. June 7th, 1845). For some time there was a difficulty in getting the repairs effected, the natives demanding pay for their services, which as Colenso remarks is not a good prin- page 17 ciple. In the end, however, they gave way, and on his return from his journey to Gisborne he found them at work putting the chapel to rights. (Journal, August 13th, 1845). This chapel was the second to be erected in Hawke's Bay—that at "Waipukurau being the first. In his first year Mr Colenso informed the society that he had erected 11 chapels and that 8 others were in course of erection. Among other places chapels were built at Tangoio, Rotoatara. Tarawera and Ngawapurua. (Letters, June 18th, 1845). At Waitangi Mr Colenso had a congregation of from 150—200 (Letters, Report for 1847). more than three-fourths of whom had several miles to come. He reports that Tareha, and Kurupo had embraced the faith, also Hapuku's eldest son and Puhara's brother. In a letter dated December 23rd, 1848, he says that his combined congregations totalled 2175, scholars 1570, and communicants 642. Many natives learned to read in order to study the New Testament and in 1848 Colenso states that he had distributed 200 copies of the volume in the previous six months. (Letters, September 14th, 1848). Another well-known chief. Renata Kawepo, came back with Colenso to Hawke's Bay and became a licensed teacher. (Journals, March 19th, 1845). It was the custom to hold an annual teachers' school, and in his report for 1847 (Letters, 1847) Mr Colenso says that 21 attended. He states: "A cheery sign is that 44 natives (including 11 teachers) had, during the past six months, given up the beast y practice of continually smoking, all of whom were inveterate smokers. This is one of the fruits of the annual teachers' school." Again he writes: "A great portion of the sin committed by natives arises from their immoderate and promiscuous use of page 18 tobacco." although Mr Colenso ceased to be the missionary printer on Mr Telford's arrival he had a small hand press at Waitangi and used to print notices, timetables, catechisms and what he calls "Happy Deaths," which I take to be a series of improving narratives of a religious sort—not I imagine of a cheerful nature or specially suited to the native mind. (Journals, January, 1851).