The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 79
In connection with his mission work we may note an amusing incident arising from the advent of the Roman Catholic priests. Colenso notes that in 1848 a priest had visited Puhara, This chief told Colenso that the priest wished to see him so that they might both go through the fire and show which was the true faith. On this he remarks: "This fire ordeal is a great word just now with the Papists, both native and European Whether the priests be really in possession of some page 20 salamander-like recipe handed down from some of the monies of the Dark Ages, or of something more modern from their own chemists, or from Chabert, the Fire King (a courtryman of their own) or whether it is another step towards the completion of unfulfilled prophecy (2 Thess, 2-9 and Rev. 13, 13) I know not." (Journals January, 1848). The Meanee Mission was not established till 1852 (see Journals July 2nd, 1852), but before that Colenso had asked the Missionary Society to supply him with copies of the Vulgate and books of controversial theology to prepare for discussions with his competitors.
Two incidents may be referred to as showing the difficulties of dealing with the Maori neighbours. Very shortly after he settled at Waitangi a girl named Ann Parsons was abducted and her father, John Waikato, suspected Mr Colenso of being guilty of it. He came to the mission and assaulted Colenso, caught him by the hair and threw him to the ground. On Mr Colenso demanding compensation, Waikato again knocked him down and the natives threatened to burn his house down. Matters evidently assumed a critical aspect, but Colenso preserved his dignity and appointed a day for an inquiry into the charge. The day came and the girl herself appeared and cleared Colenso. Waikato admitted that he was wrong, and presented a canoe to Colenso as compensation. (Journals August 31st, 1845).
Not long after another trouble arose through the chief Hapuku. Who became convinced that Colenso would interfere with the burial of Pareihe (an old chief). Hapuku was not a convert and he may have desired to Use some native ritual. However, In; vistied Colenso and threatened to put a bono of the page 21 dead man on the road and so close the toad to the mission for traffic. Lazarus had said, "Does he think that we will be afraid of the bone of a dead man." and this had angered Hapuku. Pareiho's grave was close to the common road. Colenso satisfied Hapuku that he would not interfere, and the trouble blew over. (Journals, December 11th, 1845). On two occasions Colenso prevented tribal warfare. In 1847 Wanganui natives asked for men and ammunition to help them in a raid on Tatipo. This was refused through Colenso's influence. (Letters, Report, 1847). Again in the same year the chief Tiakitai and a party of 23 were drowned on the way to the Nuhaka in what Colenso calls a heathen excursion they having been repeated by and wonderfully warned not to go." Some time after Tiakitai's friends wished to start on a taua (punitive raid) to Nuhaka to avenge his death, but Colenso managed to prevent this. (Letters, Report 1847, Journals, July, 1847).