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Through Ninety Years

Chapter XI

Chapter XI.

1846–1847. Family Visit Auckland and Bay of Islands. Translation Revision. Ordination and Marriage Samuel Williams. East Coast Work Continued. Second Journey by Land to Wellington.

The visit of Archdeacon W. Williams and his family to Auckland, mentioned in the previous Chapter, enabled him to devote several weeks to translation and revision work on the New Testament and Prayer Book, in company with Rev. R. Maunsell and Mr. Puckey, and also to meet his brother Archdeacon Henry Williams and his family who arrived from the Bay of Islands on September 17th to be present at the ordination of the latter's second son Samuel and his marriage with their eldest daughter Mary, which are recorded in the two following letters to his brother-in-law in England.

September 30th, 1846, from St. John's College: “Having arrived in Auckland with 7 of our children, Leonard and Sydney being already at the College, we proceeded next day by the Bishop's boat to the quarters assigned to us in this building. The College according to the Bishop's plan will be an extensive range of buildings, of which there is at present erected a stone building which is to be the school for boys, and also a stone kitchen, a third building in progress of wood which is to be a hospital, and there are three commodious cottages also of wood which are to accommodate the page 86 College servants. The Native Department is for the present about a mile and a half from us (at Purewa) but that is to be removed to College before next term. It consists of a Native Teachers' school and a Native Boys' school, of which the Bishop is Head Master and Samuel second Master, assisted by three of the students. There is a most satisfactory progress made, and the two schools will be a great blessing to the country, as the Natives may attend from all parts of the island.

“The building we occupy consists of 16 rooms and gives accommodation to the family of the Bishop and to mine, Mr. Cotton, his Chaplain, four students and 34 English boys. This latter number of boys is nominally under the charge of Mr. Cotton, but really under Mr. Hutton. This school has been badly conducted, and I found it necessary to talk to the Bishop about it and urge that the character of it may be altered before the school disperses lest an evil report should be taken to the parents of the boys and the numbers be seriously diminished. My conversation has had a happy effect, much to the benefit of the poor lads. A part of the system here is that of working during part of the time not occupied by school. There is a large quantity of ground already in cultivation, with a good and commodious garden. The Church of the District is distant about three-quarters of a mile, which is well filled with settlers and members of the College. The site of the Buildings is admirable, at the top of a gentle rise which is much diversified by little glens which in the course of a few years will be rendered highly picturesque by numerous plantations of trees.

“You are aware that Samuel has for some time been studying under the Bishop with a view to ordination. This took place last Sunday week, September 20th at the Church of St. Paul's in Auckland. It was a scene of extreme interest, that the child of many prayers, for whom it had been the wish of his parents that he should be dedicated to the Service of the Lord, should now be solemnly given up, and that too by his own father, who presented him to the Bishop at the Service in the page 87 presence of many members of his family. Through the kind consideration of the Bishop both Henry and Marianne and six of their children were present, being invited from Paihia to stay at the Bishop's house.

“Another event is now on the point of being consummated, the union of Samuel with my daughter Mary. This is to take place at 11 a.m. to-day. Nothing can exceed the kindness of the Bishop and Mrs. Selwyn, who look upon our children as their own, and have arranged that all the trouble of the wedding should be undertaken here rather than at Paihia, out of their great regard for Samuel. The Ordination of Samuel has been with the Bishop's entire satisfaction, and I know that he looks upon Samuel as one of his main supports in carrying out the native part of the College.”

Samuel and Mary Williams were married by the Bishop at the Tamaki Church (St. Thomas') near St. John's College at 11 a.m. on September 30th, 1846. Subsequently the guests to the number of about fifty “partook of a sumptuous collation” in the College Hall; the bride and bridegroom then took their departure to Mr. Kissling's house which had been lent to them.

The following week Rev. Samuel Williams moved with his wife to a comfortable house at Purewa near the College, where he zealously continued his work.

The work at the College and School had not been entirely satisfactory since Archdeacon W. Williams left Waimate, and his anxiety for the welfare of the pupils led him to earnest consultations with the Bishop. As the latter's wide field of duties entailed frequent absences from Auckland he was naturally unable to give the work the supervision that was necessary. At the same time there was very great difficulty in obtaining an able and suitable man to take full control. Under the circumstances Archdeacon Williams decided to send his son Leonard to England to complete his education, and thus wrote to his brother-in-law in England on October 16th, 1846: “It is my wish that Leonard, if it please God to spare him, should receive advantages which he is not likely to have here, and that he may be prepared for page 88 those sacred duties which he professes to desire. I have no doubt that I shall be able by observing strict economy in expenditure, to devote to his use £100 annually as long as he may require it, and I must look to you to act for me in selecting the place which may be most desirable for his education. I am sure you will make choice as if for your own son. Under the circumstances I have determined to send Leonard to England in about twelve months' time. Mr. Cotton returns to England, and the opportunity will in many respects be desirable.”

On November 5th Archdeacon W. Williams, his wife and children, including his daughter Mary (Mrs. Samuel Williams) and her husband left by a small sailing vessel for the Bay of Islands. The Archdeacon himself remained at Purewa and continued his translation work with Rev. R. Maunsell and Mr. Puckey.

On November 21st Mr. J. Stack who had had a serious mental breakdown of health arrived in Auckland from Uawa by the Dolphin and Mr. Kissling proposed that he and his wife and children should stay with them.

On November 30th they were surprised at breakfast by the appearance at Purewa of Rev. and Mrs. Samuel Williams, who had returned to Auckland from Paihia during the previous night.

That afternoon he bade good-bye to his daughter and her husband, and sailed for Bay of Islands the following afternoon in company with Messrs. Clarke and Puckey, and landed at Paihia on the afternoon of December 3rd. Owing to the recent conflict between the Military and the natives the Bay presented a scene of sad devastation, though it was now beginning to recover, but Paihia had come through unscathed, the trees having grown considerably during his absence, and now looked better than ever.

He was sorry to find that the friendly natives who had sided with the Government had contracted evil habits from the soldiers.

Leaving their three sons at Paihia to return from there to St. John's College, Auckland, Archdeacon Williams and Mrs. Williams, with four of their daughters, page 89 set sail on December 8th, 1846, in a little vessel of 20 tons, bound direct for Poverty Bay.

Meeting with fine weather down the coast they reached Turanganui on December 15th, thankful to be safely home again.

On this voyage they brought back with them an East Coast native teacher named Edward, who had been to the Bay of Islands on a visit. This native had been in failing health for some time and he died and was buried at the end of December. His death still further depleted the staff of the Mission which had already lost the services of Messrs. Kissling and Stack during the past year. Thus heavier responsibilities were thrown upon Archdeacon W. Williams, who, upon his return, had immediately recommenced his usual round of visits, classes, examinations and Services. The natives gave him a glad welcome, and began to flock in to see him as usual.

He was thankful to find on his return home that for the most part good order had been preserved, and that the natives and the work among them had suffered as little from his absence as could have been expected, and he had just time to see the whole of his immediate parishioners before preparing to take another long journey to the south on foot.

On January 18th, 1847, he set out accompanied as usual by a party of natives carrying food and luggage. After visiting various settlements on the way, including Table Cape, Nuhaka, and Wairoa, conducting the usual services and classes, he eventually reached Rev. W. Colenso's station at Ahuriri on January 23rd. Three days later he proceeded to Patangata, having heard that Paraone Hakihaki was waiting there to see him. This native had recently arrived with a party from Nuku-taurua (Table Cape) bringing with them much of the property looted from the American brig Falco which had been wrecked at the Cape some months before.

On January 27th Archdeacon Williams had a lengthy discussion with this party. As a result a keg of gunpowder and some bullets were produced then and there, and it was further arranged that Paraone should collect page 90 the balance of the Falco property that was still held by the natives and deliver it up when the Archdeacon returned from the south. Archdeacon Williams thereupon rubbed noses with Paraone and shook hands with his people, thus indicating that as they had returned to a right frame of mind he was prepared to resume his usual intercourse with them.

He and his party then went on twelve miles to Waipukurau, where they remained until January 28th. Thence he journeyed on, holding the usual services and classes at the various villages through which he passed.

After a walk of several days, first over open country, and then through forest, the party at length reached the Manawatu River at a point beyond Puehutai. Here on February 1st they met some natives who were returning to Ngaawapurua (some distance down the river) by canoe, and arranged to accompany them. They were very glad of this opportunity, as they had found walking in the heat very trying.

Next day the party left in five canoes accompanied by 15 natives from Ngaawapurua. The voyage was most interesting, the negotiation of the rapids, though not really dangerous, added a spice of excitement. At length they came to the “Apiti” (a narrow pass), the Manawatu Gorge, this deep and narrow gorge which divides continuous ranges of mountains from near Lake Taupo, the Kaimanawas and Ruahine on the north from the Tararuas and Rimutakas reaching to Cook Strait on the south. This gorge through which the Manawatu flows to the sea on the west coast is one of the most picturesque in New Zealand.

A short distance below this the party met Rev. Cotton who had arranged to come and meet Archdeacon Williams. They had a cordial welcome from the natives of the place, who showed it by supplying a large quantity of food consisting of pork, potatoes and the juice of Tupakihi (or Tutu). Thence Archdeacon Williams and Rev. Mr. Cotton journeyed on together through Otaki, Waikanae and Porirua, holding the page 91 customary religious services and classes at all the native settlements they passed through.

From Porirua they proceeded to Wellington, which they reached on the evening of February 10th.

Archdeacon Williams found Mr. Hadfield still with Mr. St. Hill, but was glad to find he appeared to be in somewhat better health than when he was in Wellington in November, 1845.

On February 16th Mr. Cotton set out on his journey homewards by way of Otaki. The following day, after calling first on some of the Port Nicholson residents, Archdeacon Williams began his own journey northwards, taking the same route round Cape Palliser as he had followed on his previous visit.

This time he found a number of settlers occupying land at various places. On Sunday, February 21st, he called on Mr. Pharazyn and his five sons at Te Kopi and held services there. Next day he called at Mr. Allum's station, and towards evening at Mr. MacMaster's, where he received hospitality. On February 23rd he visited Mrs. Smith, who invited him to dinner. Her husband, Captain Smith, was away in Wellington.

Four miles further on he came to Messrs. Northwood and Tiffen's station; here he was also pressed to stay, but had to push on. After visiting various native villages he arrived at Mataikona, where he spent Sunday, February 28th. He reached Porangahau on March 3rd and then made his way inland to Waipukurau where after a walk of 30 miles he arrived shortly after sunset on the 5th. Here he remained over Sunday, March 7th, and held the usual services and classes with the natives.

Next day he proceeded to Patangata and inspected some of the property that had been taken by the natives from the wrecked American brig Falco at Table Cape. This was then restored to the rightful owners by Paraone Hakihaki and his party. Thus after a long period Christian principles had triumphed over the evil influences which had caused a breach with the Church for more than eighteen months.

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On March 9th after a walk of six hours they reached Rev. W. Colenso's station at Awapuni. Here the natives from the surrounding district had assembled for Sunday, March 14th. There was a congregation of 350 of whom 182 partook of the Lord's Supper.

Next morning Archdeacon Williams and his party continued their journey homewards. Between 10 and 11 a.m. that day a sharp shock of earthquake was felt.

After visiting the various native settlements on the way, he reached Wairoa at noon on March 18th. Here he discussed with Rev. J. Hamlin a variety of matters which required attention, and held the usual preparation classes. On Sunday March 21st they had a congregation of 600 at the Morning Service, and at the Lord's Supper in the afternoon there were 151 communicants.

Next morning Archdeacon Williams left for Nuhaka; here he held further services, and 86 natives partook of the Lord's Supper. The party then pushed on, they were somewhat delayed by heavy rain on the 23rd but arrived home safely at 7.30 that evening.

This second journey of 700 miles on foot had been successfully accomplished without casualty or hindrances of any kind, and Archdeacon Williams expressed his deep gratitude to God for His protecting care of himself and his family.