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Through Ninety Years

Chapter XXI

Chapter XXI.

1862–1863. Further Building at Waerenga-a-hika. Leonard Williams Appointed Archdeacon. Additions to Staff. Natives Restless and Discuss Government Policy. Fighting with King Supporters. Renewal at Taranaki. Church at Manutuke Completed and Opened. Second Diocesan Synod. Bishop Visits Tauranga and Auckland.

Up to the end of 1861 Bishop Williams and his family had still occupied their old house which had been moved from Whakato, and was to be used as the native girls' school. Their new dwelling close by, which had been for a long time in course of erection, was still unfinished and could not be used. It had also been decided that a new house should be built for Rev. Leonard Williams more suited to his family; that his old quarters might be available for the increase in their staff which they hoped to receive at an early date.

To furnish material for these two buildings Bishop Williams had selected ten suitable timber trees in a forest close by, and had agreed with the native owners to pay them a royalty of £1 per tree.

After the Bishop and his party left, Rev. Leonard Williams wrote to him regularly by the several trading vessels bound for Auckland, and told him the progress page 180 of the work at Waerenga-a-hika. He mentioned that before turning out their horses he had some cattle driven in and marked 6 calves.

The sawyers who had been cutting timber had within a week been stopped by the natives, who ignored their agreement, and now demanded double the royalty. This Leonard Williams refused and after several meetings and arguments extending over a fortnight finally induced the natives to supply the 10 trees at the price originally specified. Meanwhile the carpenters were planing weatherboards already sawn, and the school natives were procuring and sawing firewood. Early in January he sent the usual notices to the neighbouring kaingas (native villages) that he required a gang of reapers for harvesting their wheat in the following week. Any of the old wheat in the barn was threshed to make room for the new crops. Some of the parties refused to come, asserting that they were otherwise busy. In due course, however, a suitable team put in an appearance sufficient to man 37 sickles and 2 scythes, with several wives and children to assist in gathering and stooking. These all had to be fed, for which some pigs and other food had to be procured. The harvesters did good work and the first field was cut and stacked or housed in the barn in satisfactory time, but the last field which had been somewhat damaged by rain in the interval was not completed until February 8th. A field of potatoes was also dug. Both of these crops were short in quantity.

The carpenters had sawn some house blocks and began setting them in position for Leonard Williams's house on January 16th. They, however, worked so slowly that by March 21st they had only got up the frame of the walls but not the roof. They were then proceeding to put on weatherboards, but these, owing to native hindrance, were not all cut yet.

Rev. Leonard Williams sent the Bishop lists of window sashes and other building materials, and supplies wanted, which in due course came by trading vessels.

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He also mentioned that the Governor's proposals for appointing magistrates and assessors mentioned previously, were not favourably received by the Ngatiporou on the East Coast, who were much concerned about them.

In addition to directing the various works mentioned above, the usual routine of teaching and supervising the household duties in the schools and the regular religious services, were all maintained.

The Bishop and Mrs. Williams left Auckland on May 11th and reached home after a passage of eight days; here they received a most hearty welcome from the natives and all the family who during their absence had been occupying the Bishop's house.

Mrs. Williams wrote on May 29th, 1862: “Leonard worked very hard to complete the chimney in his father's new study, and to get our new bedroom habitable against our return. The house is now in a fair way to being finished, Leonard's new house is also in progress; the one he now inhabits is to be for anyone who may come to help us.”

And on July 3rd she wrote further: “We did not then know how the preserving hand of Providence had been stretched out on our behalf. William used every effort to induce the owners to contrive accommodation for us on the unfortunate Pole Star which sailed, and has not since been heard of. It is supposed that she was lost, and that the passengers and crew have all perished, in all sixteen souls.”

Rev. Leonard and Mrs. Williams moved into their new house during the following week, and their youngest daughter, Agnes Maria Williams, was born on July 21st, 1862.

Bishop Williams found when he reached home that the work on his house had not progressed as far as he desired, and on July 19th wrote thus to his daughter: “On my return I thought it well to make a stir about the carpenters' work, so I told Cooper (his foreman) that he should be Chief Officer, and I would be Captain. I proposed that the eight carpenters should divide the page 182 work and go on in four sets, and ever since they have had respectable progress. Hare and his mate have lined the drawing room, and Riwai has lined the long passage, and now they are doing the staircase. Teira is laying the floor of the dining room, and your bedroom, and Wi Paraire has been doing the entrance. Leonard meantime has built the chimney of the drawing room and it seems as if there would be a house at last. The comfort we found on our return in the bedroom and study is very great, particularly the latter. It is now the most used room in the house. This study has given an impulse to my ideas, and powers. I have already begun the history.”

Bishop Williams wrote further on July 21st: “Our schools go on well, but we are sadly in want of help. I have applied to the Society, but as yet have had no encouragement. We have partly moved into our new house, and I am able to set about the long talked of history of the Mission.”

He wrote again on August 20th, 1862: “Our daughter Maria is still at the Bay of Islands where I trust she is deriving some benefit, though I do not hear that her back has materially improved.”

On November 10th Bishop Williams wrote: “Leonard is now the Venerable Archdeacon of Waiapu. I held back for some time before giving him this appointment, though I felt it both expedient and necessary. Now I have the satisfaction of having the opinion of both Bishop Selwyn and Mr. Venn (Secretary of C.M.S.) in favour of the measure. We are hoping to receive some help from the Society. Then too we are at liberty to engage a school-master in this country, to whom the Society will allow £100 a year.”

Just as the schools were closing for the vacation the Bishop and Mrs. Williams were much cheered by the arrival at last on December 9th of Miss Tutin, a lady of whom they had heard when in Auckland, and with whom they had been in communication for some months. They had also engaged a schoolmaster, Mr. Gore Graham, who arrived with his wife before the end of the month.

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The second Diocesan Synod of Waiapu was held at Waerenga-a-hika on January 5th, 1863, and following days. Of this Bishop Williams wrote on January 19th: “Our second Synod is just over, we had three English Clergymen, Messrs. Spencer, Clarke and Volkner, besides Leonard and three native clergy. We had also 23 native Lay members of Synod. Nine of these came from Bay of Plenty. Mr. Spencer who is an American arrived a fortnight before the time, and gave us the opportunity to become acquainted with him, and the result is that he became a general favourite with all. The native clergymen dined with us, and had their other meals at Leonard's. The lay members with a few other native visitors, were invited in small parties to every meal so as to make sure of paying attention to all. The business transacted was satisfactory, and interest in it increased.”

When the schools reopened at the end of January, 1863, the Grahams and Miss Tutin entered upon their duties. For several months Mr. Graham's work gave every satisfaction, but as time went on it deteriorated to such an extent that before the end of August his services had to be dispensed with. Miss Tutin gave what assistance she could in the work but as she did not possess the necessary qualifications she retired about twelve months later.

Soon after Sir George Grey came back in 1861 he made enquiry into the Waitara land purchase, and was satisfied that Wiremu Kingi had not been justly treated and that Waitara must be given up. Owing, however, to differences with his responsible advisers, the necessary proclamation was not published; this was delayed until after the tragedy at Tataraimaka when Dr. Hope, Lieutenant Tragett and others were shot on May 4th, 1863. This delay conveyed to the natives a wrong impression of the attitude of the Government.

After this fighting was resumed in Taranaki which was followed by the invasion of Waikato by the Government forces on July 12th without previous declaration of war.

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Before this outbreak of hostilities in Waikato the Governor had visited this district and talked freely with the natives. At the same time he was employing the troops making roads to give access to the principal Maori settlements, which gave colour to the statement* “He sometimes deceived himself so far as to hope that his intentions were only peaceful, while they saw clearly enough that without desiring war he was systematically preparing for the possibility of it.”

The outbreak of hostilities in Waikato later extended to the Tauranga district and rendered it necessary to close the native school there conducted by Revs. Charles Baker and E. B. Clarke, who, with Archdeacon Brown and other Europeans, retired to Auckland.

In the Waiapu Diocese the usual work and religious services were carried on, notwithstanding the various disturbing circumstances which in other parts were agitating the minds of the natives.

The Church building at Waiapu mentioned on page 175 had stirred up the natives of Turanga to push on the completion of the Church at Manutuke which had been allowed to remain in abeyance for a long time. The Bishop tells of the opening of this building in his letter of May 7th.

James Williams went to Bay of Islands in February to bring his sisters home. Maria Williams was reported by the doctor as decidedly better. They left the Bay of Islands early in March, and in due course reached home safely.

On March 25th, 1863, Mrs. Williams wrote: “You have heard of the earthquake at Te Aute, it seems to have been a fearful affair. Rev. F. A. Armitage from England took us by surprise. He is a very nice man and we are all very much pleased with him, and enjoy his society. He will stay two or three weeks and then go by the Coast road to Opotiki. Leonard will probably contrive his visit to Waiapu at the same time, for their mutual benefit. He is much interested in the work here.”

* “East Coast Records,” Chapter III.

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At the end of the previous year Mrs. Heathcote, the Bishop's sister in England, had written that Miss Wood was prepared to join their staff. This was agreed to, and she arrived at Auckland by the ship Queen of Beauty on August 10th and under the escort of Archdeacon Leonard Williams reached Waerenga-a-hika on September 22nd and took up her duties.

On May 7th, 1863, Bishop Williams wrote: “Samuel and his family arrived from Ahuriri on April 4th when we were preparing to be very busy with our great meeting (at Manutuke). They had been a little more than a week with us when on the day that the whole establishment, more than 100, was preparing to go to the old station for the meeting, we were rejoiced to see Maria and Emma escorted by James. The vessel which brought them was going on the same day to Napier; as a consequence James only remained an hour, that he might go to look after his sheep, having been away more than ten weeks. Maria I am thankful to say is decidedly better, though far from strong. She was left at home and nearly all the rest of the family went to witness the gathering at Whakato. There were natives from many distant places, and some from the disturbed district of Waikato, many of whom belong to the King party. They brought with them a King flag, and their hope clearly was that they would be able to make converts on this occasion and strengthen their party.

“The opening of the church did not take place till April 19th. The building is plain in its exterior, and will look heavy until a tower is erected which is contemplated. Within it is elaborately carved, and presents a specimen of native art which is nowhere else to be seen. There were present in the building over 1,200 persons, and there were many who could not gain admittance. There was a collection amounting to £327 for the endowment of the Bishopric, there having been collected for the same purpose at Waiapu £255 two years ago. Monday was taken up in bringing together a large quantity of food for the visitors, and on Tuesday the meeting for business took place.

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“A very excellent native (Anaru Matete) of this place seemed to be deputed by his own people as the chief manager, in fact he was president without being formally so. After speaking of the opening of the Church, and recommending that churches should be built in every place, and endowment funds be raised for the support of the native clergy, he came to the subject which was of general interest ‘The Union of the Native tribes.’ It was with an idea to secure this that the king movement has been set on foot. He pressed the people to consider well the basis for this union. They had become one in regard to Christian profession, if there were great divisions among the tribes. One of the king's men here proposed unity under the native king, but at length it was carried that there was no sure foundation but Christ. The king party was much disconcerted, and while the feeling was not to join the Government but remain neutral it was a point gained in favour of the Government, and the king party was frustrated.”

Bishop Williams wrote on July 23rd, 1863: “War has again commenced at Taranaki, this time the wrong is done by the natives. Up to this time the natives on this side of the Island are quiet and show no disposition towards a hostile course except that there is a party at East Cape, stirred up by one very bad man, who are trying to raise a party to go and join the people of Taranaki. Our native clergymen in the meantime are doing their best to counteract the evil. We see the good effect of our school upon this question. We have many natives from East Cape with us, and though we are not in the habit of talking about the Government or recommending it, yet their minds are most decidedly in favour of it. Their understandings are clear as to the advantages to be derived from good order.

“For the present I fear that the Governor's plans for introducing a system of Magistrates to consist chiefly of natives must remain in abeyance simply because of the strong prejudices which have grown up out of this king movement.”

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Bishop Williams wrote on September 18th, 1863: “I have at present some efficient help, Rev. Jas. Hamlin, whose health has improved. He is now with us waiting for priest's orders, to which I hope to admit him when Leonard is back. It is very pleasant to have him here, and he takes a very important part in the men's school. We came from England together 35 years ago, and have seen together a variety of changes, much that is good and much that is evil. We can thank God for a great work that has been accomplished.

“We are much enjoying our new house. It is not thoroughly finished, but most of the rooms are papered and made comfortable.* This has all been done in the family, and is completed in professional style.

“The newspapers will have told you that in the neighbourhood of Auckland the war there is assuming a serious aspect. Sir George Grey has I believe been sincerely desirous of pursuing a peaceful course, and has exercised great forbearance, but the natives of Waikato who had long ago set up a King for themselves were determined not to admit any of his proposals, but this is not all, they have committed many overt acts. There was a plot formed to murder a body of English settlers living on Government land which was frustrated; lastly as soon as an onward movement was made by the troops five settlers were murdered who were living upon their own farms. This made it necessary that stringent measures should be taken.”

At this time Mrs. Williams thanked Mrs. Heathcote for a new and larger bread-making machine that she had sent for the school. This had just been opened up and used to the gratification of all who had to do with it.

This new bread-mixing machine was installed to the main school bakehouse, the smaller old one remaining in the kitchen at the native girls' school attached to the Bishop's house, where there was also their first brick oven.

* This house was never completely finished, as more than half of the upper floor at top of the staircase remained a large open space undivided into rooms up to April, 1865, when the Bishop and his family left Waerenga-a-hika never to return.

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Archdeacon Leonard Williams on a few pages earlier had reported to the Bishop the harvesting of the wheat crop. It may here be mentioned that their early wheat supplies were threshed on a canvas sheet by hand with flails each made of two pieces of wood 3 to 4 feet in length, about 1½ inches in diameter, fastened together at one end with a flexible hinge of leather or raw hide. With these, men beat the grain from straw heads, and then winnowed the chaff from it by hand. The grain was then poured into the hopper of a steel mill, turned, and ground at first by man power. When their crops increased, and they were able to procure suitable machinery, a small threshing and winnowing machine was substituted for the hand flails, and a larger steel mill was now used for grinding, driven by what was known as a horse power This was a geared machine revolving on a heavy iron upright spindle about two feet high, strongly fixed to the ground, from the top of which a strong beam 12 to 15 feet long projected parallel with the ground; to the outer end of this a horse was attached and driven by a boy on a circular track. The power thus developed was conveyed to the mill, placed outside the radius of the track, by a horizontal shafting fixed at ground level that the horse might step over it where it intersected the track.

This same power was applied also to a larger type of threshing machine which could not be worked by man power.

The bread was usually made from whole meal. A limited amount of the meal, however, was sifted by two boys through a fine hair sieve to produce white flour for cakes and pastry.

The organising and directing of all these operations necessitated the constant supervision of those in charge of the school work.

Bishop Williams received a summons to attend a meeting of the Central Missionary Committee in Auckland. Mrs. Williams accompanied him as she required medical advice for her eye-sight. On December 7th, 1863, she wrote thus from Auckland: “We left page 189 Turanga on November 7th after a fortnight spent sometimes at anchor; being unable to cope with the strong west winds we ran back to Poverty Bay for a fresh supply of provisions, having a large party of passengers as well as a cargo of live stock. We were two days at home, glad to refresh ourselves, and then left again, but again were hindered for four days by our little vessel grounding on the bar of the river. The greater part of that time, however, we were on shore. At last on the 27th we succeeded in getting away once more and after a smooth pleasant passage of four days we were by the good hand of God upon us brought to our destination.

“I did not make up my mind to accompany William till a few days before we left, my chief inducement was to have advice for my eyes which have been troubling me for some time past.

“Maria goes on improving slowly.

“When we returned home, Leonard was gone on a journey to Waiapu, and being holiday time Kate and Marianne had gone with him, a ride of eighty miles and back again.

“I quite expect that Rev. Edward Clarke will be transferred to Turanga to help in our schools, as there is little probability of the Tauranga school being resuscitated.”

Bishop Williams wrote from Auckland on December 7th, 1863: “The papers will have told you that we are again involved in war, which has caused a good deal of loss of life, not in regular conflict but chiefly from marauding parties attacking solitary settlers, which course has generally issued in greater loss to the natives. There is now, however, a large body of troops together and an attack has been made upon the Waikato stronghold, which has resulted in much loss of life on both sides, but eventually in the capture of about 180 natives, many of whom are principal chiefs. There is good reason to hope that the natives will give up this fruitless contest, and that they will submit themselves to the authority against which it is vain for them to contend. It is a sad state of things for us to have arrived at, but there did page 190 not seem to be any alternative. From whatever cause it may have had its origin, the natives have set up a supreme authority which they call a king, with a view they say of binding together in one the Maori people. This was thought to be harmless at first, until they tried to make it tell upon the English population. Then there was stirred up active collision which could not be allowed. Roads through the country were stopped up and a scattered white population living among the natives were driven in, even from lands which they had purchased, because they would not acknowledge the native king. This was followed by other acts of aggression which could not be submitted to. The natives were warned that if the continued this course their lands would be confiscated, and now they are in the way to reap the bitter fruit. I do not see what other course the Government could have taken than that which they have taken. Much suffering has been entailed, but there will be a more healthy state of feeling in the end, and then I believe that the cause of Christianity will revive among them. I am persuaded that the Governor sincerely wishes for their good. He has tried a conciliatory course until it could be tried no longer, but still if only there is quiet submission they will be mercifully and liberally dealt with so far as circumstances will allow.

“I am now here for the purpose of conferring with some of my brethren upon the difficulties in which we are placed. At this time our stations on the Waikato, with those on the Thames, and another at Tauranga are well nigh suspended, but there is One who ruleth and will make that which appears to be all dark and hopeless again burst forth into light and prosperity. We are thankful that the natives on the East Coast have for the most part escaped this evil. They have had no wish to take part in these troubles and they will reap the benefit.”

The usual work and religious services in Waiapu and Turanga were steadily carried on through the year notwithstanding all the various disturbing circumstances which were agitating the minds of the natives.