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Through Ninety Years

Chapter XXIX

page 276

Chapter XXIX.

1871–1872. General Synod at Dunedin. Te Aute School Built. Napier Grammar School Started. Mrs. L. Williams Ill and Moves to Napier. Progress English and Native Work. Journey to Taupo. Bishop's Annual Reports 1871–1872.

In January, 1871, the Bishop, with Archdeacon W. L. and Rev. S. Williams attended the General Synod in Dunedin. Soon after this closed, the Dunedin Diocesan Synod met and elected Rev. S. T. Nevill as Bishop. This necessitated another trip to Dunedin for Bishop Williams to assist at the consecration of the Bishop there on June 4th.

Mrs. W. L. Williams was taken seriously ill in March, and though at first she progressed favourably she suffered a serious relapse during the following month which necessitated the calling in of medical advice, and confinement to the house. This resulted in a period of weakness for several months and a withdrawal from all activities. As soon as the Archdeacon, who was travelling at Wairoa, received word, he returned to Napier and on May 18th took Miss Kate Williams to Auckland where she took charge of the house. As soon as it was practicable they were relieved of the boarders.

Mr. Donald McLean offered the Bishop £600 for Te Aute School Building on condition it was placed under the Native School Act. This was declined, as it was feared that the condition might in the future have led to a loss of control by the Church. However Mr. McLean promised to aid in the current expenses. On September 15th R. Holt signed contract to build the Te Aute School.

On November 27th, 1871, Bishop Williams wrote the following Annual Report from Auckland: “For a long time past there has been but little to interest you from New Zealand. There was the native war which was page 277 deservedly unpopular because it was felt that the blame of it rested in great measure upon ourselves, and the consequence of this war was in many cases the open abandonment of Christianity, and among those who were steadfast there was still great spiritual depression. Many too have been carried away by the temptation to indulge in habits of intemperance, which have been promoted to the utmost by our own countrymen for the purpose of gain, so that many have been disposed to say that Christianity among the New Zealanders has died out. I had before me a forcible illustration of the way in which the unobserving may be mistaken in the opinions they form. On my way to this place I had occasion to pass the gold mines, and there I saw grey stone which was being broken off by powerful machinery. The result of the process was a quantity of grey mud which looked like any other mud. That mud is subjected to further treatment, and then there comes out the pure gold. So too if people will take the trouble to examine for themselves, they will find the pure gold of Christianity among many of the natives.

“The political situation of the country has a great influence both for good and evil, and it is admitted even by their opponents that the course pursued by the present Government has been successful. Waikato, Taranaki and Whanganui have been quiet, and there is a prospect of friendly communication with the King party. So far as we can see the only cause for disturbance which remains is the miscreant Kooti who is still at large, but parties from East Cape and Rotorua, with a few of the English constabulary are still using their endeavours to catch him. The most recent proof of a disposition to friendliness is a concession on the part of the King natives to allow the telegraph line to be carried through a native district near the Thames.

“In the religious state of the natives there is a decided improvement. In the southern part of the province of Hawke's Bay which is under the charge of Rev. S. Williams there is regular Christian worship maintained at every village. The native Clergyman Rev. R. Wiki, page 278 a most excellent Christian, was taken to his rest after a lingering illness in January last, and the natives would gladly have his place occupied by another if there was a man to fill the post.

“Turanga has suffered more than any locality on the East Coast from the effects of the Hauhau movement, and the war which followed it. The population is fearfully diminished, but there too we witness a shaking among the dry bones. The native Clergyman, Rev. Hare Tawha-a has kept on a steady course often amidst great discouragement. He belongs properly to Waiapu where he was for some years a teacher. When he was ordained his own people were indifferent to his return because he was so very plain spoken. He remained therefore at Turanga, but his people now wish to have him back. The Turanga natives on the other hand are determined to retain him. They said to me on my late visit, we don't want a young man or one which is afraid to speak. We are a hard set of people, and we wish for Hare Tawha-a who speaks plainly to us. At the same time they handed me £61 which they had collected for the completion of their endowment fund for his support.

“The natives also to the north of Turanga as far as Hicks Bay are rallying under their own pastors Rev. Matiaha Pahoe, Raniera Kawhia, Mohi Turei, and Wiremu Paraire.

“The Native Church Board, of which the Archdeacon will have given you an account, promises much benefit as a means of promoting the progress of good. It is in fact the carrying out of your own arrangements as proposed in an early paper upon Conferences. It is a meeting of the Maori Clergy and lay representatives of all places within convenient reach, for the purposes of conference and general regulations for the well ordering of the district.

“The building for the school at Te Aute is in progress and when completed we shall hope to have it quickly occupied. The school at Turanga was of a twofold character. There was the elementary school, and that for teachers and candidates for ordination. We page 279 propose that the school at Te Aute shall be of a more elementary character. The course which is now in operation at St. Stephen's in Auckland for the preparation of candidates is one which commends itself as likely to meet our present wants. It is a great advantage to have such men as Sir W. Martin and Dr. Maunsell together with others who give their lectures regularly every day in the week. There is now a promise that a supply of native clergymen may be obtained from time to time, and that gradually the native church may be placed upon a satisfactory basis. The trials of the past seem to be the means which God has used to purify his Church, so that many who had been carried away even so far as to renounce their religion altogether are now coming back again with a sincerity which they never felt before. God grant that the change may be lasting.”

In the early part of 1871 the Bishop arranged for the Rev. G. M. D'Arcy Irvine to take charge of the Church work among the English settlers in central Hawke's Bay, and obtained a house for him at Waipukurau. Some six months later Rev. D. S. Green was appointed for similar work at Meeanee and Taradale.

In his journal Bishop Williams thus records his first visit to Taupo in 1872: “Left home in Peters' van at 5.15 a.m. on February 27th and arrived at the Port at 5.30, crossed the entrance, and after some delay started at 7 a.m. At Petane had coffee, drove on slowly in consequence of the heaviness of the road. At Pohue about 12.30. Dinner and drove on to an open place four miles further on where the coach stopped and I rode on with the mailman and packhorse, starting at 3 p.m. crossed the Mohaka and passed Te Haroto, came to a native village at the river Waipunga, but could not stay as it was towards sunset. When we reached Tarawera it was dark. I was glad to find a room to myself at the accommodation house. After tea I went over to the stockade and saw Major Scannell with Captains Northcroft and Gascoigne and Mr. Bold and had a chat with them until 10 p.m. Major Scannell said he would write the officer in command to put me up in his quarters. February 28th page 280 left telegram to be sent when office opened. Started at 7 a.m. with Taupo, Mailman. The packhorse presently set off at a quick rate and shook off part of his load; after this was put to rights we went on at a moderate rate over a very rough country through forest, where a number of parties were at work cutting down timber to clear the telegraph line. My companion was chatty and intelligent, born at Taranaki in 1846. When we came to the open we saw Runanga on a hill about three miles off. Found Captain Withers very civil. There is a good reading room here with papers and periodicals. Most of the men were away at Tarawera at musketry practice. From this place we proceeded in a light coach, leaving at 12. We are now in open country, very barren, all pumice stone gravel, not having upon it more than two inches of soil which bears whitish tufty grass. Soon saw a high hill in the distance which is a short distance from Tapuaeharuru, and then we had a sight of Tongariro and Ruapehu. Came to the river Rangitaiki which runs to Whakatane. This we crossed by a bridge, and found there a dray taking a load of supplies to Tapuaeharuru. At present supplies are carried up principally on packhorses from Petane as far as Runanga, which is an enormous expense, and from thence they proceed by dray to Tapuaeharuru. The cost is about £30 per ton. Soon after we passed the bridge the coupling of one of the springs broke, but our coachman was a handy man and after an hour's delay he had secured it with a piece of chain and we were able to get to Opepe where there is a blacksmith. Major Scannell's note secured my accommodation at his quarters. After a good meal I arranged with the sergeant in command about a service for the evening. I had about 15 present. Our room was the library which had a considerable supply of novels, but also a few useful books such as Alison's Europe. There was a copy of Pilgrim's Progress which I found the Major had been using with an interleaved copy of Kemp's translation of it, writing the English opposite the Maori as a lesson in the language.

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“Feby. 29th. The coach has been repaired, but the driver does not intend to go on to Tapuaeharuru, having to go back to Runanga tomorrow, but he has provided me with a horse to go to Tapuaeharuru, so late in the afternoon I proceeded on and Captain Morrison kindly received me into his quarters. The Lake (Taupo) is a grand piece of water, and Tongariro and Ruapehu at the farther end are magnificent objects, but there is a total absence of trees and the land is dreary and barren.

“March 1st. Walked before breakfast to the camp garden which is a piece of redeemed swamp and yields a good crop of vegetables. After breakfast I crossed the river by the ferry to the native village, but many of the people are away. Spoke with the few whom I met, and then called on Mrs. Bower. The river Waikato runs out of the lake, at this point being 30 feet deep and running at the rate of three knots, and must carry an immense body of water. Had service in the evening at which I fancy nearly all attended.

“March 2nd. Left on my return at 9.30 a.m. reached Opepe in three hours. This camp is by the side of a wood in a pretty situation. While therefore Tapuaeharuru abounds in good water, this place has the advantage of an unlimited supply of firewood. Major Scannell was not back, but I spoke to Sergeant Major Bennett, and told him if I had had a horse I had proposed to go on to Runanga. He at once proposed that I should remain over Sunday and said they would be much gratified if I would do so, and he would provide me with a horse on Monday. I found that he is the coadjutor of Dr. Gibbs in holding service, and that they have it regularly. After a while Major Scannell made his appearance and expressed himself very glad to have me at his quarters.

“March 3rd. My host is a Roman Catholic, but is a very liberal one, and at service time he seemed to occupy his place as a matter of course. The service was quite cheering, they have a harmonium, and there were six or seven men who constitute the choir. After dinner I walked out with the Major and looked at the graves of page 282 the nine men who were killed by Kooti's people. In the evening I held a second service.

“March 4th. The Major was very particular in providing me with a good horse, one of the best walkers I have ever ridden. He also provided me with an escort. Left at 9 a.m. the distance being 25 miles to Runanga which I reached at noon. Captain Withers was very hospitable, and tells me he always reads prayers on Sunday mornings.

“March 5th. Went to see a small party of natives living near and had a short service with them. Left Runanga at 9 a.m. and reached Tarawera before 12. Went on to the Camp to send a telegram and see Capt. Northcroft, but found he had gone with a party to shoot pigeons. March 6th up early and started at 7 a.m. with a constabulary man who was leaving the service, from whom I learnt various particulars about the war.

“We reached the ferry crossing at the Port before dark.”

After returning from this journey the Bishop spent a fortnight at Gisborne in April urging the people to take steps to provide an income for an English clergyman to hold services there. He found that earlier a schoolroom had been built there and a committee formed, and with the approval of the Auckland school inspector, Mr. W. D. Lysnar (senior) had opened a school for young children in February. He appointed Mr. Lysnar a Lay reader to hold English Church services when no Minister was available.

At the end of November the Bishop visited Gisborne again and with Archdeacon Williams pushed on the canvass for the Church building fund.

For several years the Napier people had been dissatisfied with the tuition at the school conducted by Mr. W. Marshall at Napier Terrace, and for a long time an improvement had been sought for. After many meetings and discussions, in which the Bishop took part, it was arranged that Mr. Marshall should vacate his premises and retire on a pension guaranteed to him by several gentlemen. On March 28th, 1872, the Napier page 283 Grammar School Company was formed, a committee appointed, and a scale of school fees fixed. Efforts were then made to obtain a suitable master. After several disappointments it was decided to appoint Rev. G. M. D'Arcy Irvine of Waipukurau, who agreed to repay the £100 advanced by the Church for his passage from England.

On July 29th Mr. Irvine duly opened the school in Mr. Marshall's old building, with an attendance of 32 boys.

During the early months of 1872 Mrs. Leonard Williams's health had sufficiently improved for the Archdeacon to take her to Napier on May 4th and soon after a suitable house on the south side at the eastern end of Clyde Road was rented for them. Miss Kate Williams and the four younger boys followed them. The Parnell house was given up, and the furniture was shipped by S.S. Star of the South. The eldest son, Fred, came by same steamer at the end of the half year when school broke up, and they were soon established in their new home.

The first Synod since Hawke's Bay had been added to the Diocese and which was now attended by both English and Maori representatives, was held in Napier on August 13th and following three days, when necessary and useful business was transacted.

Mrs. Green died suddenly on June 21st and this led to Rev. S. D. Green's resignation of his charge.

As it was necessary to enlarge St. John's Church, it was decided to hold a bazaar in order to raise the funds wanted. On September 27th, 1871, the Bishop sent his sister in England £160, and asked her to procure and send out a number of articles which would make an attractive sale. These goods duly arrived in October of the following year. This bazaar was held on November 6th, 1872, and following days, when the gross takings reached nearly £400.

As there was not sufficient room on the site of St. John's Church for further extension and a school, the Bishop with the approval of leading men consulted, page 284 secured on October 19th from Mr. Robert Hart of Wellington, three quarter-acre sections at the corner of Browning Street and Church Lane, at the satisfactory price of £300. On this land a Sunday School was built and several years later St. John's brick Cathedral and the Diocesan Offices and Hall were erected there.

The Te Aute School was completed early in November and the master, Mr. Reynolds, and his wife took up their quarters and busily prepared for their work.

On December 11th and 12th a Native Church Meeting for this district was held at Pakowhai, at which the Bishop presided.

On December 19th, 1872, Bishop Williams wrote the following annual report: “For some years past the missionary work among the New Zealanders has been materially affected by the political state of the country. The excitement of war in the disturbed districts so far unsettled the people that those who were more earnest and sincere found it difficult to hold onward in their course, and it is now therefore the more encouraging to find that as soon as this excitement is at an end there is a more general return to old paths than we could have expected. Since the capture of Kereopa at the end of last year, Te Kooti has taken refuge with the King party at Waikato and the present Government has, wisely, I think, given up further pursuit of him, and I trust that he will quietly disappear from the scene as Nana Sahib did formerly. In respect of Christian progress, we have little to say, neither will you be looking for any glowing accounts. It is as much as we had a right to hope for that our congregations should hold together. But there is somewhat more than this, which is an indication of an approach to a more healthy state. Notwithstanding the great drawbacks, there has been in different dioceses an increase in our staff of clergy, of whom you will have reports given by others. There has been one ordination by the Bishop of Christchurch of a native who was under the care of Mr. James Stack. Two natives have been ordained at Otaki by the Bishop of Wellington, and two more by the Bishop of Auckland. There has been no page 285 addition in this diocese where the largest number of Maori ministers is found, but there is a strong desire for additional clergy, which we are not able to supply.

“It is twelve months since I visited Tauranga, and at that time the natives were suffering from the effects of the disturbances. Archdeacon Brown will furnish you with a general report of that locality.

“On the line of coast from Hicks Bay to the centre of Hawke's Bay there are eight Maori clergymen who earn for themselves a good report. Archdeacon Williams has held as much intercourse as possible with the different localities, and will furnish his own report. I have been twice to Poverty Bay which is undergoing a considerable change from the large influx of settlers. Many are the trying circumstances to which they have been subjected; still there is a number who walk consistently as Christians, and the body of the people are anxious to retain their Maori clergyman whose relatives living at East Cape have tried to remove him to their locality.

“The natives of Heretaunga scattered in small bodies over the whole of Hawke's Bay Province are under the immediate charge of Rev. S. Williams.

“The great drawback among the natives has been the neglect of the education of the young. When the people first embraced Christianity the Missionaries and the native teachers who went forth to instruct them were able to collect the people every morning, when after prayers they had school for about an hour before the business of the day commenced. This was kept up with regularity and the result was that nearly all the adults learnt to read. Having arrived at this stage the desire for instruction came to a stand. The older people had obtained what they wished for, and they were not sufficiently anxious to secure for their children the same advantages. They would not take the trouble to keep up schools in their villages. After this, central schools were established at some of the Mission Stations, but these were attended with much expense, because the children were fed. But even by this arrangement it was difficult to keep the children together in consequence of page 286 the indifference of the parents. Subsequently the Government took up the matter, and a sum of money was voted annually to assist in the establishment of village schools, in which the instruction was to be wholly in the English tongue. It was a long time before the natives showed any disposition to avail themselves of this provision, but during the last two years they have begun to see the advantage of an education which might place them more on a level with the English community, and several schools have been established over the country. Two of these are in this province, and are promising well, only they have this drawback, that in the Government schools no religious instruction is given. This we endeavour to provide for by an arrangement for the native teacher to give that instruction at another part of the day. The sincerity of the natives in their desire for schools is shown by the most profuse liberality in two instances. The natives of East Cape who have assisted strenuously in quelling the late Hauhau disturbances have had 10,000 acres awarded to them out of the confiscated land at Turanga. This they have leased to the Government, and they devote the proceeds to the support of schools.

“In this province too a block of valuable land amounting to 60,000 acres is about to be let for sheep farms, and the rent of this also is to be appropriated to the same object.

“The school buildings at Te Aute are now completed, and are being occupied, but we shall be better able to speak of this school some time hence. It will be entirely under our own control. We hope it may become the seed plot for future teachers of this people. The guardian care of our gracious God has been with us from the beginning, which has carried us through a large amount of trial and difficulty, and will we feel assured continue with us while we labour with singleness of purpose to carry on His work.”

The Bishop thanked his sister on February 20th, 1871, for a further £200, and again on May 25th, 1872, for another £200, which brought the amount of her collections up to £1,533, and he wrote that the Church Missionary page 287 Society Committee had granted another £250 which made their share £500, and the full total to that date, £2,033.