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Through Ninety Years


On the death of Captain G. E. Read who had held large trading and landed interests in Poverty Bay, Archdeacon W. L. Williams found that he had been appointed an executor and for some time carried out his duties in this connection, but early in 1880 he found that they would encroach too much on his more important duties to the Maoris. He therefore decided to relinquish the post; this necessitated a voyage to Auckland to obtain the appointment of new executors. On March 30th Mr. J. Friar Clarke of Auckland presented him with a Supreme Court order which appointed Messrs. J. Friar Clarke and W. Coleman as Read's executors and trustees, and the Archdeacon at once handed over all documents and papers to them.

Mr. Goodyear arrived from his station on February 3rd and next day set out with Archdeacon Williams on a journey round the Mahia, on through Wairoa and up to Waikaremoana, where they held their usual services and classes at the various native settlements. At Waikaremoana on the 11th they met some of the Urewera natives from Ruatahuna whom they had visited from the Bay of Plenty at the end of the previous year. On February 13th when they returned to Wairoa, of which the Rev. J. S. Hill was then in charge, they found Bishop Stuart had arrived. The Archdeacon interpreted the Bishop's sermon to the Maoris there. On February 18th they left for Gisborne by way of Te Reinga Falls.

On Sunday, 22nd, Bishop Stuart admitted Mr. Goodyear to deacon's orders at the morning service in page 316 Holy Trinity Church, and held a confirmation of 22 candidates in the evening.

The Archdeacon left on April 2nd, 1880, to attend the meeting of General Synod in Christchurch, from which, he returned home on May 16th.

On June 9th he paid another short visit to Wairoa, and in July, August and September he paid similar week-end visits to hold services and classes at Uawa and other centres along the coast.

At the end of September he proceeded overland to Napier, taking the usual services at settlements on the way. He took his seat at the Diocesan Synod, and when that was completed returned north, reaching Gisborne on November 2nd. During the various periods that he was at home he regularly continued his usual home work and classes for native teachers and leaders.

He closed the year with his usual summer journey along the coast to the north as far as Kawakawa. This lasted from 3rd to 20th December.

The Bishop of Dunedin had asked Archdeacon Williams, with the approval of his own Bishop, to go to his diocese and visit the isolated Maori settlements there, that they might have the advantage of instruction from an English minister who could converse with them in their own language.

Leaving Gisborne on February 8th, 1881, with that object, the Archdeacon visited the various native settlements in the Dunedin diocese, including those near Invercargill and on Stewart Island. This occupied him until the end of March.

Early in October he went to Napier to attend a missionary conference and a meeting of the C.M.S. Land Board; on the 18th of that month assisted Bishop Stuart in a Maori ordination service at Omahu, when Hoani te Wainohu was admitted to priest's orders, and Manahi te Aro and Nerei Runga were ordained deacons.

Throughout the year the usual visits of direction and instruction to the ministers at the native settlements were carried out, and the classes at home continued. The page 317 Archdeacon also attended as usual the Diocesan Synod in Napier.

In January, 1882, he noted that he had completed his book “First Lessons in Maori.” Some legal business in Auckland necessitated a voyage there at the end of that month, and a week later he went to Napier to arrange some diocesan business with the Bishop. On February 14th, accompanied by Rev. Nerei Runga, he left for Taupo, then visited Orakei Korako, Ohinemutu, Rotoiti, Tauranga and Maketu, holding services and classes at the various Maori centres, and reaching home on March 20th.

On April 8th, 1882, the Archdeacon accepted a tender for £369 for a cottage to be erected on the section opposite his own house, to accommodate further his native students.

Rev. E. Williams, the vicar of Holy Trinity Church, resigned and left Gisborne on April 19th.

Several short journeys along the coast to Maori settlements north and south, for the purpose of holding services and giving instruction, were made throughout the year.

The Archdeacon also attended the usual session of Diocesan Synod held at Napier in October. At that time the Missionary Land Board also met, and at Omahu a meeting of the Native Church Board was held, when an old Maori Chief, Noa Huke, advocating the extension of the Bishopric Endowment Fund, placed a subscription of £10 on the table.

On January 7th, 1883, Rev. H. Hamilton came to Gisborne to take duty for a time at “Holy Trinity” Church. He was succeeded there later by Rev.W. Cocks who resigned and left at the beginning of the following year.

Archdeacon Williams went to Napier on February 3rd, 1883, to attend a meeting of Missionary Conference and Mission Land Board. At the same time he arranged for a printer to publish the Maori Hymnal.

This year the General Synod was held in Napier and the Archdeacon left for that place on April 3rd to attend page 318 it, and mentioned that several important and interesting matters were debated and dealt with which are fully recorded in the published report. The Session completed its business on April 20th and he was able to return home on the 26th.

He retired from the Hospital Committee on July 4th when the annual election took place.

On September 8th he went by steamer to Napier to attend to some Diocesan duties and assist the Bishop in conducting the Meeting of the Native Church Board of the District at Omahu which as usual was attended by the English Missionaries and the Native Clergy and lay representatives. During this, on September 18th, the Chief Renata Kawepo, following the example set by Noa Huke the year before, handed in £50 he had collected for the Bishopric Endowment Fund.

Archdeacon Williams remained in Napier for the Diocesan Synod, which lasted from 24th to 27th September.

While at home he regularly held classes with his native students, and was responsible for the Sunday Maori services at the Kaiti Church or one of the other accessible native settlements.

During the year 1883 he made several journeys from Gisborne, which aggregated nearly two months, when he paid no less than thirty-five separate visits to various settlements for the purpose of supervising, directing and assisting the ministers and teachers there.

In the course of these journeys along the coast he travelled southwards round Mahia to Wairoa as far as Mohaka, and inland to Waikaremoana. Northwards he went as far as Reporua, at which place he held a meeting of the District Native Church Board.

In January, 1884, the Archdeacon paid a short visit to Napier to attend a conference of Missionaries and a meeting of the C.M.S. Land Board.

About this time the trustees decided to use the money recovered from the insurance of the homestead at Waerenga-a-hika, which had lately been burned down, in rebuilding it there.

page 319

A new edition of the Maori Bible was wanted, and Archdeacon Williams therefore now undertook to assist Dr. Maunsell of Auckland in the work of revision, in addition to carrying out his regular duties. The first instalment of the Doctor's revision notes came on June 13th. This work required many hours of careful and continued labour and a lengthy course of correspondence between himself and Dr. Maunsell during the next eighteen months. It also involved a visit to Auckland in September, 1884, when he spent a fortnight in personal conference with the Doctor and the Wesleyan missionaries who had joined in the work of revision.

Rev. J. E. Fox came to Gisborne on June 16th to take charge of Holy Trinity Church, and was the Archdeacon's guest for a few days.

Towards the end of September the Archdeacon attended the meetings of the Diocesan Synod, Native Church Board, and C.M.S. Land Board at Napier.

Throughout this year he made seven journeys round various parts of his district, which occupied in all fourteen weeks, when he paid seventy-two separate visits to Maori settlements and held the usual classes and services. To illustrate the interest of the Maoris in their Church, he recorded the receipt from a native of £40 towards the cost of material for a Maori Church at Waipare, and the collection at Anaura of £102 for a house for their minister. He opened a Maori Church at Whangara on August 24th, and before the “hui” (assembly) had dispersed a collection of £136 was taken up.

He heard that Archdeacon Brown of Tauranga had died on September 7th.

He held a meeting of the District Native Church Board at Gisborne on December 8th.