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Through Ninety Years

Chapter XXXIV

page 325

Chapter XXXIV.

1889–1910. Waerenga-a-hika Boys' School Built. Rev. E. Jennings Takes Charge. Rev. H. W. Williams Tutor at Te Rau. Progress of Work and Journeys. Bishop Stuart Resigns. Archdeacon Williams Elected Bishop. Death Mrs. Leonard Williams. Moved to Napier. Bishopric Endowment Fund Formed.

Rev. Herbert W. Williams and his wife, who had come from England with him, arrived in Gisborne on January 13th, 1889, and began their work when the Te Rau College students assembled on the 22nd. Mr. Williams at first assisted Mr. Jennings with the classes he had been taking, but he soon proposed to carry these on to higher grades. He also took his share of the Maori religious services which his father and Mr. Jennings had been conducting regularly.

This year the General Synod was held in Dunedin from 13th to 28th of February. On his way to this Archdeacon Williams attended the annual meetings of the Mission Trust Board at Napier and a continuation meeting at Wellington, and returned home on March 10th. As the Bishop of Christchurch had resigned the primacy at the close of the General Synod in Dunedin, an election was then held and Rt. Rev. O. Hadfield, Bishop of Wellington, was elected to this position.

When on one of his journeys the Archdeacon recorded that he had held a meeting of the Native Church Board at Opotiki on May 13th and following day. Matenga, one of his native ministers told him that when on a visit to Kaitara in September he met a party of people who had left Te Kooti's so-called religion, and showed their sincerity by buying prayer and hymn books.

Waerenga-a-hika Native Boys' School

The meeting of the Waerenga-a-hika Trust Board in August, 1889, decided to have plans prepared for page 326 additions to the homestead buildings to make them suitable to accommodate a boys' school with their master. At the following meeting in October it was resolved to proceed with the work in accordance with the architect's estimate of £1,539.

Later Rev. E. Jennings resigned from Te Rau College and was appointed head master of Waerenga-a-hika Native Boys' School. He took up his duties there on June 4th, 1890.

Rev. H. W. Williams then moved from the house he had been occupying to the now vacated Te Rau master's house, and remained in charge of the college.

The Waerenga-a-hika Boys' School proved so successful that it was found necessary to provide further accommodation, and on February 27th, 1892, a tender was accepted from a contractor, Ponsford, for £777 for the required additions, and on August 8th Norman Shaw was appointed assistant teacher.

At the Diocesan Synod 1889 the Bishop asked that authority should be given for the setting up of a Cathedral Chapter in accordance with recently passed Canons of General Synod. This was done accordingly, and the members of the Chapter were selected and the Bishop appointed Rev. de Berdt Hovell, the vicar of St. John's, the first Dean.

On February 17th, 1890, and the day after Archdeacon Williams attended meetings of the C.M.S. Land Board and Missionary Conference in Napier.

The Bishop went to Gisborne in March, and on the 9th held services for Ordination and Confirmation.

A question having arisen as to the correctness of the election of the Primate at the close of the last General Synod, a Special Meeting of General Synod was held in Wellington on April 23rd and 24th when Bishop Hadfield's election to the Primacy was confirmed and ratified.

This was followed by the confirmation of the election of Archdeacon Julius as Bishop of Christchurch, and his subsequent consecration.

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During this year the Archdeacon put in further work at a revision of the Maori Dictionary.

In March, 1891, Archdeacon Williams conducted the Bishop and his daughter on a visit along the East Coast to the north as far as Horowera. There a collection was made for general church purposes which amounted to £96 14s.

This journey occupied three weeks, when they visited fifteen places where they held a number of services with both Maoris and English, and at four centres the Bishop confirmed forty-five candidates who had been previously examined by the Archdeacon.

On a visit to Wairoa District he met the Bishop and Rev. A. F. Williams, and they held a meeting of the Native Church Board at Mohaka on October 19th where a collection was made towards the cost of printing a Maori reference Bible.

At another Native Church Board meeting at Horowera on November 30th a further sum was given for the same object.

On November 24th Archdeacon Williams arranged with a builder named Robb to erect a small church at Whangara for £165.

The Archdeacon attended the quarterly meeting of the Cathedral Chapter on January 16th, 1892.

Rev. J. E. Fox of Gisborne who had been in poor health, advised on January 23rd that he had been appointed to St. Augustine's Church, Napier.

The Mission Trust Board which Archdeacon L. Williams attended held its meeting in Wellington on February 2nd, 1892. This was followed by General Synod at the same place, which lasted until the 18th.

The Archdeacon was at Napier again on March 12th to assist the Bishop at a service at Waipatu, when Hoeta and H. Piwaka were ordained the next day. On the following day a meeting of the Native Church Board was held at the same place.

On May 1st Rev. A. S. Webb arrived in Gisborne to succeed Rev. J. E. Fox at Holy Trinity Church.

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During June the Archdeacon received proof sheets of the Maori reference Testament from the printers.

While on a journey, accompanied by his son, Rev. Herbert Williams, the Archdeacon held a meeting of the Native Church Board for the district at Kakariki on December 12th.

During 1892 it was decided to bring the Hukarere Native Girls' School under the Te Aute Trust Board, and from that date this Trust contributed annually to the upkeep of the Hukarere school. Archdeacon Williams on January 23rd, 1893, signed the Conveyance of the Hukarere School property to the Te Aute Trust Board.

Early in the year both Mrs. Williams and the Archdeacon visited Napier. He attended a meeting of the Cathedral Chapter and at the same time received from his printers proof sheets of the last pages of the revised Maori Dictionary.

The Primate arrived in Napier for the Mission Board Meetings on February 13th, which the Archdeacon attended.

On March 4th the Bishop and his two daughters arrived in Gisborne, having travelled overland by way of Wairoa, and the next day at Manutukea the Bishop ordained Nikora Taimona and Piripi to the ministry. There was a congregation of 300, of whom 84 were communicants. Archdeacon S. Williams who was visiting Gisborne preached the sermon.

On the 6th the District Native Church Board held a meeting at the College, when collections were made of £24 16s. 10d. for the Maori Reference Bible and Native Mission purposes.

Archdeacon W. L. Williams was advised by telegram that Te Kooti the erstwhile rebel died at Ohiwa on March 17th.

At the Diocesan Synod held in September the members were electrified to hear that the Bishop proposed to resign in order to take up Mission work in Persia.

The Archdeacon received the final proof of his page 329 “First Lessons in Maori” on October 20th which he passed at once, and returned to the printers for completion.

The following week he set out with the Bishop on his final episcopal visit to the East Coast, where he held confirmations at a number of centres. Major Ropata paid in £41 12s. on November 1st for the Te Horo pastorate endowment.

Rev. H. W. Williams accompanied his father on his last journey for the year, when they held the District Native Church Board Meeting at Tuparoa.

Bishop Stuart sent his resignation on November 15th to the Acting Primate, Bishop Cowie of Auckland, and returned to Napier with his daughters on the 17th. He then telegraphed that the C.M.S. had cabled him to go to England before proceeding to Persia.

The Bishop later advised that he would leave for Taupo and Rotorua on the 26th and proceed from there to Auckland where he would attend the Mission Board Meeting on January 8th.

Archdeacons Leonard and Samuel Williams met Bishop Stuart in Auckland, where they all attended the Mission Board Meetings on January 9th and 10th, 1894.

Archdeacon L. Williams called on Dr. Maunsell, whom he found very frail though happy in mind.

He went up to Te Awamutu and held services with the natives on the 14th.

The two Archdeacons spent a week in the Bay of Islands visiting their relatives before going back to Napier to say farewell to Rt. Rev. E. C. Stuart on January 31st.

Before his departure the Bishop was presented with a well filled purse and good wishes were expressed to him by the ministers of other denominations besides the Church people.

Archdeacon Williams was appointed Commissary by Bishop Cowie of Auckland, the Acting Primate, and summoned a meeting of the Diocesan Synod in Napier on April 26th to elect a successor to the Bishop. It, however, failed to accomplish its object.

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On June 11th the Archdeacon attended the consecration of Rev. C. Wilson as Bishop of Melanesia at St. Mary's Church, Auckland.

He recorded exceptionally heavy falls of rain in Gisborne on June 17th and 18th making a total of 14.26 inches for the forty-eight hours, from which much damage was caused by high floods. Mr. Charles Gray at Waiohika recorded 16.45 inches for the same period.

The Diocesan Synod assembled again on September 25th when Archdeacon W. L. Williams was elected as the new Bishop.

The Synod then proceeded with its annual business, which was completed on the 28th. A Native Church Board meeting was held at Waipawa on October 1st.

The health of Mrs. Leonard Williams had been failing for some time, and she suffered from severe attacks of pain which caused her family great anxiety. On December 1st the Archdeacon took her to Napier as it was hoped that further professional advice which could be procured there, might afford her some relief. This, however, proved unsuccessful, and after a period of severe suffering she passed away on December 18th at Hukarere, the residence of the Archdeacon's mother, with whom they were staying.

Archdeacon Williams and his daughter Edith completed the removal of their effects to Napier, where in due course they took up their residence in the Taumata house which Bishop Stuart had occupied.

Throughout the eight years 1886 to 1893 Archdeacon W. L. Williams continued his regular weekly native services, and as Principal of the Te Rau College managed and directed the course of its work.

Over the wide district he controlled he also yearly made some five to seven journeys north and south directing and supervising the native ministers and teachers. Each year these journeys covered periods of from twelve to fourteen weeks, when he would pay visits to from one hundred to one hundred and fifty places annually.

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On every suitable occasion he held Church Services for English settlers as well as Maoris.

During the latter half of this time Rev. H. W. Williams in addition to his duties as Tutor at the College, assisted his father at the native services, and at times accompanied him on the longer journeys during the College vacations. On suitable occasions these journeys were extended into Bay of Plenty area and Taupo.

The Bishopric Endowment Fund

There was no Endowment for the See when Bishop William Williams was consecrated; he was provided for from sources outside the Diocese. He secured sundry sums from native contributors for this purpose. The first was £257 10s. 6d. recorded in the accounts presented to Synod in 1861, increased to £589 11s. 9d. at the 1864 Synod. These were invested in houses and land at Onehunga near Auckland.

It was resolved at the Synod of 1874 “That it is incumbent on the members of the Church to make a vigorous effort towards providing a sufficient fund for the Endowment of the Bishopric.”

The two immediate successors to the first Bishop had both been missionaries, and the Church Missionary Society continued their respective stipends while they held office.

Archdeacon W. L. Williams at the Synod of 1877 urged that the Bishopric Endowment Fund should be raised to £5,000. A Committee was appointed which reported to Synod next year that the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge had offered a grant of £500 available when £4,500 had been raised, and that fifty-five subscribers had promised £3,885 to be paid over a series of years. This was gradually collected and added to, and the Committee was able to report to the Synod of 1889 that the S.P.C.K. grant had been received, and the capital had reached £5,610 including the Onehunga property.

At the Synod the following year Dean Hovell proposed that the Colonial Bishoprics Fund Committee page 332 should be applied to for a grant. This Committee offered to give £500 when a further £4,500 had been raised.

Four years later the Endowment Fund Committee reported that Rev. J. Hobbs of Hastings had undertaken a canvass of the Diocese, on which he secured promises amounting to £1,696.

Continued efforts extending over several years enabled the Committee to report to Synod in 1903 that the Endowment Fund had been then raised to £10,023 including grants of £500 each from the Colonial Bishoprics Fund, and a second grant from the S.P.C.K.

A good investment in land had been secured for £10,000 and the next year this property was let for a term for £500 per annum.

At the Synod of 1906 when the capital stood at £11,456 15s. the Bishop urged that a See house should be provided. It was then decided, on the motion of Archdeacon D. Ruddock, to endeavour to raise the Endowment Fund to £25,000 to include also the See house. The Archdeacon, who had worked in the Diocese for several years, after retiring from the Melanesian Mission, made a full canvass of the Diocese.

The next year it was reported that a group of churchmen had undertaken to contribute £1 for every £1 subscribed by others to the extent of the additional amount proposed.

The contributions were paid annually for a term of years, and up to 1909 the promises from both sources had amounted to £7,000, of which £3,000 was allocated to the See house.

At the 1910 Synod the Committee reported that a suitable house in Clyde Road had been purchased. This absorbed capital to the amount of £3,830.

The Bishopric Endowment and See House Committee continued its work obtaining additions from time to time. It reported to the Synod of 1916 that its capital, including the See house, had reached £23,036 7s. 7d.