Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Through Ninety Years

Chapter XXXVI

page 344

Chapter XXXVI.

1909–1916. Bishop L. Williams in Retirement. Further Records of Te Aute and Hukarere Schools. Death of Bishop Williams.

When the Primate had received the resignation of Bishop W. L. Williams he appointed Archdeacon H. W. Williams his Commissary. This gave him the necessary authority to call Synod for the election of a successor.

Although Bishop Williams felt unable to fully continue his previous duties, in the interval he held necessary confirmations in a few accessible places when asked to do so.

The Special Session of Diocesan Synod met in September with the Commissary in the chair, and unanimously elected Archdeacon A. W. Averill of Christchurch to be Bishop. He was duly consecrated in the Napier Cathedral on January 16, 1910, by the Primate, assisted by Bishop Williams and the Bishops of Christchurch, Nelson, Wellington and Auckland.

After the consecration all the Bishops attended the General Synod in Wellington.

During the remaining years of his life Bishop Williams made his home at the old “Taumata” house he had previously occupied.

The generosity of his brother many years earlier provided the necessary means for his maintenance.

The only official position he retained was his seat on the Board of the Te Aute Trustees, of which he was Chairman for many years. His experience and knowledge of the Maori rendered his services there invaluable.

He directed the control of both the Te Aute College and the Hukarere Maori Girls' School. He also continued a keen interest in the Te Rau Theological College which he had founded, and the Waerenga-a-hika Maori Boys' School which he had reopened.

page 345

He compiled his pamphlet of “East Coast Records” from which extracts have been quoted. Having acquired the use of a typewriter, he fully typed these “Records” and other interesting historical papers for which he had the necessary data.

In May, 1910, Bishop Williams took an ordination at Auckland for Bishop Neligan who was unwell.

He assisted at the consecration of Bishop Crossley who succeeded Bishop Neligan at Auckland in April, 1911.

In June he took part in the consecration of Rev. T. H. Sprott to the Bishopric of Wellington.

On Bishop Williams's return to Gisborne he caught a severe cold. This necessitated confinement to his room for several weeks. By continued care he was gradually restored to convalescence. It was, however, early in August before he was fit to return home.

At the beginning of October he was invited to stay at Te Aute to avoid influenza then prevalent in Napier, but a few days later a sharp attack of this complaint placed him in the doctor's hands. It again required a long period of careful nursing and skilled medical attention to bring him back to his usual health. He was then very thankful to return home.

Archdeacon H. W. Williams had undertaken to compile an enlarged Maori Dictionary or Lexicon based on the original Maori Dictionaries of his grandfather and father. In order to expedite this work he arranged, for a period, to be relieved of a portion of his clerical duties.

About the middle of June, 1912, he came to Napier to obtain his father's advice and assistance. For this purpose he brought a quantity of files of dictionary matter. They worked together for more than two months before the Archdeacon returned to Gisborne.

To complete their joint work on the Lexicon, the Bishop went to Gisborne at the end of the first week of February in the following year. By the middle of March they had finished compiling the work. It had still to be typed for the printer. This operation took considerable page 346 time. It was April, 1915, before the first proofs from the printer came for correction.

This dictionary was printed at the Government Printing Office and was issued in 1917.

The last General Synod Bishop Williams took part in was at Nelson from 16th to 29th January, 1913.

When he returned from Gisborne in the last week of April the H.M.S. New Zealand was at anchor in the Napier roadstead. Her commander sent him a special invitation, which he accepted with great pleasure.

The Auckland Diocesan Synod of 1913 invited Bishop Averill to become their Bishop. The other New Zealand Bishops urged him to accept. He did so, and left for Auckland on February 6th, 1914.

A Special Meeting of the Waiapu Diocesan Synod which was held on January 23rd elected Canon W. W. Sedgewick of Christchurch as their new Bishop. He arrived in Napier on February 19th. Three days later he was consecrated in St. John's Cathedral by the Primate, Bishop Williams and the Bishops of Auckland, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch assisting him.

Bishop Williams attended the opening of the Here-taunga Boys' School at Havelock North. (This school is now called “Hereworth.”)

He was deeply grieved at the death of his brother at Rouncil, Havelock North, on June 11th, 1915, in his 78th year after a protracted illness.

The last two voyages which he made from home were in October, 1915, and February, 1916, when he went to Gisborne to officiate at the weddings of two granddaughters.

During August his physical powers were noticeably failing, and on the evening of 24th August, 1916, he passed quietly to his rest at the age of 87 years. His mind had been wonderfully clear until a few hours before the end. This is exemplified by the notes in his pocket diary in his neat handwriting to within three days of his passing.

When the Bishop's library was dealt with a little later there fell from one of the books a slip of paper page 347 4½ inches by 3½ inches, on one side of which he had clearly written the following prayer:

O merciful Father look down upon
thine aged servant and bless HIM with
all spiritual blessings in Jesus Christ. Tiou
has led him many years through the
wilderness; Oh bring him in safety to the
promised land. May his last days be
calm peaceful and bright with heavenly
light. If it seem good to Thee spare him
all severe pain and suffering, all want and
helplessness, all failing of mind and memory.
Give him a lively faith and a true love of
Thee and a hope full of immortality.
His steps are drawing nigh to the grave
Oh may they also be drawing nigh unto heaven
And when the earthly house of this
tabernacle is dissolved may he find
a house not made with hands, eternal
in the heavens through our only
Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Presumably this was for his personal use.

To furnish data for their regular reports to the Church Missionary Society Bishop William Williams and his son William Leonard Williams made a habit throughout their Missionary careers of recording in journals the happenings from day to day. Many of these form valuable historical records, especially Leonard Williams's personal journals of the periods of the Hauhau rebellion in 1865, and the Poverty Bay massacre three years later.

Te Aute Trust Estate and College and Hukarere School

In the thirty-third Chapter mention has been made of the progress of the Te Aute College and Hukarere Maori Girls' School up to 1890. As these schools occupied Bishop Williams's attention during his later years, some further reference to them will not be out of place.

The trustees of the Te Aute School property had arranged with Archdeacon Samuel Williams to farm and develop it. As the place was gradually improved he paid page 348 them an agreed rent increasing from time to time. This rent was revised again in 1902 and based on expert valuation at a rent ten per cent higher.

The lease was granted for a term of years. The Archdeacon was thus enabled to carry on improvements to the property.

His continued liberality had enabled the trustees in the past to make several additions and improvements to the Hukarere School from time to time. It had already been arranged in 1892 that the Te Aute Trust property should from its income contribute to the maintenance of the Hukarere Maori Girls' School as well as the Te Aute College.

Miss Minton continued as matron for a number of years, and Miss Down as teacher was assisted for various periods by Misses Webb, Prentice and L. Down. In 1899 Miss J. Bulstrode from England was appointed principal. Two years later her sister, Miss E. M. Bulstrode, joined her as head teacher. These two ladies gave a splendid record of service to the school and its pupils.

The Hukarere School was mysteriously burned to the ground with all its contents early on October 21st, 1910, happily without any loss of life. The girls had, however, to be sent to their homes until after the Christmas holidays.

The trustees promptly decided that the school must be rebuilt on a more roomy site. For this they were able to secure the lease of suitable sections on Napier Terrace from the trustees of the Hawke's Bay Church Trust. They were also able to secure from the same trustees other premises on Burlington and Selwyn Roads as temporary quarters for the school use. These buildings were then adapted for the school and furnished. Here a school to accommodate fifty-five was reopened in February, 1911.

Plans were prepared and a contract let to build the new school in camerated concrete. This was to provide fifty per cent more room than its predecessor.

The old school site was leased to tenants as building sites, with a right of renewal on revaluation.

page 349

The amount recovered from the insurance of the old school was quite inadequate for the rebuilding. It was therefore decided to appeal for assistance from all friends and sympathisers, both Maori and European.

The Governor-General, Lord Islington, laid the foundation of the present Hukarere Maori Girls' School on September 30th, 1911. This was carried out with an appropriate ceremony, and gifts to a substantial sum were handed in.

After considerable delay the contract was finally completed. The Misses Bulstrode and their family of girls moved into their new quarters on July 18th, 1912. A formal opening ceremony was held on October 22nd.

During Mr. John Thornton's long term of thirty-four years as head master of Te Aute he had as assistants for varying periods Messrs. Winkleman, Jardine, Webb, Cato and others. Mr. Thornton had a breakdown and serious illness in June, 1912. He did not recover and sent in his resignation which was accepted. Mr. Thornton passed away on July 4th, 1914.

The Rev. J. A. McNickle was appointed head master of Te Aute College on October 21st, 1912. Mr. Cato who was second master under Mr. Thornton continued to fill the post for a time, but had to resign on account of ill health in June, 1915. A Mr. F. W. Christian had taken Mr. Cato's place temporarily. Mr. Brandon was also a teacher in 1915. Mr. O'Sullivan was appointed in 1915, and a Mr. Bannatyne in 1916. During the period of the Great War the trustees had great difficulty in maintaining their staff of assistants. This threw a great burden on Mr. McNickle.

After the death of Archdeacon S. Williams in 1907 his executors continued to work the Te Aute land and fulfil the terms of the lease until it expired. Anticipating this expiry the dispersal sale of the well-known stud herd of Shorthorn cattle was held in April, 1915.

As the development of the Te Aute land was then sufficiently complete, the trustees decided to form roads and subdivide the property into twenty-three farms, and page 350 offer them for lease by tender in January, 1916, with the right of renewal on revaluation.

A block of nearly eight hundred acres was not included in these farms, but provided the College Farm where the students could receive technical instruction and several residential sites to be let. These and the farms were all soon occupied and yielded a most satisfactory rental.

In October, 1877, the late Sir Douglas Maclean established the Te Makarini Trust and endowed it with £3,000 in memory of his late father, Sir Donald Maclean. The income from this has since provided annually a series of scholarships for many students at Te Aute College.

In 1908 a legacy of £1,000 from the late Sir Walter Buller was handed to the Te Aute Trustees for investment, the income from which was to provide for a scholarship for students at Te Aute College.


I cannot close these Notes without reference to a well-known, most faithful and efficient servant of the Diocese, John Beckett Fielder, who retired from office at the end of 1917 because of ill health. Since his appointment in 1876 he had carried out the duties of Diocesan Secretary, Treasurer, and Registrar. He was succeeded by Rev. W. J. Simkin.

After the retirement of Bishop W. W. Sedgewick, Archdeacon Herbert W. Williams was elected as his successor, and was consecrated the sixth Bishop of Waiapu on February 6th, 1930. He died suddenly in harness on December 6th, 1937.