The Past and Present Of New Zealand With Its Prospects for the Future
Chapter I. — Sunshine and Shade; or, the Past, Present, and Future of the Church in New Zealand
Sunshine and Shade; or, the Past, Present, and Future of the Church in New Zealand.
The last great command given by our Lord to His followers previous to His Ascension was, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark xvi. 15.) We cannot therefore suppose, that such a command would be given without its being intended to be obeyed, or that those who page 2 sought to be obedient to it, would be left without His aid being afforded from above. Without such a conviction being firmly impressed upon mind, the servant of God, knowing his own weakness, would never dare to attempt the work; but, to imagine such a thing, would be virtually to think that God’s hand is shortened, and that He is either less able or willing to aid His servants now, than He was in times of old.
The miraculous powers, indeed, which were bestowed upon the earliest proclaimers of the Gospel, may seem to have been withdrawn; such as raising the dead, healing the sick, and speaking the languages of the Heathen. Still, it is a question whether miracles of a purely spiritual nature are not now as evidently wrought in manifestation of God’s power among the Heathen, as the more material ones were in times of old. The state of the world now is not what it was in Apostolic times; and therefore it is reasonable to suppose that the Lord suits His dealings and operations so that they shall best meet the exigencies of the times. The Great God of the Universe may so work, that the progress made towards the accomplishment of His purposes may not for a time be seen, and yet the progression made be still sure and certain.
The advance of the Gospel in Heathen lands in this our day is evident, and fully establishes the fact that it is the Lord’s doing. The wonderful way the Word of God is multiplied and dispersed throughout the world, can only be regarded as a miracle, far greater than that wrought at Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. The preparing of the way of the Gentiles is also to be observed,—a highway for the Heathen. The increase of commerce; the bringing of the most distant ends of the world together; the facilities of intercourse with nations, scarcely known even by name some few years ago; the breaking down the barriers which opposed the entrance of the Gospel, as in China and Japan; clearly prove a work is going on, and on such a scale of magnitude as far exceeds that of past experience.
The extension of the Gospel in the first century of our era was most surprising. But soon the energy of diffusion page 3 seemed to wane; its force appeared exhausted; a long period of comparative inaction followed; the stream of life seemed absorbed by the sands of the desert it flowed through. Again the fountain of vitality bursts out; renewed efforts are made by the servants of God to extend the Redeemer’s kingdom. They combine their powers; a new feature of their energy is exhibited; union of particles form the stone cut out of the mountain without hands; and already are the results filling the whole earth. Bible and Missionary Societies arise; the prince of this world has his standing armies, his Armstrong and Whitwell guns, his Minnie rifles and needle guns, his ironclads, and all sorts of inventions to destroy life; and his still more subtle efforts are directed to make Christian men believe a lie, that killing by the thousand is not murder, and wholesale robbery on the grandest scale is not theft. But he goes even beyond this; and to blind men to their ruin he throws dust into their eyes, so that they cannot discern the truth; by outward forms, by tinsel adornments, he strives to make even professing Christians lose sight of the simple truth, that “God is a Spirit, and they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” On the other hand, however, the Chief Captain of our salvation is not inactive. He, too, has His weapons to destroy the adversary; He has the Sword of the Spirit—His Word translated into every tongue; thus so sharpened on both sides, as to cut wherever it is carried. He, too, has His Tract Societies, which, like the leaves of the Tree of Life, are given for the healing of the nations; and He has His standing armies constantly employed in foreign service, to break down the strong-holds of Satan; to take possession of them; and to dispel the darkness of past ages, and cause the light of life to shine.
If the first epoch of our faith excites our wonder at the extent of the field of its operations, what shall we think now? Is the Lord’s hand shortened? Are we not entering upon another epoch of the Church? Is it not now represented by the flying eagle? Is not the Lord now rapidly fulfilling His Word? The invention of steam; the remarkable page 4 extension of railroads; the cutting down hills; the filling up vales; the making the crooked places straight, and the rough places plain; men running to and fro; every department of knowledge increasing; electric telegraphs conveying thought even across vast oceans, with lightning speed; all betoken the rapid fulfilment of prophecy, and the approach of that time when “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. ii. 14.)
The present field of the Gospel warfare is only to be measured by the surface of the whole world. In every part are detachments of His army sent; and whilst there are apparent seasons of sunshine and shade in each, still, throughout the whole, the Redeemer’s kingdom is surely, certainly, and permanently advancing, and attests the fact, that the Lord is setting up His kingdom on earth, and making His banner an ensign for the Heathen.
The very fact of fighting, contending, and striving, proves the presence of an enemy, and a powerful one also, being no less an one than the prince of this world; he has his armies, and far more numerous than those apparently are, which belong to the Chief Captain of our salvation. Shall we be surprised if he seeks to make it appear that he is the conqueror? In ordinary wars, how common is it for the losing side to issue false despatches, and to make the public think it is conquering, when, in reality, it is on the point of being conquered and destroyed. The world, too, is far more ready to believe the one than the other; but still, sooner or later, truth must prevail. The Kingdom of Christ must be established, and He must reign over it for evermore.
In taking a view of the past state of the New Zealand Church, it will be necessary first to give a short description of the Maori race before the Gospel was introduced amongst them. We cannot well picture to ourselves a race of men more savage and debased, more strongly bound with an age-rivetted chain, than they were. Killing was literally no murder, and man regarded his fellow-man as page 5 his proper food, which he was justified in using whenever it could be procured. Hence, wars never ceased; murders, rapine, and wrong, were of constant occurrence. And this was not only the case with tribes, but even with families; every man’s hand was against his neighbour; indeed, the horrid state of society at that time can scarcely be exaggerated.
Captain Cook, who first made us acquainted with New Zealand, and who has left such a faithful account of its inhabitants, particularly mentions their incessant wars and cannibal propensities. Perhaps it is not too much to say, that war was chiefly carried on that they might indulge in their cannibal feasts; and living in an island so destitute of land animals, we see, perhaps, the true origin of this horrid practice, although their traditions assert the contrary, and affirm that it was first done to strike terror into their enemies. A corroboration of this idea is to be found in a circumstance which occurred since whalers visited these islands. One of these vessels was induced to land a small party of Maories on the Island of Rotuma. In order to strike terror into the comparatively unwarlike inhabitants, the invaders killed some of them, plucked out their eyes and swallowed them, and eat their hearts. The natives were so horror-struck, that though many times more numerous than their visitors, they submitted themselves entirely to them, and were henceforth treated as their slaves. A similar thing occurred when some of the Maories were in a like manner taken to the Chatham Isles; the poor Mori-ori were thus cruelly treated, and compelled to take the Maories as their masters.
What horrid atrocities and unnatural repasts has the bloodstained land of New Zealand witnessed ! Even when the lives of those taken in war were spared, still the poor slave, though he might be kept for a time to cultivate his master’s land, was yet little more than store provision; and when fat and in good condition, liable any day to be knocked on the head and cast into the oven. Many a memento of this horrid custom still remains; the same word was equally used for a tame pig, or pet bird, as for a slave; they were all mokai, page 6 and intended, as the word intimates, to be used “as food,” when required. An anecdote is preserved of a poor slave girl, who was commanded to go and fetch fuel, then light a fire and heat the oven; and, when all was prepared, was herself knocked on the head and cast into it.
But no more convincing proof is required of the frequency of this practice than the old Maori middens; there, amongst the heaps of shells, and bones of birds and fish, are the charred fragments of human bones; and, along the entire length of New Zealand’s shores, similar hillocks are to be seen standing forth in strong relief to the surrounding sand hills, as so many monuments of bye-gone barbarism and cruelty. But enough; for further particulars on this subject, the early journals of the Missionaries should be consulted.
In addition to other causes of insecurity of life, was the Tapu; an institution which completely placed the life and property of everyone in the power of the priests and chiefs. However outrageous its acts and requirements, they could not be resisted. Another of the many evils of the Heathen State was the Makutu—witchcraft. If a wasting disease attacked any one, it was generally attributed to an evil eye, or the act of some enemy; and if the sufferer could not fix his suspicions on any one, he had merely to consult the mata-kite, or seer, who at once would name the individual; and, as in former days, the natives imagined that death did not occur naturally, a kind of inquest was held at the decease of any one of rank, to find out the person who caused it. When an old lady died father suddenly, the enquiry was made as to what was the food she had last eaten; that was found to be quite correct; but it came out in evidence that she had unfortunately scraped her potatoes with a borrowed knife, which at once fixed the cause on the lender, who, without any further ceremony, was immediately despatched.
Before the Gospel came, life was not prized, and man thought no more of killing his fellow man than the hunter does of securing his game. The first white man seen by the Wanganui natives was killed as a new kind of animal, to page 7 see how he tasted, whether there was any difference in the flavour of the Pakeha, or European, from that of the Maori.
One of our zealous teachers, in giving me his history, said that formerly he was a great man eater, and delighted in war because it enabled him to indulge in his favorite repast; that on one occasion he joined a war party in an attack on a neighbouring tribe, that they were successful and killed a great many, and then as usual they feasted on the cooked bodies of the slain; but whilst doing so, a native arrived who had been at one of the Mission Stations. He spoke to them of the wickedness they were committing, and said that God’s word forbad them to do so. When he heard these words they appeared very foolish. Why, thought he, is it any more wicked to eat a man, than a dog, or pig, or anything else; is not one as good food as another? The words, however, which he had heard, were remembered, and the next time he was present at a similar repast, he thought his favorite food did not taste as sweet as usual, he had lost his relish for it; and when he was again invited, he loathed the very sight of it. The word he had heard sunk deep in his mind; he could not rest. He went to the nearest Mission Station, he became an enquirer, and finally a zealous teacher of the truth, which I found him many years after diligently laboring to proclaim.
Cannibalism was certainly practised by many, from a craving desire for human flesh. Up the Manganui te ao, a tributary of the Wanganui, near the road across the mania central plains, to Rotorua, a lonely path running through dense forests, there is a large cave formed by an overhanging cliff, which gives a space of twenty-one feet sheltered from the weather, and nearly a hundred feet long; this is situated on high ground and commands a view of the road which runs below. There parties were accustomed to lie in wait for the unsuspecting traveller, who was thence pounced upon, killed, and cooked in that cave. When I first visited it the ovens were still fresh, with charred human bones lying around them; and a man in my party was pointed out to me who had a narrow escape of being there killed page 8 and eaten by a party who had been three days waiting for him. This cave I frequently made my resting-place for the night, and twice it has afforded me a dry sleeping place when it was raining heavily outside. I first slept in it in 1843; and when I found for what purpose it had been used, and that I had actually one in my party who had a narrow escape of being there killed and cooked, I held a Prayer-meeting in that old den of cruelty, and for the first time it resounded with praise to Him who came to make man love his neighbour as himself.
Putiki-wara-nui, the name of the place where I resided, preserves a sad remembrance of past times. Its meaning is the great shaving off of scalps. The cutting off of scalps was a common practice amongst the Maories as well as amongst the North American Indians, and they were the trophies of their courage and success, which gave them rank and dignity in the eyes of their tribe.
Such was the original state of the Maori race throughout the length and breadth of the New Zealand Islands; killing and being killed, eating and being eaten; never satisfied; a restless race, always longing to deprive one another of what either possessed which the other wished to have. One man planted, but another reaped; club law prevailed; to the stronger belonged the wives, the goods, and the body of the weaker. As far as outward form went, a noble race, bold in battle, shrewd in council, skilful in execution. Like the whited sepulchres, outwardly beautiful, inwardly full of all uncleanness.
A little more than half a century has elapsed since the venerable Samuel Marsden first landed on the shores of New Zealand, and proclaimed to its savage inhabitants: “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke ii. 10.) Very remarkably this was a portion of the lesson appointed in our service for that day, it being Christmas day, 1814. The honored instrument of introducing the Gospel into that savage land, was the senior Chaplain of the infant Colony of New South Wales; and the apparent means which led to his being interested in the welfare of the page 9 Maori race, were his having met with two of them at Norfolk Island, where they had been carried to teach the convicts the way of preparing flax; he was struck with their looks and intelligence, and was thus led by the Lord to desire their conversion, and to determine to exert himself to effect it.
Improbable as it then appeared, that such a cruel and ferocious race of savages could be influenced by God’s Word to lay aside that ferocity, and become a perfectly different people, their benefactor was enabled to induce the Church Missionary Society to found a Mission amongst them. He conducted the first members of it there himself; he paid them repeated visits to strengthen their hands; seven times did he visit the island, and he was permitted to live and see the fruit of his efforts and prayers realized, and thus to receive a full compensation for all the toil and anxiety he had incurred in their behalf; and when he paid his last visit, about a year before his death, and was welcomed wherever he went by the natives as their father, who had led them to the knowledge of the true and living God, he might truly have said, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” (Luke ii. 29, 30.)
* In 1823, Rev. Henry Williams, late Archdeacon of Waimate, arrived. In the following year, Richard Davis, a farmer, and George Clarke, a mechanic, joined him; and in 1826, he was strengthened by the coming of his brother, Rev. William Williams, B.A., now the Bishop of Waiapu.
The number of believers steadily increased. The Gospel and Tapu came into collision; light and darkness struggled. The contest was short; the Tapu was broken; at first as far as the Missionary was concerned. When the Kirikiri River was tapued until their fishing was over, the Mission boat burst through it, holding on its course as usual; the indignant natives dragged the boat ashore and plundered it of its contents, which chiefly consisted of some supplies they were taking up, of medicines and preserves. The jams were hastily swallowed and the medicines drunk off. The unpleasant consequences were soon perceived, and produced the conviction that the mana, or power of the pakeha, was too strong for them: the boat was restored and they were permitted to go on their way. It was thenceforth conceded that the Tapu did not apply to the Missionary.
The contest, however, was not ended; it was renewed again by the converts, who also resisted its requirements, and they likewise gained the victory, and the Tapu was given up for ever.
From the first unfurling of the banner of peace to the making of the first convert, ten years elapsed; it was only in September 1825, that the first convert was baptized, and it then appeared very disheartening; but that one was the opening of the door for others, so that the Missionaries extended their labours. Other stations were founded around the bay, and in 1833, four of the Missionaries went to the south, and gradually laid the foundation of Missionary Stations in Waikato, the Thames, Rotorua, and Tauranga. Fearful wars there raged, and still more fearful cannibal feasts prevailed. The position of the Missionaries was for a page 11 long time very trying; even their own natives burnt the Mission houses to hinder them from falling into the hands of the enemy; their property was plundered, and this harassing state continued for several years; yet, strange to say, even during this apparently untoward state of affairs, the Gospel advanced, and converts were gained; though the old men were too hardened to listen, their sons did, and many embraced the Gospel; and of those, several were the sons of the principal chiefs. These soon saw the wickedness of war and cannibalism, and refused to accompany their fathers. Of such may be mentioned Tamihana Tarapipi, the son of Waharoa. The tauas, or war parties, rapidly decreased in number, and those chiefs who before could muster a force of five or six hundred men, were afterwards satisfied with two hundred, and thus from the want of followers their contests gradually ceased, and with them their horrid feasts.
In tracing the commencement of the great change which came over the Maori race, which for many years extinguished their insane desire of war and delight in bloodshed, it is evident it did not begin with the old. The great warrior, Hongi, refrained, indeed, from injuring the Messengers of the Gospel; he even defended them when in danger, but he paid no attention to their words; he died a Heathen; so hardened and accustomed was he to bloodshed, that even to the last he could think of nothing else; no reasoning or entreaty seemed to affect his seared mind.
Hongi, the great Ngapuhi Chief, died exhorting his children, with his last breath, to carry on the war; pointing with exultation to his guns and powder, he enquired who dare fight with them, so well provided for. But the Lord overruled his death for good. Although the Missionaries then feared for the future, when their great protector was removed, they were then led to trust solely in Christ and His providential care. From that time the Gospel advanced among the Ngapuhi.
Waharoa, the great Matamata Chief, though far advanced in years, refused to pay any attention to the exhortation of the Missionaries, and when they tried to persuade that page 12 restless old savage to make peace, he told them when he returned from the war with Rotorua, they should see a pile of heads as high as his hand, holding it up several feet from the ground, and said, “the Kumara and the flesh, how sweetly will they go down together.” On his return the posts of his fence were garnished with the heads of his enemies.
By the overruling hand of Providence, the son of that cannibal chief became a believer, and was baptized by the name of Wiremu Tamihana, and with him several other influential chiefs, who, as already stated, at last succeeded in putting an end to the war.
Another young chief, who likewise was wearied with such continued bloodshed, adopted the following singular expedient to make peace:—
He went to the neighbourhood of his enemies’ pa, and concealed himself near it, so that he could see everyone who went out and in without being seen himself; at last he saw a young man, who was one of the head chiefs of the place, go out and advance to a spot where he could obtain an extended view, and see whether any enemies might be approaching; there he sat down, with his back turned to his concealed foe, who lay hid close to him. He stole upon him so quietly that he reached him without being heard, when he sprang suddenly upon him like a tiger, and overpowered him before he had time to resist; he then pinioned his arms behind him and led him off as his prisoner. After he had proceeded a little way, until he was out of sight of the pa, he suddenly stopped, unbound his prisoner’s arms, and bid him bind his instead. The captive chief did as he was told, and took his former captor to his pa; immediately he entered all rushed upon him, and prepared to despatch him at once. The young chief commanded them to wait until he had told them how he had obtained his captive; he led him to the marae, and there surrounded by all the inhabitants of the pa, he related all the circumstances of the case, and then demanded whether he ought to be killed; all were struck with admiration, the prisoner was page 13 immediately unbound, peace between the two tribes was at once made; and having been feasted, he returned to his own place accompanied by some of his newly-gained friends.
In no one instance was the over-ruling hand of Providence more clearly displayed in bringing good out of evil, than in the case of Ngakuku, who, during that murderous war, was surprised in his hut by a party from Rotorua. His only son and daughter were with him; he had barely time to snatch up the boy and run off with him when the enemy entered, and poor Tarore, his little girl, fell into their hands; she was instantly killed, her scalp cut off, and the poor child’s heart taken as an offering to their God. At her funeral Ngakuku addressed his tribe and said, “There lies my child, she has been murdered as a payment for this war; but do not rise to seek revenge, leave that with God, let this be the ending of the war with Rotorua, now let peace be made; my heart is not dark for Tarore, but for you; you urged teachers to come to you, they came, and you are driving them away.”
But the inclining their hearts to peace was not the only consequence in God’s over-ruling providence. Little did Ngakuku think what a monument the Lord was going to erect to little Tarore’s memory. She was a scholar at the Mission School; she loved to attend it, and when she lay down to sleep her book rested by her side. It was carried away by her murderers and taken to Rotorua, and there given to some one who could read. Soon after, that individual formed one of a party going to Kapiti, he took the book with him, not from any love for what it contained, so much as from an idea that it would give him importance in the eyes of those he was going to visit, to whom books then were unknown.
When his party reached Kapiti, he told the young chiefs there that he possessed the sacred book of the Europeans. This greatly excited their desire to hear what it contained; he produced it, and read a small portion of it to them. His hearers were much struck with what they heard, they made page 14 him read more, and frequently too, and completely wearied him with their importunities; nay, further, they would not let him rest until he actually taught them to read it themselves. The man was so tired of his new office of teacher, for he himself did not care for religion, that he was glad to take his departure.
But little Tarore’s book had done its work; it had opened the eyes of some of those chiefs to see the wickedness of war and cannibalism; a new principle was implanted within them, and its effects were soon seen. They, like those in the north, set their face against war and its attendant crimes. They were determined to have a teacher of their own; they had heard what a change had been effected by the Gospel there, and to obtain one a deputation to Paihia was appointed. Katu, who has since been better known by the name of Tamihana te Rauparaha, and Te Whiwhi, afterwards baptized by the name of Matene, were the two chiefs appointed for this work. They got a passage in some vessel to the Bay of Islands, and immediately on arriving there went to the senior Missionary, Henry Williams, and delivered their message from the south. The application for a Missionary met with attention; they were promised one, and were told as all then had their own Stations, the first fresh comer should be appointed to Kapiti. This, however, did not satisfy those young men; they declared their determination not to return without either taking one with them, or knowing that one was appointed. At that very time I reached the Bay of Islands, and the Rev. O. Hadfield, now Archdeacon of Kapiti, who with Rev. William Williams, had the charge of the Mission School, volunteered, if released from that duty, to go down to Kapiti; this was in the beginning of 1839. He has the honor of having founded that eminently successful Station, which has ever since been a centre from which the light of truth has radiated, even to the very end of the middle island, where it was carried either by himself or Tamihana, who at his command went to the remoter parts of it, bearing the light of truth to those who were sitting in darkness.page 15
The young chiefs of Otaki went even a step further; they not only embraced the Gospel, but were determined to adopt the manners of civilized life as well, having been struck with the order and propriety of everything in the Missionary’s house at Paihia. They determined to imitate them; a club was formed amongst themselves; each member of which engaged to build his house according to the European way, with different rooms and a chimney, for a native where has no divisions in it, and both sexes sleep intermingled. They also engaged to dress as Europeans, and discard the blanket; to have their food cooked in our way, and to eat it from a table, with knives and forks. Thus this once savage and ferocious tribe, is now as conspicuous for the progress it has made in civilized habits, as well as in the morality of the Gospel. Otaki, as a native settlement, is attractive by its large and elegant Church, built in the native style, and the comfortable houses and farms of its chiefs. Tamihana is now a successful sheep farmer, and lives as well as our European ones.
Thus did the Lord over-rule the murder of poor little Tarore for good; but even this was not the whole; indirectly it effected more.
When Mr. Hadfield went to Otaki, Mr. Henry Williams accompanied him, and having seen him settled there, he returned overland to Wanganui. Struck with its numerous native population, in answer to the request that they should have a Missionary also, one was promised. He was surprised to find already a little Christian community there, and that Te Tauri, a chief from Taupo, was acting as its teacher. When the fruit is ripe, who can tell to what far-distant and lonely spots the birds may carry the seed; it was so at Wanganui.
By some means or other a single page of the Church Catechism found its way to that then Ultima Thule, long before the arrival of Missionaries. It fell into the hands of a young chief named Hipango, afterwards well known as John Williams. His curiosity was excited. What possibly could all those black marks upon it mean? Some time after he showed it to a native, who had been amongst the pakehas, page 16 and had learned to read. The young chief asked him what it meant. “Oh,” he said, “this is a pukapuka pakeha;* it contains his thoughts.” This explanation, instead of satisfying him, excited his curiosity still more; and when his informant read it to him, it was found to contain the Ten Commandments. Immediately he heard them they made a great impression upon his mind. They brought conviction with them; if God gave men His commands, it was their place to be obedient to them. From that time he gave up his false gods; he remembered the Sabbath-Day to keep it holy; he sought to live as God there commanded him; and he became a seeker after the truth. And, indeed, long before the arrival of a Missionary, their false gods had ceased to be worshipped; their idols† (for in the district of Wanganui, as well as in most parts of the southern end of the island, they were idolaters) were literally cast to the bats.
Everything seems to be so wonderfully ordered; just at the right time the right man appears to carry on the work. Te Tauri, a converted Taupo chief, came when some one was wanted to direct the fresh-born thoughts; and then when their increased growth required increased skill, Mr. Williams arrived. He went up the river, crossed the central plains, walked by the smoking Tongariro, crossed the Moana—the sea of Taupo—and by Rotorua, reached the east coast. For now the Missionary could go wherever he liked, the whole country was open to him. He reached
* Pukapuka—the word applied either to paper or books—at first sight appears to be derived from our English word book; it is not so, but from the large white leaf of the Pukapuka Rangiora (Brachyglottis repanda), to which the natives likened paper when they first saw it. They said, “He rau pukapuka tenei!” “Oh! this is a leaf of the Pukapuka.” The Greeks derived their βĩβλος, book, and the Latins their Liber, book, in a similar way, from the inner bark of the Linden or Teil tree, and the Egyptians theirs from the leaf of the Papyrus, whence comes our word paper.
† Some time after my arrival at Wanganui, I casually learned from the natives that they had idols. I doubted this, as my brethren in the north asserted the contrary. I bid them bring me some of them. Several were brought from the caves into which they had been cast. I took some of them with me to England, which I presented to the British Museum, and the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge.
places which had never been previously visited by civilized man, some of which even yet have not been trodden by other feet than his; he preached the Gospel everywhere, and everywhere obtained converts. He appointed teachers, organized Churches, and was made the instrument of setting a machine in motion, which continued to work effectually for years. Wherever he went he was received as a father and friend; indeed, nothing could exceed the respect paid to him.
A year later, and the promise given to the Wanganui natives was redeemed. Mr. Mason arrived at Paihia; he was sent to the south to occupy that post, and during the short period he was spared, much was done; he labored diligently; but in his third year he lost his life in crossing over one of the many dangerous rivers of the west coast. And early in 1843 I succeeded him.
When Mr. Hadfield sailed for Kapiti, The Rev. William Williams likewise left Waimate to found a Station at Turanga, leaving me to occupy the post he had vacated, of which he afterwards became the Bishop, by the title of Bishop of Waiapu; but he was far better known and respected throughout the Island by the natives as simple Parata Wiremu, Brother Williams.
Thus, from the first foundation of the Mission in 1815 to 1840, a period of twenty-five years, just a quarter of a century, was the entire Island occupied, from the North Cape to Cape Terawiti; twenty Stations were founded—Kaitaia being the most northerly, Wanganui and Kapiti the most southerly; with nine central Stations, where ordained Missionaries were placed, who visited the other posts occupied by Catechists, and administered the Sacraments there. The Patriarch of the Mission, Henry Williams, until age crept upon him, was the most indefatigable in action; nor was his brother less so, who has the honor of having been the first to translate the New Testament into Maori, a version which, though superseded by a more recent one, is still highly prized by many, who regard it with affection, as containing those words which first led them to the foot of the Cross; and to Mr., now Dr. Mansell, belongs the page 18 happiness of having translated the entire Word of God, as well as our Liturgy, into the native tongue, which deservedly obtained for him an LL.D. degree, that reflected equal honor on his University (Trinity College, Dublin) in bestowing, and on him in receiving, that mark of respect which was justly his due.
Then, when the natives could read for themselves the Word of Life, and that Word was largely furnished to them by the power and liberality of the Bible Society, it was carried everywhere far beyond the reach of the Missionaries. It travelled down the western coast of the Middle Island, where the first European travellers, to their surprise, found it east and west. It reached the end of that island; crossed over to Stewart’s Island; nay, it even found its way, to the Chatham Isles; and wherever it went Christian communities were established. The Prayer-book accompanied it, and the sweet ritual of the Church of England was heard. Thus the early converts became the proclaimers of the glad tidings of the Gospel to others; and so gradually did the life-giving stream flow over the islands of New Zealand, and proceeding from under the footstool of God’s throne, it went from the north, where Mr. Marsden first opened the fountain; it flowed along the eastern side of the island to the Thames, to the Puriri, to Mata Mata, and the Waikato. Thence it flowed on to Tauranga, Rotorua, and the surrounding parts; the waters were risen to the knees. Thence they flowed on to Turanga, Kapiti, Wanganui; and the waters were up to the loins. Again they flowed on, over the Middle Island, and reached its extreme ends; and it became a deep broad river. The waters had risen—waters to swim in—a river that could not be passed over.
But the Water of Life flows to give life. “And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live.” (Ezek. lxvii. 9.) And this prophecy has indeed been remarkably fulfilled; the leaves of God’s Word have indeed been given for the healing of the nations.