Through Ninety Years
Bishop and Mrs. Williams arrived from Auckland by the schooner Tawera on January 2nd, 1864. Archdeacon Leonard Williams met them with horses to convey them to Waerenga-a-hika.
The natives arranged to hold a runanga at Whakako to discuss the Government and its proposals for the natives. The Bishop took the opportunity to attend this on January 4th and give the natives his report of interviews he had had with the Governor. During the next few weeks attention had to be given to harvesting their food crops; the wheat was found to have suffered from blight and gave a poor yield. The Bishop, however, was able a few weeks later to purchase 100 bags from native growers who had been more fortunate. The potatoes were a very good crop, and gave an abundant supply. A number of calves were also brought in and marked.
The Bishop had also to attend runangas (council meetings) held at other kaingas to discuss Government policy, as some were inclined to stir up mischief. The school work was reopened early in January.
When Rev. E. B. Clarke had to leave his work at Tauranga as mentioned earlier, he went to Waimate. While there he took part in the work among the natives for a few months. His friends wished him to remain there, but Bishop Williams was anxious to retain his services in the diocese and arranged with him to return to it.page 192
The third Synod of the Waiapu Diocese was opened on March 2nd and completed its proceedings on March 7th. No lay synodsmen were able to attend this session from the northern districts of the diocese, however, because of the fighting which had taken place in that region.
A party of principal native chiefs from Hawke's Bay arrived on March 8th and a korero (discussion) was held on the all-absorbing topic, which came to a satisfactory settlement in the evening. Rev. C. S. Volkner, who came overland from Opotiki, arrived with Mohi on March 8th and gave accounts of the native mind in his district. These runangas for discussion on the state of affairs continued to be held for several months.
Bishop Williams set off on March 24th on a journey through East Coast and Waiapu, holding his usual series of classes and services. From this he returned home again on April 13th.
Bishop Williams recorded that on July 15th, 1864, he received from the Maraetaha natives £102 17s. 11d. for the Endowment.
On July 17th he took passage by schooner Tawera and arrived at Tauranga on 22nd where he met Colonel Greer who discussed with him the proposals he intended to lay before the natives, for submission to the Queen. These the Bishop thought were fair and reasonable. In due course the Colonel met the natives and addressed them, after which they expressed approval and several came forward and signed their allegiance with hearty goodwill.
On July 26th Bishop Williams boarded the Sand Fly and landed next day in Auckland, where he called on several friends and interviewed Bishop Selwyn and the page 193 Governor, to whom he gave a report of the proceedings at Tauranga. While in Auckland Bishop Williams transacted a quantity of business, and on August 12th arranged, after long consultations, to purchase some property at Onehunga for £720 as an investment for his Endowments.
As he could not find a vessel bound for Poverty Bay Bishop Williams arranged with the Captain of the Queen to land him at Uawa and went on board at noon on August 13th taking with him Miss Spencer who was going on a visit. The following morning the Captain offered him the choice of landing at Uawa or Table Cape, so he chose the latter. Early on the morning of August 15th Bishop Williams and Miss Spencer landed in the river at Whangawehi, where after some difficulty they found their way to the house of a settler who gave them breakfast and secured a boat which conveyed them to Taikawakawa. Here they had a critical landing through the surf on the beach. Thence the Bishop sent for horses and reached home on August 17th at 6.30 p.m.
James Williams arrived on September 5th by the Sea Shell and left again on September 21st.
Mrs. W. Williams and her daughters Kate and Marianne with Rev. Leonard Williams left for the south by the sailer Gem on September 27th and the latter returned on October 29th.
Colonel Whitmore arrived on October 20th to discuss the Government proposals with the natives, and while waiting for the arranged meeting, examined the Waerenga-a-hika schools. Bishop Williams had already conversed with the natives on the subject, and advised the Colonel on his arrival, so that when he spoke at the meeting Colonel Whitmore avoided saying anything to which offence could be taken. He took his departure on October 22nd and embarked on the Isis which was lying at Whero-Whero.page 194
Mrs. W. Williams and her daughters returned by the Tawera late on the evening of December 4th.
Throughout this year Archdeacon W. L. Williams, assisted by Rev. E. B. Clarke, conducted the schools for men and boys. The Bishop sometimes took his son's place when the latter had duties elsewhere. The Bishop as a rule took the Home Chapel Sunday Services, his son and Rev. E. B. Clarke sharing the duties at the outlying settlements.
Bishop Williams supervised and directed the farming operations, with the assistance of Archdeacon W. L. Williams, who at the end of November was also engaged in building a brick oven.
Bishop Williams wrote: “This closes another year of many mercies, not the least of which is that in a season of great trial throughout the Country we have at Turanga been kept in peace. Though we feel much the effects of the war, yet we have been less exposed to trials than any other part of the country.”
Archdeacon W. L. Williams set off on horseback on December 27th, 1864, to attend the Synod meeting at Kawakawa accompanied by two ladies of their party, and on December 31st, 1864, Bishop Williams and Rev. E. B. Clarke, accompanied by several ladies of their party embarked on the schooner Tawera for the same destination, where they were landed on January 3rd, 1865.
Archdeacon W. L. Williams wrote in his “East Coast Records”: “The Diocesan Synod which met in January, 1865, at Te Kawakawa, now generally known as Te Araroa, was not specially remarkable except for some of the attending circumstances. When travelling among the Maoris in any part of the country, we had been accustomed to be received with perfect courtesy and unfailing hospitality. It occasioned somewhat of a shock, therefore, that we should find ourselves treated with very marked incivility on the side of the Maori King. On our visiting some of our disaffected settlements in the Waiapu Valley the same unfriendly disposition was manifested, and our presence evidently page 195 was not desired. At one place, however, viz., Pukemaire, we succeeded in getting the people to give some explanation of their attitude. The matter was summed up by one of the speakers in a proverbial saying, ‘E ngaki atu ana a mua; e toto mai ana a muri!’ i.e. ‘The party in front is clearing the way; the party behind is dragging along (the newly-shaped canoe).’ His meaning of course was that the missionaries had come to New Zealand to clear the way for the armed force to follow and take possession of their lands. After a good deal of discussion we parted on much better terms, and a strong wish was expressed that, when visiting the district again, I should not fail to visit Pukemaire.
“This notion about the Missionaries was found to be very prevalent among the Maoris who were opposed to the Government, and this fact need excite little surprise when all the circumstances are taken into consideration. When the Treaty of Waitangi was first put before them the missionaries took an active part in explaining it to the chiefs in various parts of the country and in persuading them to sign it. They did this not without a deep sense of the possibility of this action of theirs coming in the distant future to be misunderstood by the Maoris, but in full confidence, at the same time, that implicit reliance might be placed on the honour and good faith of Her Majesty's Government.
“It might be thought that the opposition shown by the Bishop and the missionaries to the action of Governor Browne and his responsible advisers on the question of the Waitara purchase would have made it quite clear to the Maoris that their work was absolutely independent of any action of the Government, but on the other hand there were circumstances which tended to produce a different impression. When the troops marched into the Waikato, as there were no regular chaplains, Bishop Selwyn considered it to be his duty to attend them. Dr. Maunsell, too, who had been obliged to leave his station at Kohanga, assisted Bishop Selwyn in this work, and narrowly escaped being shot by the Maoris while so engaged. At Tauranga again, under similar page 196 circumstances, Archdeacon Brown undertook military chaplain's duty. To the Maori mind the inference seems to have been irresistible that the Clergymen so acting were ranging themselves definitely on the side of their enemies. Religious ministrations to the troops would be looked upon as analogous to the karakia or charms which were recited in former times by their tohungas, and had for their object the strengthening of their own forces or the weakening of those of the enemy.”
After the completion of the business of Synod, Archdeacon W. L. Williams and Misses Marianne Williams and Wood left on their ride homewards, but Bishop Williams and the remainder of their party were delayed for several weeks waiting for the return of the Tawera from Auckland. As the native builders of a new church at Kawakawa had some difficulty in cutting the 100 panes of glass for the East Window, the Bishop therefore undertook this work for them on January 9th and the natives then completed and painted the windows.
While waiting they were tantalised by seeing four sailing vessels and a steamer go by, before the Tawera took them off on January 30th. She landed them at Poverty Bay on the morning of February 3rd and they reached home the same afternoon.
On February 10th Rev. S. Williams and his wife and children arrived by the Tawera and went on to Napier by the same vessel on February 15th.