Church Missionary Society, Northern District.
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CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
Present Aspect of the Mission.
THE strong passions and deeply-agitated feelings, which the late war evoked, are gradually subsiding, and there is a prospect of general and continued tranquillity in New Zealand. Like the ocean, when it still heaves and swells, although the violence of the storm has passed by--as if unable to recover itself from the disturbing influences to which it had been subjected--the native popula-
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tion, for a considerable period subsequently to the termination of the war, continued to labour under much excitement. We are enabled, however, to trace, in the reports of our Missionaries, the gradual extension of more tranquil feelings; and, as the political excitement dies away, Christianity, with its privileges and obligations, begins again to attract the attention of the native mind, and various encouraging circumstances appear, which indicate a revival of that spirit of inquiry and desire for instruction, which at one time so remarkably prevailed among the New Zealanders. As yet, however, the aspect of the Mission is of a very checkered character--sometimes hopeful, sometimes the reverse. Some of the Missionaries have to complain of much deadness and religious indifference on the part of the Natives, while now and then the more sombre aspect of their general work is brightened by some happy contrast, some individual case of Christian Influence and example, of the most encouraging character. In other portions of the field, the hopeful circumstances much preponderate. At the same time, a new element is introduced into Missionary Work in New Zealand--the presence of settlers, and the influence they exercise on the aboriginal race, which, whether for evil or for good, must be momentous, and, if of an unhappy character, calculated in a most fearful degree to counteract the labours of the Christian Missionary.
The Northern Island of New Zealand terminates northward in an elongated peninsula, connected with the main body of the island by a narrow isthmus, which separates the gulf of Hauraki, or estuary of the Thames, on the East Coast, from the harbour of Manukau on the West Coast; the isthmus being so indented by inlets, that in one place the portage is only a quarter of a mile across. On this isthmus the town of Auckland is situated. In the peninsula extending to the north are to be found the Stations of the Society to which we shall now refer, viz. Tepuna, Kerikeri, Paihia, Waimate, Kaikohi, and Kaitaia.
Relinquishment of this Station.
The first Station of the Society in New Zealand was that of Rangihoua, on the north-west of the Bay of Islands, under the chieftainship of Duaterra. It was subsequently transferred to Tepuna, a romantic spot, having the Bay before it, and surrounded by hills. Its ineligibility as a Missionary Station becoming increasingly evident, the Committee have recently decided on giving it up. The usual reports from Tepuna having, however, anticipated the arrival in New Zealand of this decision on the part of the Society, we avail ourselves of this circumstance to introduce the following extract from a Letter of Mr. J. King, one of the three original settlers who were located by the Rev. S. Marsden in New Zealand toward the latter end of the year 1814, and who, during the long period of thirty-four years which has since elapsed, has continued to labour in the New-Zealand Mission.
Death of Kahurere, Duaterra's Sister.
Mr. King writes, August 5, 1847--
Kahurere, the sister of Duaterra, the young Chief who returned from England in the same ship which brought us out to New South Wales, had been a steady friend to the Mission for many years, and our near neighbour. She was baptized by the name of Meriana in 1840, and died in 1846. She was an industrious woman, and peaceable among her people. She cultivated the soil, and lived on the produce, as long as she was able; but becoming feeble and advanced in years, she came to end her days at Tepuna, having but few friends, and nothing to subsist on, and no one seeming to care for her soul or her bodily wants. She
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had got off by rote the third chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel, with many other portions of Scripture, the Church Catechism, and prayers and hymns out of the Prayer-Book. She said, "I daily and nightly pray to Jehovah to pardon all my sin through Jesus Christ, who died for sinners like me, and to wash my soul clean, and fit it for heavenly rest." Her mind was intelligent, calm, and cheerful to the end. She expressed her thankfulness to us and to our children for our daily attention to her wants during the four months of her illness. Her nearest relatives came not to see her or send her a little food, although she was of high birth and family: even her own son did not pay her a visit, so regardless are many of them of the sick and afflicted, and so true the declaration, The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
This Station was occupied toward the end of the year 1818. It is situated on the Bay of Islands, at the confluence of the tide with the freshwater stream from whence it takes its name. Mr. J. Kemp, who was present at its formation, is the resident Catechist. We present the following extracts from his
Report for the Half-year ending June 30, 1848.
In the months of April and May last I suffered from a severe attack of acute rheumatism, and have not been able to visit the Natives at Takou and Waiaua so frequently as heretofore. I am thankful, however, to say that, through the goodness of our Heavenly Father, I am again restored to health. The Natives in the Settlement, and. at the Ti, have had religious instruction afforded them on the Lord's Day and on week-days. The Natives in the Settlement meet every morning to read the Scriptures, and for prayer. We trust the blessing of the Lord will attend the reading of the Word.
In consequence of the continual rain this season, much sickness has prevailed among the Natives, attended with bad coughs; but by the blessing of God on the medicine and food which have been administered, many have been restored to health. It afforded an opportunity of reminding them of the great necessity of seeking for the "Balm of Gilead" to heal the disease of the soul. May the Lord awaken many to see their state as sinners, and apply in earnest for the remedy!
This Station is on the south side of the Bay of Islands. It was commenced in the year 1823 by the present Archdeacon H. Williams, in the midst of several tribes, the Natives at that period being in an exceedingly wild and uncontrollable state.
Reports for the Year ending June 30, 1848.
With reference to the first half of the year under review, Archdeacon H. Williams says--
Divine Service, both Native and English, has been held at Paihia and Kororarika every Sunday. The Congregations have been fair. I have administered the Lord's Supper twice during the half-year to the Natives and Europeans at Tepuna; on the first Sunday in each month to the Europeans at Paihia, and on the 18th of December to the Natives, when about thirty attended.
I am sorry I cannot report any thing very favourable of the tribes around: they still continue very unsettled and scattered about, and there is among them considerable distrust and agitation.
The Archdeacon's Report, however, for the next half-year, indicates improvement. Affairs had assumed a more tranquil aspect, and the attendance of the Natives on the Means of Grace was good.
This Station was formed in the year 1830. It was the first interior Station of the Society. Previously, such had been the ferocity of the native character that it had been impracticable to attempt other than sea-shore Settlements. Waimate is situated on a plain surrounded by hills, and irrigated by the waters of the Waitangi. The whole country to the westward and northward of the Bay of Islands may be considered as a volcanic table-land. Several conical craters lie to the eastward of Waimate: the interiors are covered with vegetation, and they appear to have been long in a state of inactivity.
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Report for the Half-year ending June 30, 1848.
In this Report the Rev. R. Burrows thus describes the aspect of the Missionary Work at the Waimate--
The duties of the Station have been carried on without interruption during the last six months. There has been an increase in our Lord's-Day Congregations, and, for the last two months, a considerable addition to our Sunday and Week-day Adult Schools. The Congregation at the Ahuahu has also increased from thirty to sixty. We have still, however, to lament the Laodicean state of the majority of our people.
We are happy to be able to report favourably of our Girls' Boarding School. It has been carried on with greater regularity, and, as a natural consequence, the children have advanced in learning, and improved in their general conduct. The present number is twenty-eight.,
In February last I was called, at the request of a dying girl, to visit her. She had formerly been in our School. She told me that while in the School she thought but little of what she was taught; but that since her illness, what she then heard, both at School and Church, had come into her mind, which made her desirous to see me. I found her in a pleasing state. She expressed a wish to be baptized. On my third visit I baptized her, and the following day she was taken, I trust, to glory. Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
One youth only has as yet received instruction in the "Native Institution" proposed by the Central Committee. He has made satisfactory progress in reading, writing, arithmetic, English, and Scripture Knowledge.
Interview between Governor Grey and the Chief Heke.
From a Letter of Mr. Burrows, dated May 8, 1848, we present the following account--
Governor Grey paid us a visit last week, when he met the Chief Heke for the first time. His Excellency invited him and his wife to breakfast with us, which invitation was accepted. A meeting between the Governor and Heke had been long talked of and desired by the Natives; for although we have had peace for some time, they did not consider it as permanent until the Governor and Heke had, to use their own expression, "shaken hands." The Governor expressed himself much gratified with his visit, and Heke told me that he also was much pleased with the Governor. He said his interview with him had tended to remove those false impressions which he had entertained of him, and his intentions with regard to the Natives.
His Excellency's object in visiting the Waimate was not expressly to see Heke, but to take a survey of the surrounding country, and to see the various Native Settlements. Our Natives were much pleased with his visit. He encouraged Heke, and those with him, to occupy their lands as they did before the war, and promised them that, so soon as he saw them permanently settled, he would build a hospital for the benefit of their sick, and encourage their moral improvement in every way possible. He attended our Morning Service, and shewed his approbation of our Girls' School by leaving a sovereign to be spent for its benefit.
The Rev. R. Davis, on his Ordination by the Bishop of New Zealand in 1843, was appointed to the charge of the more distant villages in the Waimate District, ranging from five miles to thirty miles from the Waimate. Of these, Kaikohi, as the most central, was selected as the most suitable spot for Mr. Davis's residence. This is Heke's district, in which, during the war, some fierce encounters took place between his Natives and the military. Amidst the fearful excitement of such a period, our Missionary and his family, although suffering intensely in mind, remained without personal injury. He is now pursuing his labours, amidst some trial, but not without encouragement.
Mr. Davis thus briefly describes the existing state of the villages under his care, in his
Report for the Half-year ending June 30, 1848.
All the principal parts of my district have been visited. Hope has again in some quarters revived; but the enemy is still high in power, and uses every means to secure his prey. At Kaikohi there is
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a better attendance at the Sunday Services. The Catechetical and Reading-class Meetings have been attended as usual. On the 12th of March the Rev. R. Burrows administered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to sixty-one Communicants--fifty-eight of Kaikohi, and three of Matarawa. Two adults have been admitted to baptism, and seven children. At Matarawa, also, two adults have been admitted to baptism.
Mangakahia I have visited once during the half-year. Appearances there are still promising. A few Catechumens have been added to the number. The Communicants number thirty-six. The Communion has been administered by the Rev. R. Burrows.
We subjoin some extracts from Mr. Davis's Journal.
April 30, 1848: Lord's Day --I went to Otaua, and baptized the Chief Toinga and his wife. This man was for years a regular attendant at the Church at Waimate; but although requested to add his name to the list of Candidates for Baptism, he always refused, and manifested what was considered a self-righteous spirit, often saying that time would evince that many of those who were flocking to baptism were no better than himself. Alas! those words proved but too true. At the commencement of the war he remained with us at Waimate. He did not take any part in the war until he found that the English and the loyal Natives had combined for the destruction of Heke. At the close of the war Heke wished me to visit his eldest brother at Matarawa. Here I found Toinga and his blind wife, with a few others. He expressed much pleasure at seeing me, and acknowledged that the deliverance they had received was from the goodness of God. They were requested to turn to the Lord. Toinga said, "How can we sinners, with the blood of the slain running at our feet, do any thing, unless some one will come and wash away our sins?" After having explained, and promised to visit them, he replied, "Do you not remember, when you requested me again and again to be united to the Church, that I then told you I could not, because I saw that many of those who had been baptized had deceived you, and that there was evil working among us? You have now found this true; but I shall hold out no longer. It is now my wish to seek God with my whole heart." His wife at that time appeared to be the most forward of the two. She was soon affected by the whooping-cough. I visited her, and she was considered in danger. One of her friends took a Roman-Catholic Priest to baptize her; but to this Toinga would not consent. The Priest, on his return, called on me, and faithfully told me where he had been, his reason for going, that he had not been allowed to baptize her, and that he thought her a fit subject for the holy ordinance. Some weeks ago, when I visited them on a week-day, I found Toinga alone at his plantation. After I had spoken to him on the love of Christ in providing a way of salvation, he observed--pointing to a high hill not far distant, one side of which was a mass of perpendicular rock-- "My heart is as large and unmoveable as that hill, in seeking after Christ." I believe more was implied in his answer than I have here given, and more than I understood, as the Natives, when they heard of it, doubted no longer that Toinga was a true believer. From the manner in which he put himself under instruction--as it was quite child-like--from his perseverance, from his continual lamentation of his hardness and blindness of heart, and the desire which he manifested for the good of others, I have much reason to believe that he was a proper subject for baptism; but I am fearful and timid under almost any circumstances. A few of those who have remained faithful were present.
June 12 --Yesterday we had a large Congregation in our old rush Chapel, to witness the baptism of one of Awa's--the Chief's--wives. She had been for a long period a regular attendant at all our Services, but it is only lately that her husband would give her up to baptism. She is the mother of a respectable family of children, who are all grown up, and all members of our Church, save the youngest. Although he partook of his father's spirit, and engaged in the late war, he is nevertheless a very quiet young man. I have no doubt of the sincerity of this woman: her perseverance to get instruction, and her many tears, together with her consistent life, appeared to point her out as a proper subject for the sacred ordinance.
I find the baptism of one old woman has been omitted. She was baptized on the 23d of April, and was, of all the Candidates I ever admitted or recommended, the most clear. She is old, and bent almost double, but I trust the root of the matter was in her. She also had long
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been a regular and persevering Catechumen. A few other elderly people are pressing onward, and I hope, should the Lord spare us to see another Easter and Whitsuntide, that I shall have a few others to report.
Anxiety of a Chief for a Missionary -- State of Mangakahia.
July 8 --On the 4th inst. I returned from a visit to Mangakahia. For some time I had expected a messenger to apprise me of the arrival of one of the more southern Chiefs, whom they expected to visit them, and whom they wished me to meet at their place. On my arrival I found the Chief, a very quiet man, accompanied by a few people. They carried their little prayer-bell with them, which they said they had received from a Roman-Catholic Priest. The Chief was, I fear, ignorant of religion, but very anxious to have a Missionary to live with him. It is a fine opening, but how can it, alas! be filled? He told me they had visited the College at Auckland, with the hope that the Bishop would furnish them with a Missionary; but His Lordship was so much out that they could never find him at home; and now his last hope rested on a promise that had been made to him by Archdeacon Williams. The Chiefs companions appeared to be serious, and desirous to be instructed in the right way.
At Mangakahia there is encouragement and hope. Many of the people lament the hardness of their hearts, and their ignorance of Scripture. I assured them of success, if they only used aright the appointed means for the attainment of the objects they desired; but told them, that, first of all, they must remove all hinderances to their growth in grace, a principal one of which appeared to be their spending their time between the Services on Sundays in worldly conversation. I also told them, that it was observable that, although they appeared to live in unity, yet there was not that cordiality of love manifested at all times among them, and that forbearance, which St. Paul pointed out--in 1 Cor. xiii. --as being the necessary fruit of the Spirit. This last point we went over together at some length. They acknowledged that my observations were true, and lamented their shortcomings. Not but that there is much apparent union among these people, and a strict observance of the Lord's Day, so that they would not even allow a potato to be scraped on that day; yet such are the depths of Satan, and the deceitfulness of the human heart, that those things may be so brought to bear on their minds as to keep them in a state of self-deception and deceitful quietude, until they sink into everlasting misery. O the awful responsibility of the Missionary! They have their children, about forty in number, in something like order, and some of the elder children can read and say their Catechism pretty well; yet I fear there is not perseverance at present, so as in proper time to bring the younger branches equally forward. Here we have also some Candidates for Baptism, a few of them of long standing.
Kaikohi Day School.
Our Day School is now making a steady progress, the number of children being 32. Were it not for the state of affairs, I should be led to make an appeal to the Christian Public for a little assistance to clothe these poor naked children, to keep them warm in the journey to and from School. They have garments to wear during School-hours, but to see them strip off those garments, and put on their own rags, to go out in the winter cold, is distressing. Every thing that can be got together in our house has been made up for them. O how thankful should we be for a few remnants of calico, either printed or plain, for them! I have a friend, who, if applied to, would doubtless respond to my petition; but he has already been so liberal, that I feel ashamed to make the application. Remnants, however coarse or small, to make up here in the School, would be thankfully received. Should any kind friends be made willing to respond, and direct the donations to me, for the use of the Kaikohi Day School, such donations will be thankfully acknowledged and faithfully applied.