1814-1853 - The Missionary Register [Sections relating to New Zealand.] - 1849 - Church Missionary Society, Northern District, p 405-406

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  1814-1853 - The Missionary Register [Sections relating to New Zealand.] - 1849 - Church Missionary Society, Northern District, p 405-406
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Church Missionary Society, Northern District.

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THIS is the most northern Station of the Society in New Zealand. It is situated in the valley of the river Awarao, on an offset of a chain of hills which runs toward the interior, about eight miles from the western coast. The valley is very fertile, and is capable of being made very productive. It is inhabited by the the tribe Rarawa.

The Kaitaia Station was commenced by the Rev. J. Matthews and Mr. W. G. Puckey in the spring of 1834. A road thirty-two miles long has been cut through the primitive forest to the Waimate; bridges over the river have been formed; a large Church, with a steeple of Kauri boards, has been constructed; the village--the houses with gardens in front--wears an English aspect; and a considerable portion of the fertile land around is under cultivation by the Natives, who have also sheep, and cattle, and horses.

We shall refer to the Reports and Journals of our Missionaries as exhibiting the aspect of the work at this Station.

General View.

The Rev J. Matthews writes, in a Letter dated April 13, 1848--

I am very thankful to say that our Natives are progressing in the good way. They are attentive to the Means of Grace, and live in peace. Our tribes in this respect have been wonderfully blessed. But it is nothing less than the faithful preaching of the Gospel, by ourselves and our Native Assistants, which has effected this good work, through the blessing of the Holy Spirit. Not unto us, unworthy sinners, but unto His Name be all the praise!

We add the testimony of Mr. Puckey, contained in a Letter dated May 8, 1848.

Our prospects, I am happy to say, are quite as bright as ever they were: the work of the Lord is surely prospering in

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our hands. Several Government people have visited us, and been much pleased with the School, and the appearance of every thing. I am sure they have returned with different feelings from those with which they came. Europeans say that they think the New Zealanders a very tame and inoffensive people. So they are; but they should have come to live among them thirty years ago, before the influence of the Gospel manifested itself. I remember to have been in bodily fear for a month at a time, and was not sure of my life for half an hour; but the case is vastly different now. The Saviour is loved by many hundreds; and God, I hope, who is a spirit, is worshipped in spirit and truth. The blessing of the Lord is resting upon our labours.

It gave me great pleasure to read what was said with regard to our own part of the island in connection with the affair of the "Osprey." 1 Many pleasing facts, in addition to those which were forwarded by us to you, could have been mentioned; but I have often thought it prudent to be very moderate when speaking of a pleasing point, and I am well aware that half has never been told. We have generally written in a strain calculated merely to shew that good has been done, and is still being done, but not to raise your expectations too high. We wish not to be high-minded, but fear. I will, however, mention one circumstance which took place while I was at the wreck. I was walking out after dark, with one or two of the lieutenants, when we were attracted by the sound of singing. We went to the spot from whence the sound proceeded, and found that a number of the Missionary Natives, perhaps about sixty, had assembled, and were having their Evening Prayers. They were singing the praises of their Redeemer, and some of the sailors, only a few yards off, were singing songs, some very vile. I blessed the Natives in my heart, and felt grieved for my poor deluded countrymen, who ought to shew a better example.

Plan for the Instruction of Native Teachers.

Scattered, as the Natives in this district are, over a tract of country 80 miles long and 35 miles wide, our Missionaries find it impossible to give to each village that amount of personal effort, which, if circumstances permitted, it would be their wish to do. Under these circumstances, the Native Teachers are found to be invaluable co-operators, and to increase their efficiency an admirable system has been adopted, which is thus described by Mr. Puckey in the Letter to which we have just referred--

Almost every village has its respective teacher, and every Saturday that teacher is at this Station at nine o'clock, sometimes earlier. Many of the teachers have to come ten miles: some have horses, some have not. Every teacher returns with a printed Sermon, which is printed on the Friday previous. Two or sometimes three hours are employed on Saturday in explaining every particular minutely, so that, generally speaking, they are all well qualified for the Sunday's duties. Never have we omitted, since we have had the press, thus to improve the Saturday. I attribute the progress of our Natives, in a spiritual point of view, principally to the Sermons thus issued. The explanation has always been commenced and concluded with prayer. May our God still bless us, His unworthy ones, who are less than the least of all His servants in this land!

1   See p. 327 of our Volume for 1847.

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