Church Missionary Society, Northern District, Middle District.
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CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
On the 8th of August 1822 the Rev. William Williams, now Archdeacon Williams, received the Instructions of the Committee on his departure for New Zealand. On the 6th of August 1853 the Archdeacon's son, the Rev. Leonard Williams, received the Instructions of the Committee on his departure for the same Mission Field. During this period a great change has been accomplished in New Zealand. The Instructions delivered on August 8th, 1822, expressly stated that there was not then a single Christian Convert amongst the Natives of New Zealand. At the present moment the remnant of heathenism left among them is so small, as not to interfere with their being pronounced a professedly Christian People. A corresponding influence has been exercised on the national character. Cannibalism is extinct, and the sanguinary spirit that gladly availed itself of every pretext to break forth in deeds of blood is laid. The New Zealanders have exchanged the spear and club for the ploughshare and the reaping-hook; and tribes which once wasted the districts of their neighbours, are diligently employed in the cultivation of their own. Christian Sabbaths and Christian Ordinances are generalized over the island, and this national profession is inclusive of a large proportion of genuine godliness. If it be asked by what means the change has been accomplished, we answer, by the preaching and teaching of "Jesus Christ, and Him crucified;" and God's promised blessing on the same.
Has, then, the Society completed its mission in New Zealand? Far otherwise. The work has been a rapid one; for, fifteen years back, the main portion of the island was lying in unbroken heathenism. With numbers the knowledge of Christianity is imperfect, and the influences it exercises on the character and habits slight and unsatisfactory. The whole work needs strengthening and consolidation. It is like the arch of a bridge which has been just perfected: it is too fresh for the supports to be
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removed with safety. They must remain until, by the blessing of God, this profession of Protestant Christianity shall be so confirmed and established in the native mind, as that it shall be permanent, and transmit itself from father to child, and from generation to generation.
Labours of the Rev. R. Burrows.
The Rev. R. Burrows has been resident at this Station since July of last year. His ministerial duties have extended to Paihia and Kororarika, with occasional visits on week days to the Natives in the neighbourhood. He was accompanied from the Waimate by twenty-one of his old pupils, twenty of whom remained under instruction in December 1852.
Mr. Burrows remained in charge of this Station until July 1852, when, on his removal to Paihia, he was succeeded by the Rev. W. C. Dudley. In consequence of these changes we are without the usual report of this Station for the year ending December 1852.
The following interesting account of a Christian Native is taken from Mr. Burrows' report for the previous year--
Timoti Kahawai was a native who, very soon after my arrival in New Zealand, attached himself to me, and helped me much in acquiring a knowledge of the native language. He was afterward appointed by me as Teacher to a part of my native charge in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Islands. At his particular request I afterward consented to his coming to the Waimate. I soon found him a valuable assistant, both as overseer of the secular work of the settlement, and as an itinerant Teacher to some of the distant villages. In my absence from the Station he always considered himself in charge of the out-door department of the work, and was looked up to by the pupils of the Institution as their director in manual employments.
His death was sudden, and whilst I was from home. He had been working with the pupils during the day, and, I am told by them, was more than ordinarily cheerful. In the evening he complained of a pain in the chest, which Mrs. Burrows considered to be spasms; but as the doctor of Her Majesty's ship "Fantome" had just arrived at the Station on a short visit, she asked him to see him. He did so, and gave him medicine, saying there was no cause for alarm. He soon became easy, and went to sleep. About 3 o'clock in the morning Mrs. Burrows was called by one of the domestics, who said that Timoti was dead or dying. When she reached his cottage his spirit had fled. Two native youths were sleeping, one on either side, but such was the peaceful departure of the immortal part from its clayey tenement, that neither of them knew it was gone.
For the last ten years his Christian Conduct had been such as to gain him the respect of all who knew him, both Natives and Europeans, an evidence of which was given by about 200 attending his funeral, and by the deep feeling that was shewn on the occasion.
We have indeed sustained a loss, but I can confidently affirm that our loss is his infinite gain. His serious deportment at Church, and especially at the Lord's table, was an evidence that he was no formal worshipper. His knowledge of the Scriptures was extensive, and his Christian Experience deep and abiding.
The following is the
Report of the Rev. R. Davis for the year ending December 1852.
The year which has just passed away has been a season of trial--of judgment mingled with mercy. A retrospective view thereof gives both pain and pleasure; pain, because so little has been effected, and lest all has not been done which might have been done; pleasure, because we have been enabled to hold our ground, and perhaps to make a little progress.
At Kaikohe our people have been steady and regular in their attendance at the weekly catechetical instructions of va-
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rious kinds. On Sundays the Congregations are regular also in their attendance, and generally attentive.
At Mangakahia our prospects are less cheering than they have been in former times. The upper Congregation has remained tolerably steady, although even here a few of the young men have given pain by having manifested a determination to adhere to, and carry out, some of their former evil customs. The Communicants, we trust, have been enabled to hold their ground. The lower Congregation has been severely tried. About fifteen months ago, in the midst of what appeared to be their religious prosperity, they were visited with an epidemic fever of a malignant character, and out of their little community, not exceeding 120, not fewer than twenty died. But we have a strong ground of hope that many of them died in the faith, and are now with their Saviour. The enemy, however, took advantage of the circumstance, and stirred up a spirit of bitterness in the mind of an unbaptized chief, two of whose sons had died, but died in hope. This proved a hindrance to the religious advance of the party. He threatened to burn their Chapel, &c.; and although but little notice was taken of this by the Christian Party, yet either the death of their friends, or the threats of the chief, combined with the temptations of the enemy, caused a deadness which brought leanness into their souls. There is, however, a good hope of their recovery.
At Otaua a movement is visible. The people have built a new Chapel, and eleven of them have given in their names as candidates for the Lord's Supper. At Matarawa there is also an onward movement. But, notwithstanding, with the exception of a few, the bulk of professors do not make that steady progress in faith, knowledge, and holiness, which is desirable. They live in a quiet and simple manner generally, which is so far satisfactory; but the Spirit of Christ does not shine forth in their words and actions so as to reflect His glory.
On the 11th of May the Bishop came to hold his Confirmation at Kaikohe. The whole of the 12th was spent by him in examining and instructing Candidates; and on the 13th fifty Natives were Confirmed.
On the 25th of May I was received with much kindness on board the Bishop's Missionary Schooner "The Border Maid," then lying in the Bay, and on the 26th arrived at St. John's College. On Trinity Sunday, June the 6th, I was admitted to Priest's Orders in St. Paul's, the Parish Church of Auckland. I left Auckland on the 19th of June, and arrived at Kaikohe on the 25th.
Since that period the Lord's Supper has been administered twice at Kaikohe, and twice at Mangakahia--the number of Communicants at the former place being ninety, and at the latter seventy-six. I also visited Kaitaia in September, and administered the holy Sacrament to the Congregation of that district During the year thirteen adults have been admitted to baptism.
We extract some additional points of interest from Mr. Davis's Letters and Journals.
Baptism of an old Chief.
Oct. 14 --On Sunday last three adults were admitted to baptism. Amongst them was an old chief, who, during the war, was a principal leader of the late Heke's party during their engagements. Under this head much might be said, and many anecdotes related of the daring courage of the old man; but as he was then a servant of sin these things are better passed over. Few men can shew so many marks of former wounds as he can. In a severe contest between Heke and Walker the old chief was shot through the arm, just below the shoulder, a second ball struck him over the forehead and passed on the skullbone to the crown of his head: from these wounds he recovered, slowly. It is now nearly three years since he began to think seriously of better things. His progress was slow, but persevering: and I think we could not put him off any longer: he appeared to desire to believe in Christ with all his heart. I have lately had cheering visits from my people of Mangakahia: some of the people in those parts are, there can be no doubt, pressing on to the stature of the fulness of Christ. At Kaikohe, also, we have instances of a like progression.
Acknowledgment of gifts from England.
The following acknowledgments of gifts of clothing received by Mr. Davis from friends in England will
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evince, to those who have forwarded them, the value attached by our Missionaries to such contributions. We trust that the little groups throughout the kingdom who are thus employed will feel that the work which they have undertaken is a good one, and worthy to be persevered in.
July 25, 1851 --On my return from Mangakahia I found a case containing clothing for our school-children, from Miss Blunt, of Preston Cottage, Andover, Miss Price, Langford, near Bristol, and Miss Langston, Southborough. In the name of the children we desire to thank those kind ladies for their valuable contributions. We have also received a valuable quantity of clothing for the schoolchildren from some unknown friend or friends, for which we are thankful. These kind contributors will be pleased to learn that their supplies of clothing have added much to the influence of my daughters in their School, which influence has, in some cases, extended to the parents of the children, and induced them to be more regular in their attendance to the duties of the Sabbath. It has also been the means of preserving the health of the children. Since they have been clothed out of School they have been generally healthy. It also gladdens our hearts to know that we are labouring, although in a distant sphere, yet in union with other servants of the Lord, in endeavouring to extend the kingdom of Christ.
Sept. 20 --We have again to acknowledge the receipt of a case from you containing valuable parcels of clothing from Mrs. D. Jones and friends, of Clapham, from the Rev. P. H. Lee, Stoke Bruerne, and from Mrs. Annand, Roade, Northamptonshire. For these donations of clothing we are particularly grateful, and to all our other kind friends who have contributed to clothe our poor naked schoolchildren: in fact, I really feel a want of words whereby to express our gratitude.
The Rev. Joseph Matthews and Mr. W. G. Puckey continue their joint labours at this Station, which has grown up under their care to its present state of advancement. The following is their
Report for the year ending Dec. 31, 1852.
In reviewing the occurrences of the past year--the general agitation which Satan stirred up amongst our people, and the merciful providence of God in allaying strife which might have embroiled all the northern part of the island--we have good reason to ascribe praise to Him to whom alone it is due. Never have our Natives been more sorely tempted to go to war than during the last six months; but as in times past, so lately, they decided, in conjunction with hundreds of their allies at Hokianga, that "it was too late now to think of war, and thus revenging old quarrels." This, to our minds, has shewn how firmly the Word of life has fastened on the native mind. Even the Natives themselves were astonished at this, and several of the oldest of the Teachers pointed it out to us as being the best evidence that the Gospel had been truly received, and that the change had been gradually assuming a more marked character. We, however, lament that the marks of true religion in our people are not more decided than they are; though we must be thankful for what we have witnessed.
During the winter and spring, the latter of which was most inclement, we had much sickness amongst our people. The daughter of the principal chief, Te Morenga, of Ahipara and Te Kohanga, was in a decline, and greatly desired to be visited. This young woman had been baptized by the Papists, but she had learned to read, and thought for herself. A year ago her eldest son, a lad, died a believer, being previously baptized by the name of Taylor. The mother desired greatly to be received into the Church at the Confirmation, and asked us to send her a horse, which we did, but she was too weak to ride. In this, and in numbers of cases, it has appeared most desirable that the "most comfortable sacrament of the body and blood of Christ" should be administered. It has pleased the Lord to bless our attentions to Hariata Morenga. The chiefs, who for many years have stood out against the Gospel, met and spoke out their minds over their daughter, and remarked that neither the badness of the roads, nor the cold and rain, had prevented our visiting their afflicted child, and they, the Christian Natives, and all present, were to "hear," that from that time the road was open for "the Word."
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Two Day Schools have since been opened, and at present every encouragement is given, the chiefs themselves attending, and many other adults. The number of children is eighty.
Divine Service on the Sabbath Day is held twice, with a Sunday School for the Natives, and once for Europeans. The average attendance of Natives is 200, and of Europeans 30.
A meeting for the Native Teachers has been held every Saturday throughout the year, when seldom fewer than twelve have attended, and often twenty, including some few Assistants. The Native Teachers derive much benefit from these meetings; and we find, that amongst the influential Natives the regular attendance of a Teacher is considered as a credential for his office; and often has the absence of a Teacher for more than a week or so been pointed out to us.
Mrs. Matthews has attended to her Boarding School, the number of scholars being sixteen. Charles Davis, one of the Institution Youths, has kept the Morning School for native boys, and Mr. Puckey, during the greater part of the year, has had the afternoon School with them. The number of boys who attend is sometimes twenty, at other times not more than twelve--average, fifteen. We are thankful to add that the children love instruction, and make considerable progress.
We have alternately visited the Natives in their villages on the Lord's Day, and have always met with a hearty welcome. It is our general practice at these times to visit the sick and afflicted, a duty which is not so well attended to by Native Teachers as it requires, although we find in this respect a wide difference amongst them, the best Teachers and preachers being those who visit the sick most.
The distant places of Parengarenga, Whangaroa, Parakerake, Oruru, &c, have been visited, and our visits have been very cordially received. The Rev. R. Davis accompanied one of us on a visit to the North Cape, and those Natives were highly delighted with his ministrations. A pleasing circumstance occurred on the Sunday Mr. Davis administered the Lord's Supper, September the 26th. The principal chief of Herekino, a baptized Papist, came forward to be received into the Church of Christ, and afterward partook of the Lord's Supper. The whole of his party, he has since told us, have become hearers of the Word, himself assisting in the Services. This chief told us that it was some words spoken to him a long time ago which caused a change to take place in his mind. We think it proper to notice this case in particular, because we have visited this influential and very quarrelsome party for nineteen years without the least appearance of success. We were always, however, treated with the utmost respect by them. The chief referred to above came on business to our neighbourhood, and was seized with a violent fever, when he was attended to by us, from which time we had observed that he and his party had become more softened, often inviting us to visit them.
The Lord's Supper has been administered thrice during the year. The number of Communicants at each time was respectively 220, 270, 170. Forty-eight infants have been baptized, and three adults, two of whom have died. One was an old man of seventy, and had been a chief of great note as a warrior: he chose the name of Christian, and spoke out with emphasis in the Baptismal Service, "It is for God to strengthen me." The other baptized person was the wife of the native chief Mumu, who once so strongly advocated Popery at Ahipara., This woman, at her husband's request, was named after Timothy's mother, Eunice. She exhorted her tribe to embrace the Gospel. A large party of Natives, who for years have sat still on the Lord's Day, and not joined either the Popish Service or Divine Service at our Chapel, close by them, have now become constant hearers of the Word. The sayings of a dying Christian are often thought much of, and made useful to the Natives.
On Sunday, May the 23d, the Bishop held a Confirmation at our settlement, when 155 were confirmed, and we trust that this very Solemn service was blessed to many. Our three eldest boys were partakers of the rite.
The temporal prospects of our Natives are cheering. They have much enlarged their plantations of potatos and wheat-fields, and the demand for native produce throughout the district has been far greater than the supply.
During the winter and spring there was much illness, and the usual New-Zealand fever prevailed; but in most
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cases it gave way to the usual treatment, for which we feel thankful.
We only add, in conclusion, that our feeling is, that there is very much to be done, and that all our energies are required to meet the spiritual wants of our people. After years of labour, we find that little more than surface-work has been done, and of course, as a new generation springs up, our work commences anew. We feel thankful for the help which the Native Teachers render us, and pray that they may be found at the last day amongst those who will rejoice together as sowers and reapers Amidst all discouragements which have happened, and still may happen, we can "bless God for all those who have departed this life in His faith and fear," knowing that such are safe, beyond all reach of harm.
The Rev. J. A. Wilson, on his admission to Holy Orders by the Bishop of New Zealand, has been located at Auckland, with reference to the interests of the resident Natives, and of those who, in large numbers, visit it from all parts. His attention has also been directed to such as inhabit the islands of the Frith, and distant points of the Thames inaccessible to Missionaries except by boat. The following is his
Report for the half-year ending Dec. 1852.
Having been appointed by the Central Committee to take charge of the Natives resident near and visiting Auckland, and to itinerate among the islands of the Thames and its distant places, to which appointment the Bishop subsequently attached his approbation, I commenced the regular duties connected with this work in June last, the previous part of the year being occupied either at Opotiki, or in residence at St. John's College.
In visiting by sea, my principal attention has been directed toward the native settlements on the island of Waiheke and Taupo; and, by land, those situated about ten or twelve miles from Auckland. In none of these villages, eleven in number, is there an efficient Native Teacher, nor a Chapel but what is a reproach to the people. Moreover, about half the villages have no Chapels at all. In accordance with this state of things is the general character of the people themselves: cold and indifferent, they scarcely welcome the visits of the Missionary with cordiality, and most appear content, like the lower classes of the Europeans in this country, to plod on their way with as little religion as possible. Were the Teachers men of another and better order, much might still be anticipated: as it is, many never catechize, and others declare their inability to do so.
The few Candidates for Baptism have increased toward the end of the year, but as they receive little instruction from any of the Teachers, their progress is very small.
When in Auckland, I have had the charge of the Morning and Evening Services at the native hostelry, the visiting the sick at the hospital, jail, and the settlements of Pukahi, Orakei, Puketapapa, &c.
I have been absent in visiting about 100 days.