AFTERMATH: RETREAT TO NAPIER
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RETREAT TO NAPIER
After reaching Napier on April 4 and seeing his family dispersed among the citizens, Williams took passage to Auckland on the steamer Lady Bird to acquaint Governor Grey with the happenings at Turanga. Fortunately, considering all the moving about the Bishop was to do for the next few years, steamers had largely replaced coastal schooners for passenger travel. On the way he called in at Turanganui. Affairs seemed quiet, the Hauhau had gone up to Te Karaka; on 13 April they left the district. On the way back from Auckland he called at Tauranga where matters were not at all satisfactory. All the natives, according to Williams, were for Pai Marire, and he considered Archdeacon Brown 'impracticable' and in a 'morbid state of mind'. 1 The Archdeacon refused to leave his station. For the next few months Williams was variously at Wellington to see premier Frederick Weld, at Christchurch for the General Synod, at Auckland to discuss with Grey the future of his schools and at Turanga with Donald McLean where he was criticized by some of the chiefs for having gone away without cause. In between trips he was at Napier with his family.
Williams' main concern was to find a place at which he could recommence his Native Training School. Turanga seemed too unsettled. Governor Grey who agreed that the school should be removed from Waerenga-a-hika, offered Kawau Island, but Williams decided, as an interim measure, to return to the Bay of Islands where an ageing Henry Williams assisted by only one Maori deacon could well do with some help. Again there was a major shift of family and luggage during which the unfortunate piano was again upset. Some of his former pupils 2 joined him at the Bay of Islands and with them and with some local Maoris he began a school of 36 students at Horotutu, near Paihia. His boys dug the ground and he began making his sixth garden. He was also working on his book, Christianity among the New Zealanders. Letters from Leonard Williams told him that more of the Turanga Maoris were joining Pai Marire. Bishop Williams advised his son to leave with the rest of the school, but Leonard replied that there were still several Maoris who remained firm and that if he came away they would feel forsaken. At the end of November Leonard did arrive at
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Horotutu with the news that in the renewed fighting between the Hauhau and government forces. Waerenga-a-hika had been the battleground, and that now the mission buildings were in ruins.
'It is a marvellous sifting through which we have to pass', wrote William Williams, 'we now wait for God's directing hand'. 3
At the end of January 1866, Leonard Williams returned to Poverty Bay to live in a small cottage 4 on Kaiti Hill at Turanganui. He left his family with his father and mother at Horotutu. At the end of January also, William Williams sent off his manuscript to England.
The title I have fixed upon is "Christianity among the New Zealanders" which some may think a very bold one in the present day. The papers and periodicals are full of remarks about the future of missions, and of that to New Zealand in particular. They hear the account of the Hauhaus and say, Is this your Christianity? Are these the results of fifty years missionary work? I hope the cause may not be damaged . . . but however imperfectly the work may be done it will not alter God's purposes. 5
The same pattern of moving hither and thither was followed through 1866--if the Waiapu Maoris were unsettled, so too was their Bishop. There were trips to Auckland, to Tauranga, to Wellington and to Napier. At Napier he talked with Leonard and McLean about land confiscation at Turanga and about the future township (Gisborne), which was to be sited at Turanganui. He also saw some of the Turanga Maoris at the Napier barracks where they awaited deportation to the Chatham Islands, and observed, 'Poor things they are woefully crestfallen.' 6 In a letter to his wife he stated that he believed that Pai Marire ceremonies had for the most part been given up, but added, 'they have not come back to us'. 7 Towards the end of the year he was again at Turanganui and held a service. There were few Maoris present, the congregation was English. The previous year Benjamin Ashwell from the Waikato had also remarked to Williams on this switch in the pattern of church attendance.
He gave me a very sad account of the general indifference of the natives on religious matters; a thorough giving up of all that is good, while at the English settlements there is always a large & attentive Congregation. 8
Christianity was still in evidence among the New Zealanders, but to an ever increasing extent the New Zealanders were white. From Turanganui, Leonard and he rode to Waerenga-a-hika where a few members of Te Aitanga a Mahaki were waiting.
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We had therefore the ceremony to go through with them, but there was no heart in it except in the case of old Pita [te Huhu] and Martina Rata. We looked round upon all the horrible wreck in the home & the garden. 9
Some of the older Turanga Maoris, Wi Pere, Pita te Huhu, Paora Mateakore, Wi Haronga, came to korero with Williams and to invite him to come back.
. . . my reply was that I have long been waiting to see a return to peace and quietness, but that the whole district is still unsettled--that for the present I am going to take up my quarters at Napier where I shall be near to visit them. It was not necessary to say more, but it does not seem likely that I shall ever return to Poverty Bay. 10
The move to Napier was made at the end of May 1867. The Maori students at his Horotutu school were dispersed, some going to St Stephens, Auckland, which was still functioning as a Maori training school, others returning to their homes. By an agreement with Bishops Selwyn and Abraham, Hawkes Bay was added to the Waiapu diocese. 11 This involved an important change within the diocese. Hawkes Bay was rapidly becoming a centre for European settlement; military settlers were now at Poverty Bay, and with the new town of Gisborne 12 later to develop at Turanganui, the character of the diocese altered. From a diocese which had been established to promote the welfare of the Maori race, it gradually became pakeha dominated. This change was particularly obvious in the Waiapu Synod.
From being an almost purely Maori gathering, with the only Europeans the English missionaries, Synod became for the next thirty years virtually an English gathering, with the only Maoris an occasional Maori clergyman. 13
On 9 June 1867, William and Jane took formal possession of a house which Leonard had bought for them in Napier. The following year the Bishop had his own house built, Hukarere, on the East side of Napier hill overlooking the sea, and he and Jane and their three unmarried daughters moved into it at the end of June. William's settling in period was largely concerned with planting out his trees and shrubs which had been bedded out at Napier and the Bay of Islands ever since the evacuation of Waerenga-a-hika. Hukarere became the Bishop's official residence and his final home and garden.
When he was once more back in his diocese, Williams became more optimistic about missionary progress. He wrote to the C.M.S. that their missionaries were at their posts, 'fighting on, sword in hand, confident of victory'.
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If one expedient fails we try another. If our houses are burnt we build again .... God will not allow the work to stand. 14
But the events of 1868 shattered this optimism. Williams found after a fruitless round of political calls at Wellington, that ministers were neither particularly interested in his scheme for a central school at Te Aute, nor was the government, nearly bankrupt itself, willing to pay compensation for Waerenga-a-hika. What was worse, the London C.M.S. seemed to share the New Zealand government's attitude. No notice had been taken by the C.M.S. of Christianity among the New Zealanders, published in London in 1867; in fact, over the past year Williams had not had one word of sympathy or advice from the Parent Committee:
. . . almost ever since our heavy calamaties at Poverty Bay . . . there has been little subsequent notice taken, and it seems as though it would be a great relief if the mission could be quietly abandoned. I have been toiling and striving for the last three years single handed, to revive the operations which alone can accomplish the end which the Society has so long recommended, that of transforming the care of the natives chiefly to a native pastorate, but I have met with no encouragement in any quarters as yet. 15
He assumed in a later letter that the committee in Salisbury Square must be 'most thoroughly tired of the New Zealand mission'. 16 In July 1868, Te Kooti and a band of deportees escaped from the Chathams and returned to the East Coast. Fighting began all over again and the fiercest fighting was between 'friendly' Maori and 'rebel' Maori. Williams thought that the state of the country was worse than it had been at any period. Up to this time, although critical of the Waitara purchase, he had maintained that the wisest course for government to adopt was to follow up, defeat, and by land confiscation, subjugate the rebel Maori--'salutary chastisement' was to bring them to their senses. But rebel Maoris were being neither subjugated nor brought to their senses. Te Kooti and his followers adopted the plan which Williams had earlier predicted; when beaten they retreated to the 'fastness of the country', there to regroup and attack again. Peace, Williams now concluded, was essential to God's work, and peace was less and less likely while government continued with its punitive policy of land confiscation.
Why is it that the natives although beaten again and again, still prefer to continue a state of hostility. The grievance is the confiscation of land. At one time I thought this confiscation was just, but I have looked more into the subject, and now I believe it to be unjust. 17
In other letters he wrote:
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'All this war down to the present time has sprung out of Waitara', and as a consequence of that error, 'God's hand has been against us. As a community & as a government we have been puffed up, first with an idea that we were in the right, & secondly that we were able to put down the natives by our own strength. We have been trying now for a very long time to stem the torrent, but we are carried away from day to day further from the object we have wished to attain .... We are now brought very low.' 18
Humble subjection to the will of God through prayer seemed the only way for light to be shed on the unpromising state of New Zealand. As a practical step Williams recommended that the whole of the confiscated land should be returned.
The Bishop had promised to visit his old Turanga mission as often as he was able. Where there were Maori ministers the Christian community still carried on; Mohaka was in the care of Tamihana Huata:
It was like old times to see the people assemble for worship, men women and children, and attending with much apparent earnestness to the instruction given. 19
At Poverty Bay, Hare Tawhaa 'kept on a steady course', but the effects of the Te Kooti rebellion following straight on the heels of the Hauhau uprising had been demoralizing. The 'army of buildings' which Capt. G. E. Read had put up at Turanganui had given the place a respectable appearance, but the plain of Turanga, 'which used to be studded with the habitations of the natives', was now (1869) 'a scene of great desolation'. 20 Two years later the plains, deserted by Maoris, were occupied by Read's cattle and sheep. Eighty four Turanga Maoris, mostly from Ngati Maru and Te Aitanga a Mahaki had been killed in the fighting. Elsewhere in the diocese Maoris were sullen and indifferent; they turned to another source of consolation. Between Hicks Bay and Tolaga Bay there were by 1873 eleven licensed houses. Opotiki was demoralised; 'there was nothing hopeful about Tauranga'.
The only course to be followed is that of patient perseverance. 21
The Bishop's main aim in his shift to Napier was to recommence as speedily as possible his Maori training school. His son-in-law, Samuel Williams, lived at Te Aute, Hawkes Bay, on a valuable estate which had already been set aside for Maori education purposes. William Williams determined to make Te Aute the site of his diocesan central school. From government he could get little help and he again turned to the C.M.S. and to friends in England for financial aid. Actually
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his best asset was his son-in-law's able management of the Te Aute estate. The land was fertile, and Samuel Williams in addition to being a rural dean was also a very successful farmer. 'The liberal hand shall be made fat', wrote William Williams of Samuel's growing affluence, 'for the more Samuel gives, the more he seems able to give'. 22 In 1870 Williams had £600 in hand for his Te Aute school and with this he and Leonard and Samuel Williams decided to make a start. 23 McLean offered money provided Te Aute conformed to regulations laid down by the Colonial Secretary. This offer was declined, although the Bishop did accept a special grant-in-aid and the government offer of having plans and specifications for the school drawn up by the government architect. Building was begun in 1871 and completed and paid for by the end of 1872. The schoolmaster was under Samuel Williams' immediate direction. In 1874 there were 24 Maoris and 3 English boarders; there was also a sprinkling of Scandinavians, the sons of railway workers who were given permission to attend as day scholars.
Williams also had a girls' school in mind. There was already a Roman Catholic Maori girls' school in the district and this no doubt gave added emphasis to the Bishop's determination. Money was again a problem. Williams donated the site which was close to his own home and the school also took the name of Hukarere.
With a small government grant, with help from the Te Aute estate and from English friends--Kate Heathcote was again to the fore--a start was made on the building during 1874. By July 1875 the Hukarere school for Maori girls was completed; it opened with seven children. Williams was not very happy about the master, 'but with Kate on one side and Maria on the other they manage to keep him in place'. 24 Maria Williams acted as principal. Numbers increased rapidly; in 1876 there were 30 girls, and in 1877 the buildings had to be enlarged to take 60 pupils. An effective interest was always taken in Hukarere by Jane Williams and her unmarried daughters.
The bishop was also the principal mover behind the establishment of the Napier Boys' Grammar School. Jane wrote to Kate Heathcote that in her opinion the Napier townspeople were greatly indebted to William for the boys' school. In his search for a headmaster he met with some opposition from Presbyterians and other dissenters, but he finally succeeded in finding a clergyman. He was not pleased with the government Maori schools. On one of his visits to the Pakowhai native school he was upset to find that no religion was taught at all and that few of the younger people knew anything about creation and 'the fall'. Jane Williams also doubted the efficiency of these schools.
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The poor natives [Turanga] have sadly decreased in number . . . and almost everywhere they are anxious to establish schools after the Government plan, but whether these schools will do them any real good is to my mind a doubtful question, as in many cases the master does not know a word of maori, consequently the children must learn after the parrot manner as he is unable to give them a word of explanation, besides which they have no religious instruction and that alone makes the plan objectionable. 25
Journeying by steamer, by coach and even by railway occupied a great deal of the Bishop's time. Henry Williams died in July 1867. William visited Marianne the following year and again in November 1871. On his second visit he found her in a shaky state, but very cheerful about the prospect before her.
It was delightful to witness her cheerfulness when I took leave. She said we shall not meet again here, but we shall have a joyful meeting a little while hence when all our present troubles will be forgotten. 26
In January 1871 he was off to the General Synod at Dunedin. Although it was the centre of Presbyterianism, the Bishop was well disposed towards the town, for Anglicans there had firmly resisted all attempts to install Henry Jenner as bishop, and Williams regarded this as a great victory for the anti-ritual party. He stayed with Dr Hocken, drove with Mr Hodgkin to admire the Dunedin scenery, collected cuttings for his garden from Edward Cargill and was most interested in the Reverend D. M. Stuart's account of the University of Otago. Once a year he visited Auckland for the C.M.S. missionary conference. The familiar faces were disappearing:
In fact of those belonging to the mission there are only seven effective men, and seven who are aged and infirm ... Of this division, I am at present very much the strongest. 27
During February and March 1872 and again at the end of 1875, he made an inland visitation of his diocese by coach and horseback. Armed constabulary camps replaced the former overnight stops at Maori villages. He was impressed with their reading rooms; mostly the books were novels, but there were also a few 'useful' ones like Alison's History of Europe. On the way he distributed tracts to parties of Europeans working on the roads, first enquiring whether the recipient was a protestant.
There was only one Romanist among the lot & when I put the question he pointed to the man next to him saying he is a protestant & giving him the tract. I said you can let your mate read it if he likes. Upon wh. the R.C. said, "O we are not particular out here what we read." 28
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One of Williams' aversions was now less rigidly opposed. With the influx of Europeans there were more Roman Catholics about. One of them was Major Scannel of the Armed Constabulary camp on the Napier-Taupo coach road. He looked after the Bishop with much care and attention and as a matter of course took his place at the service which Williams conducted for his men. This Williams found 'quite cheering'. On the East Coast steamers Williams occasionally met with the Roman Catholic Marist missionary, Father Reignier. Shared vicissitudes, tribulations, disappointments, and now old age blunted the edge of controversy. The two missionaries 'conversed'. But Williams was still intolerant of 'Popery'. Something that bothered him more, since it was within his own church, was the development of 'ritualism'.
What a lamentable fact it is that there should be so much want of decision among the Bishops. They are satisfied, those of them who disapprove of the proceedings of the ritualists, with giving a mild protest . . . Others are afraid lest by taking stringent measures they should drive over to the Church of Rome good & zealous men. But no one can pretend to say that all these new fangled ideas are not a development of that system which began in Tractarianism and has its termination in Popery. The only safe course I conceive to be is that which was adopted in the cattle plague--to have the evil at once rooted out, and if the effect of doing so should be to cause many of our clergy to go over to Rome, so much the better. The longer such persons remain within the Church the further the evil extends. 29
His devotions were still upset if prayers and responses were intoned rather than plainly said. Unfortunately this practice was increasing. At St Pauls, Auckland, he was grieved to find that while the prayers were said in a 'proper' manner, the responses were all sung; and on his way home afterwards he had a 'warm discussion' with Mrs Kinder, 'she expressing great disappointment that we had not had a fully intoned service.' 30
In his annual letter to the C.M.S. for 1871, Williams wrote that the state of the Waiapu mission seemed to be improving--a shaking of the dry bones. There was once more a demand for Maori clergymen, and Samuel Williams reported that in every one of the villages he had visited there was a well-ordered though small Christian community. The government had not accepted the Bishop's recommendation and given back the confiscated land, but Williams no longer doubted that the hand of God was with his church.
The trials of the past seem to be the means which God has used to purify his church, so that many who had been carried away even so far as to renounce their religion altogether are now coming back again with a sincerity which they never felt before. 31
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With the Waiapu Synod now a pakeha affair, Maori participation was provided for by the setting up of Native Church Boards.
The intention is that in as much as the natives & English cannot meet in one Synod, because they cannot understand one another, the native church shall meet by its appointed representatives in different localities & transact its own business--not independently of the General Synod but in connexion with it & under the Bishop of the Diocese. 32
The Waiapu Maori Church representing the district from Hicks Bay to Table Cape, 33 met at Turanganui in October 1870. There were eight clergymen present, seven of whom were Maori, as well as Maori laymen. The Bishop ordained Hare Tawhaa of Turanganui and Mohi Turei of Rangitukia, priests, and Wi Paraire of Hicks Bay and Hone Pohutu, deacons. Although Maori and pakeha church matters were now controlled by two separate bodies, Maori and English clergy worked well together.
Having been trained by us from the time when they first embraced Christianity, they have looked to us for advice and direction, but they have not been left in a state of dependence upon their early teachers, but have been placed in positions of responsibility where they are called to the exercise of their own judgement. 34
Williams also noted that in the Maori churches as in the European the laity took a prominent part. In 1874 there were nine Maori clergymen in the Waiapu diocese. The surviving C.M.S. missionaries were the Bishop, Archdeacon Leonard Williams, Samuel Williams, T. S. Grace and S. M. Spencer. A. N. Brown was still Archdeacon of Tauranga but he was unable to do very much. William Williams visited him in January 1873 and thought that he and his mission station were 'buried up in trees'.
Journeying was now left to Leonard and Samuel, the Bishop mostly confined his trips to Te Aute and to Frimley where his son James farmed. On Sundays he held regular services at the Napier hospital and gaol, and native services at Pakowhai and Petane -- he also often preached at St Johns, Napier. During the week he made parish house calls and also conducted an adult education class for the militia stationed at Napier. It was a busy, although, apart from his family, a lonely life. The people he now lived among knew little of the early days in New Zealand and shared none of Williams' experiences. A chance for old friends to meet, discuss and reminisce came when Bishop Hadfield visited Napier in 1872. Jane wrote:
It was a great gratification to William to have Bp. Hadfield to converse with for there is scarcely anyone here whose ideas run in the same
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groove with his own & none whose mental capacity equals that of our worthy nephew. 35
The vicar of St Johns, John Townsend, was another friend, but the same could not be said of his curate. The curate was popular with an influential part of the congregation, but he had a tendency to pass off other men's sermons as his own and to discredit certain parts of scripture, both practices threw him out of favour with the Bishop's household, and the Williams' grandchildren were not permitted to attend Sunday School while it was in this curate's charge. There was another former friend and colleague living in Napier, William Colenso. He had made a long and hard climb back to respectability, but since his dismissal from the C.M.S. 36 the Bishop would have nothing to do with him. In Christianity among the New Zealanders there is not a mention of him -- an omission which deeply hurt Colenso. During Williams' last illness. Colenso was turned from the door of Hukarere, but he nevertheless followed in the funeral procession. One hopes that his thoughts then were of printer and editor working well together to produce the first edition of the Maori New Testament; of the trudge along the East Coast sands on their 1838 exploratory journey; of the shared discomfort of a week spent in a small Maori hut on the stormy Wairarapa coast when their thoughts turned to the simple luxuries of a clean shirt and a piece of soap.
It is likely that the Napier citizens found their Bishop's ideas and principles somewhat narrow and rigid. The Royal English Opera Company visited Napier in 1874 and presented two minor and innocuous operas--Balfe's The Rose of Castille and Benedict's The Lily of Killarney. The were enthusiastically received, the Oddfellows' Hall was crowded, bouquets were showered, but not by any of the Bishop's household.
At Napier for the last few weeks almost all, whether churchmen or dissenters, have gone in for opera, where there was a deal of devilism enacted, & then they expressed surprize that the Bishop would not go to their concert of sacred music, when those who had personated the devil the night before were to sing "Comfort ye", and "I know that my Redeemer liveth." Such is the way of the world. 37
In his last letters, 'the way of the world' seemed more and more alien from Williams' way. He felt that there was little 'true religion' in Napier and that religious observances were merely a matter of form. His hatred
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of ritualism made him suspicious of his fellow bishops, with the exception of Hadfield, and he was thus moving further away from the broad stream of Anglican thinking. Hymns Ancient and Modern he decried as 'an erroneous novelty'-- probably because the volume included hymns by some of the Tractarians, Keble in particular. St John's he still thought unsatisfactory:
. . . they have a Mr Kinder 38 who knows plenty of Latin & Greek, but in other respects is not worth a rush. He is a true specimen of the "high and dry" . . . and not having the root of the matter in him, he readily takes up with ritualism. 39
Selwyn was still a thorn in the flesh and he was just as concerned about his influence as Bishop of Lichfield as he had been while Selwyn was Bishop of New Zealand. He blamed Selwyn for encouraging Dr Jenner to seek the see of Dunedin and for furthering the cause of ritualism in England. He was incensed to find while looking through some English church periodicals an illustration of a church procession in which were Bishops Selwyn, Abraham and Hobhouse.
There was a great procession, gilt crosses and the banners of the saints & the virgin Mary ... It is truly lamentable. I think I shall give Bp. Selwyn a letter on the subject, for when I was Archdeacon he told me it was my duty to tell him of anything which I thought to be wrong. 40
Selwyn replied that processions were now so common in England that it was impossible to draw any line. Darwinism he regarded as a denial of 'the work of an almighty creator', and he accused these 'scientific men' of 'taking out the keystone of the arch, to crumble down the whole structure'. 41 Even the improved postal services between England and New Zealand, telegrams only a week old and the possibility of daily communication, he regarded as dubious advantages and as a sign of the approaching millennium:
All things seem to be working up to the great crisis. The world is like a troubled sea. All orders are impatient for change. The poor are impatient to be rich--those in a humble station to have more liberty & to shake off all those restraints to which their forefathers were subjected. But this restlessness is shown in nothing more than in religion; in a wish to throw aside the doctrines which are plainly set forth in the bible, & to strike out an independent path . . . We may tremble for the safety of the ark, but it will not fall into the hands of the enemy. The time is coming when the God of heaven will set up the kingdom which will never be destroyed ... I take all these commotions to be indications of it near approach. 42
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From the increasingly secular way of the world, Williams retreated into his family, his books and his garden. 1875 saw William and Jane's 50th wedding anniversary. 'We can truly say', wrote Jane, 'that goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our life, especially during our married life.' They were surrounded by their children--Kate, Marianne and Maria lived with them at Hukarere; James' sheep farm at Frimley was within a day's journey, so too were Samuel and Mary at Te Aute; Leonard and Sarah lived across the road. Grandchildren were always about. Family gatherings at Christmas, when great nephews and great nieces were present as well, numbered between thirty to forty. Both William and Jane like Henry and Marianne had been happy in their children. They were also fortunate in their continuing good health. That same year another of the old mission friends, Charles Baker, died. William reflected,
We who are now aged are hastening onward on the road, . . . But with a firm trust in Christ all is right .... For myself and Jane I wonder at us both, because making allowance for our age we are both strong & hearty. My voice in preaching is, I fancy, nearly as clear as ever it was, only I feel fatigue more than I did. 43
On 25 March 1876 William awoke with paralysis of the right arm. The galvanic battery and friction were prescribed and he gradually recovered the use of his hand. By May he was reasonably well again, but he determined to resign from the C.M.S. and from his duties as Bishop. He advised his sister, Kate Heathcote who was three years older, to 'lay aside all serious occupation', and to 'rest quietly for the remainder of your appointed time'. 44 Leonard was made the Bishop's commissary for the Waiapu diocese.
'What a blessing it is', wrote his father, 'that I have had Leonard associated with me all this time, and that now I am retiring from work, he is able to continue it, and that too with renewed vigour.' 45
Leonard's name was also suggested for the post of Bishop, but at this stage he declined it as he wished to devote himself as much as possible to building up the Maori church at Poverty Bay and on the East Coast; he also wished to make Gisborne his headquarters rather than Napier. Edward Craig Stuart, a clergyman of whom William Williams approved and a former C.M.S. missionary in India, was nominated as his successor. Towards the end of 1876 the paralysis returned. He was free from pain and able to go for drives in the low carriage which his children had bought for his birthday. He was also able to potter about in his garden, especially in his rose and fuchsia garden which was his particular joy. With his children about him, he died on 9 February 1878. The previous November when William was bedridden, Jane had told him she was writing to Kate; he said:
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"Oh! tell her blessings surround me, yes, blessings, blessings on every side." 46
As John Bunyan wrote of his Mr Standfast, 'The death that such die is not grievous to them.'
Jane now spent a good deal of her time at Frimley. Her children allowed her to do as she liked, to be with the family or to absent herself. She still took a lively interest in the Maori Girls' School. Her letters to Kate Heathcote 47 are full of the comings and goings of family and friends. Hukarere had an open door. She still had 'bustling weeks', although 'days of very great raru' were finally over.
We have had rather a bustling week, bricklayers at work repairing drains and setting a new stove which has deprived us of our kitchen, upsetting us in various ways. In the midst of it we had not a few visitors, some unexpected, and others whom we were only too glad to see and who would not be put off. 48
On 16 December 1879, Marianne Williams died, aged 86. Three years earlier there had been a great Maori gathering at Paihia for the unveiling of the Maori memorial to Henry Williams. Jane and Mrs George Clarke were now the only survivors of the early missionary party, and 'she poor thing! confined to her couch, unable to move either hands or feet and at times suffering great pain . . . while I am blessed with an unusual share of health and strength'. 49 Inevitably she looked back and noted the contrast; inevitably the early days acquired a special glow.
I often contrast our present mode of living with what it was twenty five years ago; it is still a greater contrast to what it was in the earlier days, but we were always contented and happy and never looked forward to anything different; never dreamed of the land being occupied by Europeans. Civilization was good for our children, but sadly marred our work, and now the old workers have been taken one by one, and there are none to take their places ... It it true that there are a goodly number of native ministers, but they all want superintendence and more instruction. 50
In 1892 at the age of ninety one she welcomed the C.M.S. delegation to New Zealand. 51 Three years later she saw Leonard consecrated third Bishop of Waiapu. She died at Hukarere on 6 October 1896. Her obituary in The Hawkes Bay Herald described Jane Williams as 'a woman of more than ordinary type'.
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The treasure that William Williams brought to these shores was that bright, intelligent, courageous and cheerful soul.
Some time in 1878, Leonard Williams accompanied Bishop Stuart on a trip through Tuhoe country. They were received with genuine Maori hospitality, but nowhere was there any disposition to return to the practices of Christianity. Ringatu was now their religion. Leonard Williams wrote of their service:
Their manner was reverent and the petitions contained in their prayers were framed in language taken from the Old Testament, but the obvious objection to the whole system was that it was anti-Christian, being a deliberate rejection of all that the love of God has provided for sinners in Jesus Christ.' 52
One of the chiefs gave a different interpretation: 'We have given up the way of the Son and have adopted instead the way of the Father.' The tribal chronicles of the Old Testament had always appealed; the more sophisticated theology of the Pauline epistles and the concept of individual salvation, rather than the salvation of a people, never seemed quite so relevant. Religion is a bone thing and until absorbed into the marrow of a tribal society, a change of heart can be as fickle as a change of mind. There were still small Christian communities under the care of Maori pastors at Poverty Bay and along the East Coast and in Hawkes Bay. Te Aute, Hukarere and later, Te Rau College, Gisborne, continued to provide leaders to bridge the gap between European and Maori society, but the early promise of a massive conversion to Christianity had not been realised. Evangelization, civilization, colonization, trade, disease, war, land confiscation--there were too many ingredients in the melting pot of Maori-pakeha relations for the Christian mission to have exerted a decisive influence. In many ways it seemed to fail. In many ways too the Waiapu Maoris were correct when they asserted that the effect of missionary endeavour was to make European occupation of the land easier. Although there was little collusion between the two parties and they acted from widely different motives, 'the party in front' did clear the way, and 'the party behind' was dragging along 'the newly shaped canoe'. But such speculation would not have interested William Williams. He was not committed to the salvation of the Maori people but to his God and to the purposes of his God. Conversion or backsliding, success or failure were temporal and incidental matters. Williams finally rationalized the massive falling away from Christianity which characterised the second half of his missionary life as the means by which God had 'sifted' his church. In this scheme of things all that mattered was that the servant should be faithful to his master and diligent in carrying out his commands--the rest was within God's providence. At William Williams' funeral service, Bishop Stuart preached
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RETREAT TO NAPIER
from 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15, verse 58. He used Williams' missionary life as a living illustration of the text:
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, foreasmuch as ye know that your labour is not vain in the Lord
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